Friday, July 16, 2010

The Sustainable Bookshelf: Grandma's Wartime Kitchen

By the time WWII rolled around, an entire generation of homemakers had a Great Depression's worth of experience dealing with the challenges of putting nutritious meals on the table and in the lunchbox without breaking the bank.  Add in the challenges of rationing, preserving the product of a victory garden, and making treats that could ship to a serviceman halfway around the world, and you can see that these women had to amass quite an arsenal of culinary tricks to fight the war on the homefront.

These tips and tricks are just as relevant today for those of us embracing the sustainable lifestyle.  My next entry into "the sustainable bookshelf" is Grandma's Wartime Kitchen, a book that gets nearly constant use in my house as canning season swings into full production.  The "Cultivate and Can" chapter alone is reason to buy this book, but it offers much more, including a selection of desserts that travel well and use sweeteners other than the then-rationed white sugar, a section on stretching meats, and a number of vintage recipes and historical annecdotes that give you inspiration for ways to stretch and save while feeding your family.

As we build our sustainable bookshelf, I will be recommending books like this, which I would want to own rather than borrow from a library in order to feel truly prepared for independent living.  Who knows, maybe this year is the year I take inspiration from one WWII bride who found a way to make stuffed peppers using ground Spam!

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