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Book Cover: OP: Thrifty Cooking for Wartime

OP: Thrifty Cooking for Wartime


Alice B. Winn-Smith
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Anyone who grew up in America during the second World War, or who heard about it from their relatives, is well acquainted with the language of fighting our battles on the home front: rationing, conservation, substitutions, economy, avoiding waste. 

Women—and it was almost exclusively women—were urged to be careful that they were not depriving our troops of the foods they needed: meat, eggs, butter, sugar, and other energy-giving foods. Newspapers and magazines regularly provided recipes to support this program.

Alice Winn-Smith, fashion designer, interior decorator, and lecturer on household management, but “now a housewife,” offers in her 1942 cookbook an impressive collection of recipes that meet the requirements of the time—few ingredients, with many variations to avoid boring, repetitive meals. 

There are hashes, stews, casseroles, soups, salads studded with bits of meat, and other dishes that extend the limited available protein ingredients. Fish loaves and liver loaves, scalloped turkey, and creamed chicken. Meatless dishes, too: noodle rings, stuffed vegetables, puddings, custards, one-egg cakes. Many basic recipes carry lists of what are called “thrifty changes.” It’s all solid, basic food high on calories. 

Far from being “gourmet” food (the magazine of that name came into being just a year earlier) Thrifty Cooking For Wartime offers basic sustenance, filled with the flavors that people knew and recognized. Food that did the job. And the book, to be sure, helped do the job. 

A Very Good clean, sound hardcover third printing. Its seldom-seen dust jacket, also Very Good, is shelfworn but largely intact. It is now protected in a mylar sleeve.

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