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Looking to save on your food budget? These wartime recipes can come in handy | CBC News

High inflation and food costs are causing many people to stretch their budgets to save money. 

The challenge isn’t too different from what millions of Canadians went through during the Second World War. Many had to get creative and ration ingredients and reuse leftover food items to feed themselves and their families.

Best friends Dawn McClintock and Susan Buro-Hamm’s respective grandmothers lived during that period and passed along some of their innovative wartime recipes to them. The pair have since started an Instagram page to bring a slice of that history to life.

“I grew up in my grandmother’s kitchen and that was the kitchen that basically she fed our family [through] during the war,” McClintock told CBC’s London Morning host, Rebecca Zandbergen. 

The pair says their biggest hit is the wartime cake, which can have many substitutes for sugar. (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC )

McClintock bought her grandmother’s home in Springfield, Ont., after her death, which still had all her tools. McClintock cooks in that same kitchen today, she said.

Burro-Hamm’s grandmother lived in Germany during the war. For most people, she said, the food experience at the time was all about survival.

“I think they were trying to make do with what they had,” she said. “A great deal of the food went overseas to the soldiers in the Canadian system, so they took what they had and it evolved. They were very inventive.” 

The pair brought some of the delicacies made from ration ingredients to CBC London’s studio on Wednesday, including mock truffles, mashed potato fudge, carrot cookies, and wartime cake, for Zandbergen to sample. But Burro-Hamm warned that any dishes labelled “mock” don’t usually turn out well.

WATCH | CBC London Morning host Rebecca Zandbergen tries some wartime recipes:

Looking to save on food prep? Try some wartime delicacies

Dawn McClintock and Susan Burro-Hamm share some of their wartime food favourites with Rebecca Zandbergen on CBC London Morning.

‘They were really looking for belly fillers’ 

In the 1940s, people had to be innovative and work with what they had, even if it wasn’t much. That meant substituting leftover ingredients into food items that wouldn’t necessarily be up to today’s taste standards, the pair said. 

“They reused everything, so each meal was reused again if there were leftovers. So the mashed potatoes went into a cake or something wonderful,” Burro-Hamm said. 

“During wartime, they were really looking for belly fillers at the end of the day, and they stretched it a lot with vegetables,” McClintock added. 

McClintock and Burro-Ham say their biggest hit is the wartime cake, which can have plenty of substitutions for sugar, that include cocoa and honey. They try to stay as true to the recipes and avoid using any modern-day conveniences, they said.

“Sometimes we have great successes like the cookies, and other times we fail miserably,” Burro-Hamm said.


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