Kitchen Finance Advice From 1943

I love finding old cookbooks at thrift shops and book sales. It's fun to read through the different ingredients and techniques that were popular, and there are always a few recipes that I want to try. Some of them turn out wonderful, but others need to stay in the decade the book came out, so I will politely leave them there.

The one that has fascinated me recently is a guide from a popular food company that was published in 1943. Right in the middle of World War II, women of America were desperately seeking advice on how to make their share of the available food stretch the farthest. It's a topic I've read about in history books, but until I saw the actually book these woman would have poured over, it really didn't feel real. There were also seven basic food groups in the '40s, adding butter/margarine and yellow and green vegetables specifically in their own categories.

What struck me the most was how relevant much of the information from 1943 translates to grocery shopping today. We're not concerned with points and rations like these faithful women were, but using available foods and still providing healthy meals is great advice for 2017.

Here are just a few of my favorite entries in this amazing book.

* Meat is precious, so store it properly, freeze what you can and thaw only what you'll use.

* Almost every part of an animal can be eaten, so don't be afraid to try "off cuts," which are often much cheaper.

* Save every bit of fat from your cooking. When you cut fat from meat or poultry, melt it over very low heat and strain through cheesecloth. It can then be kept in the refrigerator. To clarify it, heat the fat with a raw potato until it bubbles and the potato slices turn brown. Strain it again and it's ready to go.

* If you're going to separate eggs for a recipe, save the part you're not using. Leftover egg whites can be kept in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator. They can be used in all kinds of baking and will keep a long time. Keep leftover egg yolks in a dish covered with wax paper. Two yolks can often be substituted for one whole egg.

* Milk should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator or bacteria will develop quickly. Take it out, measure it and immediately return it. Stay away from storing it in the door where it will be warmer.

* Fresh vegetables will quickly lose their vitamins and minerals if they are cooked in too much water. Keep them covered in the pan so air doesn't get in, and simmer them in salt water instead of boiling.

* Save the vegetable water, now full of vitamins and minerals too, and use it in soups and gravies.

* If you can't use fresh fruits right away, substitute canned fruit so there is little to no waste.

* To keep cookies soft, place in a air-tight container with a slice or orange, lemon or apple to keep them moist. To keep cookies crisp, cover only loosely.

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