These “Share the Meat” Ration Recipes Show The Innovation Of The Greatest Generation

Based on the WWI campaign of “Share the Meat,” the Farm Security Administration developed recipes for housewives that contained no meat. These sometimes-odd creations were intended to help provide a protein-rich diet during the scarcity of WWII.

We’ve heard stories time and again about how hard rationing was: the shortages, the monotonous food, the lack of flavor. The Farm Security Administration tried to offset these limiting factors by publishing new recipes that used ingredients that were not in shortage and that could provide enough protein in order for folks to feel full. “Share the Meat” was a campaign used in WWI to avoid starvation and it was used again during WWII to encourage sparing use of meat. These meatless recipes, while not gourmet, are surprisingly innovative when you consider what they had on hand. One of them is a family favorite in many homes today. Take a look for yourself and see if you would make any of these 1942 recipes in your kitchen!

Via/ Library of Congress

Bean Loaf

Via/ Library of Congress

This legume-laden take on meatloaf looks simple enough to prepare. From the original caption: “Mash three cups of cooked beans, or chop them very fine. Add a chopped onion, one-half cup of milk (water or the liquid from the cooked beans may be substituted), a beaten egg and a cup of bread crumbs. A little finely chopped celery is good too. Season to taste with salt, pepper and dried herbs.” The loaf is then shaped by hand and baked.

Via/ Library of Congress

If you follow the directions you will end up with a “nourishing, healthful meat substitute” which “contains vitamins and minerals found in many meat dishes.” They say to serve with “hot tomato sauce, pickles, or even a sliced raw onion” as “this bean loaf is a bland dish, and any spicy food goes well with it.” Well, at least they’re honest! Most recipes don’t admit the shortcomings of the dish, but for some this may have been just another vehicle for hot sauce.

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