Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cook like it's 1945

I'm the world's best blogger.  Said me, never.  I have had great intentions of posting something new at least once a week on this blog and of doing series of dishes and meals so the blog isn't just a random compilation of recipes.  I had intended to and promised my faithful handful of followers I would follow along with America's Test Kitchen's "The Feed" and complete all of the "Cooking through the Decades" challenges in order as they came.  I didn't.  Once I saw the recipe from 1933 for Chicken in  Pot, I hit a wall.  I just couldn't bring myself to prepare a chicken that looked as anemic and bland as the one in the picture.  So, I skipped it.  Also, five months into motherhood, I just wasn't quite getting the hang of doing it all like so many super-moms somehow manage to.  With the title of 1945's challenge being "Wacky Cake," it just seemed to fit my life at the time, so I went ahead and made it.

If you ever did one of those volcano experiments as a kid, you'll understand the science behind Wacky Cake.  You mix all of the dry ingredients together in the pan and then make three holes where you pour the oil, vinegar and water.  When you mix it up, the vinegar combines with the levener in the recipe, which causes the cake to rise.  The recipe originated in wartime America, when rationing was at its high point.  Thus, the cake has no eggs or butter.  That makes it completely healthy, right?


In the end, I thought this cake was pretty good.  It didn't have intense chocolate flavor, but it was a great quick and easy cake to put together, and it is all mixed right in the pan you bake it in, so you save yourself from having to do extra dishes.  Score!  Despite the fact that the cake is lacking eggs and butter, it was moist and fluffy.  I might just turn to Wacky Cake when I need a quick dessert in the future.  It would be great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

If you're pinching your pennies, avoiding eggs and butter, or have a chocolate cake craving, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.  If you can't access the recipe, leave a comment or send an e-mail to and I'll send you a copy.

Next stop:  1983 - Chicken Nuggets

I know, I skipped the 50s, 60s and 70s.  The recipes all looked great, but I didn't get to them in time and didn't feel compelled to go back and make them.  I had some extra time on my hands (how the heck did that happen?) when the 80s challenge rolled around, which was great because who can resist chicken nuggets?  I also skipped the 90s if anyone is keeping track.  I'm hoping 2013 will find me being a better or at least more consistent blogger.

If you want to complete the challenges yourself, you can access them on "The Feed":
1933 - Chicken in a Pot
1956 - Grasshopper Pie
1968 - Cheese Fondue  
1977 - Herbed Baked Goat Cheese Salad
1999 - Thai Shrimp Scampi Sauce

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