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10 Recipes from the 1940s You'll Actually Enjoy

Get with your inner Rosie the Riveter using these recipes from the 1940s.

By Cato ConroyPublished 4 years ago 5 min read

Can you taste the past?

If records work the way they should, you just might be able to (just look at authentic Civil War recipes if you don't believe me). When you taste recipes from specific times in history, you can get a better look into the life people lived back in the day. That's why I love the idea of eating like a typical person from different time periods.

During World War II, we had an era that was nothing short of fascinating. It was the time of one of the greatest wars humanity has ever seen, and in America, that meant Freedom Gardens were en vogue [translating from French to "in fashion"].

Feeling like being a little bit of a historian? These delicious recipes from the 1940s will give you a good taste of history and show you what your grandparents ate while they beat the Nazis.

Back in the day, meat was relatively rare. The food that was being made was often given to troops first, because let's face it, fighting a war burns a lot of calories.

To stretch the meat supply that most families could afford, they'd make ground beef and potato patties rather than straight hamburgers. These patties were tasty, nutritious, and absolutely delicious—think french fries and hamburgers in a single bite!

Few recipes from the 1940s are as all-American as this one. Take a bite of a Freedom Garden treat, and enjoy.

Believe it or not, lobster was not actually considered to be a "posh" meal back in the 40s. It was still considered to be an "average Joe's" type of meal, which is why some recipes from the 1940s and 1930s involved lobster as a day-to-day meat.

That being said, these recipes are now pointedly decadent—even if there's no rationing going on. If you find yourself hankering for something decadent and spicy, eating Deviled Lobster Tails will definitely hit the spot.

You might have remembered seeing at least one or two comedy movies from the 30s and 40s use Coconut Cream Pie as the item of choice for a pie fight. This wasn't just because the pies looked white and fluffy; people were eating Coconut Cream Pies everywhere.

This was about the time in American history where pudding mixes were being invented, and where shredded coconut bags were first starting to hit American supermarkets.

This pie will bring you back, all while giving you that delicious Hawaiian luau flavor (and the health benefits of coconut) that people yearned for back in the day.

Most of the recipes from the 1940s were about simplicity, mostly because people really didn't have much to work with. Much of the food that we enjoy today hadn't been invented yet, or just hadn't made it to the United States.

That being said, this classic recipe for Bread Pudding proves that you don't need fancy-schmancy ingredients to make a knockout meal. Just add bread, some cream, and some other easy-to-find ingredients, and you'll have a dreamy dessert ready to eat in no time.

This is one of the most common 40s recipes you might still prepare from time to time, and really, why wouldn't you? Everyone loves Egg Salad, especially when it's topped on bread or used as a picnic food.

The boom in the use of mayonnaise was what made this dish so popular during World War II. These days, it's not quite as common as it used to be, but that never stopped it from being delicious.

Finally! A recipe that actually alludes to its World War II roots, right? This was one of many, many recipes that governments created solely for the purpose of helping people conserve food during the war—and honestly, they're pretty good.

These cakes are incredibly filling and hold up pretty well. In fact, they often taste better the day after they are made. If that isn't a testament to 1940s rationing efforts, I don't know what is.

Lord Woolten Pie is one of those few 1940s recipes that was delicious enough to make it for the long haul, but somehow never quite caught on in modern America. As a result, it ended up being a recipe that became buried in time after World War II.

If you ask me, that's a shame. Lord Woolton Pie is delicious, easy to make, and surprisingly affordable. This pie was created by Lord Woolton as a way to help people create ration-friendly recipes during the war, and was primarily a British treat.

If you haven't noticed, a lot of the wartime rationing involved creating breads that were satisfying and didn't taste too bad. One of the most popular staples during this time was, unsurprisingly, Irish Soda Bread.

For many families that had to trim the fat during the war effort, breakfast would often consist of a slice of Irish Soda Bread with butter. Honestly, that's not too bad a way to start your day.

Most foods were pretty hard to come by during World War II, which is why most families stuck to the very bare basics when they tried to plan out their meals. This simple pie recipe was one of many that families used to put food on the table without getting fed up with foul food.

In a lot of ways, this Cheese, Potato, and Onion Pie tastes (and feels) like quiche. That being said, this is a way simpler version that takes less time to make. Expect it to stick to your ribs in a deliciously satisfying way.

If you remember that one episode of King of the Hill where Peggy Hill talks about her Apple Brown Betty recipe, this wartime recipe is probably what she was talking about. Brown Betties were a favorite cake during World War II, and since then, have pretty much fallen to the wayside.

Few recipes from the 1940s deserve as much love as the Brown Betty. It's really a delicious cake, one of the best summer deserts for parties, and still remains popular in select areas of the United States. You'll love it, I promise!


About the Creator

Cato Conroy

Cato Conroy is a Manhattan-based writer who yearns for a better world. He loves to write about politics, news reports, and interesting innovations that will impact the way we live.

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