This will be a thread that I HOPE everyone can contribute ONE recipe ...something written so people can just print this off and file it away. If you have come across a great recipe your grandma used during the depression to make that meal go much farther on a dollar, maybe a recipe you have found using a #10 can of something dehydrated, a recipe using that cured piece of meat in your garage, a recipe using that "Celebrity" ham that Eric keeps pushing :-) then put it down here.
Try to write it or copy it so people can just print this whole thread and they have the recipes.
First contribution comes from: REAL SIM PHONY
This recipe that I am about to share is a favourite in our home. Without sausage it is called
COOKING DIRECTIONS: Cut sausage into slices on the diagonal. Clean and peel onions and cut
into small-medium chunks. In a large, heavy pot, fry onions in bacon fat. Add paprika to the fat
and allow it to ‘bloom’ only a minute. Then, add sliced sausages and sauté for 10 minutes. Add
caraway seeds, salt, pepper and garlic. Add potato wedges. Then, tip pot to the side and pour
just enough water to cover tops of potato wedges (about 2 cups). You don’t want to wash off
the paprika -it’s precious like gold! Bring to a rolling boil, then turn down heat, ¾ cover with a lid
and let it simmer 20-30 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, pierce fork in potatoes to check for
doneness. Then, if it’s ready, don’t cook a minute longer. Depending on the type of potatoes
used, you could end up with MASH – and that’s not what you are looking for. Hint: We
recommend Yukon Gold because you want the potatoes to be firm, holding their beautiful wedge-
shape, but soft on the inside.
CHEF’S HINT: Add the hot paprika at the end (so as not to frighten your guests) But, if you
know you are comfortable with Hot and Spicy, add the paprika when you add the sweet version
during the blooming stage.
WARNING: Bacon fat is highly addictive. The texture of the fat is highly workable and yields an
incredibly delicious subtle flavour to everything you prepare with it. Relax, you love 2 slices of
crunchy, fatty bacon your burger – so what’s the fuss with 2 tablespoons in a meal that serves 4-
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Fresh Hungarian White Bread to soak up that beautiful paprika and
onion sauce and dill pickles.
WINE PAIRING: Hungarian Table Wine – Red. Szekszárdi Vörös or Egri Bikavér
(“Bull’s Blood of Eger”)
Neat idea for a thread. I'll try to add some recipes at some point.
In the meantime, this link has been making the rounds of many prepper forums. Some young guy started making videos of his 95-year-old grandma Clara demonstrating her frugal cooking, with a dash of Depression-era wisdom. Enjoy...
Young Dandelion leaves with oil/vinegar and salt/pepper. Unless of course you've killed all the dandelions on your lawn with Roundup,,, then you're F'''ed
quick and easy for camping or what ever.
Box of Mac & Cheese, cook as instructed
add 1 can Rotel Tomatoes and 1 can diced Celebrity Ham or if in a real pinch you can use Spam.
Option - substitute a couple hot dogs for Ham/Spam.
Both my mother and father are depression kids too. Mom would tell me much more than dad, but the family's dinner salad (2 adult + 7 kids) was dandelion greens gathered at a city park and prepared as you described.
That channel is very interesting, and at the worst part of the depression, mom's family ate a meal on $.25 plus a homemade loaf of bread and dandelion salad.
Mom couldn't remember which price was which, but a large beef soup bone, with some meat still clinging on, was like 15 cents and the medium paper shopping bag filled with veggies was a dime. (or vice versa) She could remember the celery and carrot greens sticking way out the top. A vegetable beef soup, dandelion salad and homemade bread was dinner for 9 sometimes! And people say tough times are right now? I'm afraid we all have a lot to see and experience yet. These forums are a veritable 'gold mine' of info to survive in good order and even come out the other side in very good shape.
In my family we always called this sort of thing "poor food". But not with any intention to denigrate it at all. More often with nostalgia.
Whether the Depression era menu of our parents or grandparents, or some tight budget memories from our own lives (college times, young married times, unemployed times, maybe?) or just planning ahead for a SHTF future, it's all the same sorts of things.
I'm guessing that one fairly common thread through many of them will be the idea of doing wonderful and creative things with lots of starches and veggies (generally cheaper), combined with ever smaller and smaller amounts of proteins (generally pricey).
A common calculation with something sort of ordinary will be "how can I make this cheaper?" and the first thing to come to mind will be "cut back on the meat involved".
Example: A box of Hamburger Helper typically calls for a full pound of hamburger. Seriously? Why not half a pound? You've just reduced the cost of the entire meal by almost a third. Is anyone going to go hungry? No. If you are concerned about it, set some apple slices, carrot sticks, and pickles on the table. You should probably be doing this anyway. If anyone goes to bed hungry it's their own fault.
Also, dig out all your old church cookbooks. The older the better. Casseroles, big time. Porcupine Meatballs. Why would anybody put rice into meatballs? To stretch it of course. More cheap starch involved and less meat. Same theme over and over again.
Coat large pot with cooking spray:; heat over medium high heat. Add 3 links hot or sweet Italian sausage; cook turning occasionally, until browned, 3-4 minutes. Remove from pot; cut into thin slices. Return to pot; add 1 large onion(sliced) and 3 cloves garlic (halved); cook, stirring until onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add 8 cups water and 4 chicken bullion
cubes; bring to boil. Stir 3/4 cup uncooked rice; reduce heat to medium low. Cover; cook until rice is just softened, 15 minutes. Stir in one bunch of escarole (chopped about 12 cups)and one can of kidney or white beans (rinsed and drained).
Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until escarole is wilted, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 1 tsp. grated lemon zest- SERVES 6
3 links hot or sweet sausage
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
8 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes
12 cups chopped escarole
1 can kidney or white beans
great thread idea
will add one or two when I get an extra minute (have about a week and a half of everything to catch up on, just starting on the reading)
Readers of this forum will likely have well stocked pantries so tasty baking ingredients will be comfortably at hand. Not so in the Great Depression.
Below are two real life examples of 1930's recipes that make do with very little indeed!
Potato Flour Cake
4 eggs separated
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 lemon, rind and juice
Beat the yolks of eggs with rotary beater, add sugar, grated lemon rind and juice, and continue beating. Add whites beaten stiff enough to hold up inpeaks but not dry, and lastly fold in flour and baking powder mixed. Bake in moderate oven, 350 degrees F, 1/2 hour.
2 cups wheat bread, soaked and squeezed dry.
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 tablespoons fat or butter
1 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1 tsp chopped parsley, a little paprika, nutmeg and ginger
Heat fat, add onion. When just beginning to brown add bread and salt, stirring occasionally until fat is absorbed. Cool. Add eggs, cracker crumbs, parsley and a little paprika, nutmeg and ginger. Mix well and form into balls. Drop into boiling water or soup and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Source: The Settlement Cook Book, Tested Recipes from the Settlement Cooking classes,
Milwaukee Public School Kitchens and The School of Trades for Girls. 20th edition, 1936
and very correct wisdom. We all do have well stocked pantries (oh, said I wouldn't do it but dang it is the only word that works) but tis good to remind us all that times of plenty are limited and we are best served to remember the time-tested recipes from our past.
Put flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well, add warm water and stir until dough begins to ball up. On a lightly floured surface knead dough. Do not over-work the dough. After working dough, place in a bowl and refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.
Heat oil to 350 degrees in a frying pan or kettle. Lightly flour surface and pat and roll out baseball size pieces of dough. Cut hole in middle with a knife (so the dough will fry flat) to 1/4-inch thickness and place in oil and cook until golden brown and flip over and cook opposite side until same golden brown. Dough is done in about 3 minutes depending on oil temperature and thickness of dough.
After fry bread is done top with favorite topping or, chile and cheese first, then cover with lettuce and tomatoes, onions, green chile and you have an Indian Taco
Below is another recipe--SAME RESULT... it uses less water which some think works better plus this one start to finish is faster/
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 cups sliced, dehydrated potatoes
1/4 cup diced dehydrated onions
1 cup milk (can be 'fresh' milk or canned milk or rehydrated dry milk, i.e. 1/3 cup dry milk with enough added water to equal 1 cup.) my own personal preference is 1 cup of half `n` half, since I am a caffeine addict, I always have it on hand :)
1 to 2 tablespoons flour
In a 2 or 3 qt casserole dish, soak potatoes and onions in 2 cups of boiling water for 20 minutes. Do NOT drain the water. Mix the flour and milk and pour over the potatoes and onions. Dot with approximately 2-3 tablespoons of butter. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, add cheese (if desired, approximately 1 cup shredded cheddar or american cheese) for au gratin and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Enjoy !
Wow, Rock Collector! I'm so glad you mentioned The Settlement Cook Book! An absolute treasure. Around these parts (Wisconsin) generations fight over The Cook Book. Jewelry? Take what you like. But who gets The Cook Book?
Thanks so much for starting this thread!!! I'm thrilled and will definitely be reading others' recipes and joining in when some time frees up. Just want to add that a friend who ignited me to thinking about preparing for hard times just purchased a Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven for cooking. I was definitely impressed and may get one myself. It's got the tripod legs so you can place it directly in the campfire to cook. Quite multipurpose - can cook lots of good soups, stews, and all kinds of stuff with it. And all you need to clean it is a stiff brush and hot water. (I LOVE cast iron, but must admit my favorite are the enameled Le Creuset French cast iron pots - cause can use these IN the oven AND ON TOP of the stove - and they're pretty too.)
Lodge 8 quart Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-8-Quart-Pre-Seasoned-Cast-Iron/dp/B00008GKDW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1312295350&sr=8-2.
Le Creuset Enameled Pots (2nds can be purchased a whole lot cheaper at the outlet stores) https://www.lecreuset.com/
This cookbook is another great resource - the Y2K Survival Guide and Cookbook:
Another tip - I have attended several Native American SunDances and Peace Camps both here in the States and in Mexico where we had no hot water for washing dishes over several days of meals. We set up a series of large plastic tub containers filled with a mix of water and bleach to clean the dishes. The idea is - you use the 1st tub to clean the major debris, 2nd tub to further clean, 3rd and/or last tub for final rinse.
You keep rotating the tubs. When the 3rd tub gets murky you make it the 2nd tub, dump the 1st tub, and add a new fresh clean tub of bleach water for the final rinse. Depending on number of people, there are usually 3 to 5 tubs set up. You then set the dishes out on a rack to dry in the sun. The bleach sanitizes the dishes and it evaporates so there is no danger in eating off the dishes. No one gets sick.