Laura Rebecca has always been able to come up with some great fun challenges.
LR's Retro Recipe Challenge has been very educational and a trip down memory lane.
The 1940s were all about rationing, protein stretching, substitutions, and making do with less. Home cooks made sugarless cookies and meatless meals. Cookbooks, magazines, government pamphlets, and food company brochures were full of creative ideas for stretching food supplies. Why the shortage? Food was needed to feed soldiers fighting World War II. Farmers and food manufacturers were tapped to supply growing military needs, thus creating a shortage of foods available for domestic civilian consumers.
Rationing was introduced in the United States by the Office of Price Administration in 1942 as a way to equitably distribute diminishing food supplies. The American government encouraged homeowners to create Victory Gardens, small plots of fruits and vegetables to supplement personal and community food supplies. Nutrition information was also widely disseminated to help home cooks create balanced meals for their families. The National School Lunch Act was passed in 1945, extending Roosevelt's New Deal WPA commitment to feeding America's hungry children. After the war, many new products were introduced to the American public. These "convenience foods" (dehydrated juice, instant coffee, cake mixes, etc.) were the result of military research. Not all of these were embraced enthusiastically, as traditional homemakers preferred to cook "the old fashioned" way once rationed ingredients were readily available.
During WWII, approx. 1942-1945, butter, fats, sugar and meat were rationed. I have read you were only allowed to buy 1 pound of meat per person, per week. Recipes for cakes and other 'goodies' using honey and sugar substitutes were popular. It was very common for even city dwellers to have patriotic "Victory Gardens" where they raised their own vegetables, including beans and tomatoes. This reduced the number of people who had to be employed in agriculture, so they could produce weapons or fight the war.
the above information was taken off the internet when 1940 recipes were googled.
My food of choice for Retro Recipe Challenge would be tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Now back in the 40's it wouldn't have been a cream of tomato and probably not an abundance of cheese that the photo depicts, remember they were all in the ration mode at the time. The soup was probably Campbell's with a can of water added, eeek! And the grilled cheese was probably made with white bread, two eeeks!! But in those days it was made with love just like today. And if we were really good we probably got a pickle to accompany our sandwich.