By Thomas F. Schwartz
As a previous blog post indicated, Americans who signed the pledge to conserve food were encouraged to forgo meat at one meal each day and on Tuesday, the entire day. On Monday, supper was the designated meal to be meatless. In Hoover’s day, breakfast was the first meal of the day with dinner as the second, now typically called lunch, and supper as the evening meal, now often referred to as dinner. The United States Food Administration provided the following definition: “Meatless means to eat no red meat—beef, pork, mutton, lamb, veal; and no preserved meats—beef, bacon, ham, salt pork, or lard.” Permissible on meatless days was the consumption of fish, chicken, goose, turkey, and rabbit. If a person wanted to substitute 2 pounds of sirloin steak in a recipe they could use 1 2/3rds pounds of chicken, 2 pounds of fresh salmon, 2 2/9ths pounds of halibut, 5 quarts of milk or 23 eggs that matched the protein component of beef.
One item America had in abundance was corn, an item frequently used in recipes offered by the U.S. Food Administration. Corn has carbohydrates that the body can transform into sugars for energy. But it is not especially a high-glycemic food source since it is not immediately transformed into sugar. It is a source of fiber and protein and, for modern sensibilities, gluten-free. Hominy, a corn product, needed explanation:
“Americans! Have we forgotten some of the best foods we once knew? Are you using hominy? Why not follow the example of our forefathers and use much of this good corn product? The first settlers of America learned from the Indians how to prepare the dry grain by pounding it in a mortar with a pestle. The hominy became one of their staple foods, without which they would often have gone hungry. They cooked it in huge iron kettles hung over the blazing logs in the open fireplace.
They also learned to remove the germ and hull from the corn by boiling the grain with lye and then washing thoroughly. They sometimes called this product ‘hulled corn.’ But it now more often called ‘lye hominy.’”
A recipe offered for consideration for a Meatless Monday is hominy and bean cakes found in a 1918 U.S. Food Administration pamphlet.
“Hominy And Bean Cakes
1 cup boiled coarse hominy
1 cup cooked red kidney beans
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon fat
Make a white sauce from the last five ingredients by melting fat, blending with cornstarch, salt, and pepper, adding the milk and cooking until thickened. Grind hominy and beans through a food chopper, mix with the white sauce, form into cakes and brown in a little fat. Such cakes can take the place of meat.”