Wartime cook book sparks memories
The person or persons who painted the swastika on a war memorial in a Dartmouth park last month is probably more to be pitied than blamed.
But, I can’t find room is my heart to pity them. He or she was obviously born without brains, has no compassion in their hearts, nor have they been taught respect for other people or things which wouldn’t be around for them to deface if it wasn’t for the veterans that the memorial symbolizes.
I haven’t heard that he or she has been found by police as yet and I don’t expect they will pay much of a price for this horrendous deed when they are. Some do-gooder judge will let them off with a day or so of community service, restorative justice or house arrest, and away they’ll go laughing at the fact they got away with it.
When someone defaces a war memorial they not only show lack of respect for the veterans in the area where their deed took place, they also make light of and disrespect all war veterans and their families across Canada.
Anyone who would stoop this low obviously doesn’t understand that war kills and injures people both mentally and physically and that it tears families apart and presents untold misery to those touched by it.
I’d like to see whoever did this put on the front lines of a present war for a few days and feel the brunt of it personally. Maybe then and only then would they learn the sacrifice our war veterans made for us.
Remembrance Day always brings back a lot of memories of the war years and the changes in the lives of the people who lived through two world wars and the Korean War.
A former Colchester County councillor, Glen Edwards of Valley recently loaned me a cook book titled ‘Wartime Recipes From the Maritimes.’ The book was written by his cousin Devonna Edwards of Halifax, the daughter-in-law of Glen’s uncle Bill Edwards who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.
Glen’s father, Harry, also served in the navy and another brother, Danny, served in the army. Their father, William Edwards, served in the First World War. So the armed forces is always a popular subject in their conversations and Remembrance Day holds a special significance in their family homes.
Food was rationed during the war and women were encouraged to make it stretch as far as possible, the book tells me.
One patriotic housewife even went so far as to christen her garbage can ‘Hitler.’ She then made certain it didn’t get anything in it that wasn’t worthless.
Hash was a popular food item during those years and housewives found many and various ways of making it with leftover meat, fish, and vegetables.
In those days there were no prepackaged foods. Women cooked a whole roast, chicken or fish and after the initial meal they made hash with what was left over. The hash was usually prepared by using other leftovers like potatoes, pasta or beans. There are a great many ways to make hash and it’s a nutritious food. Although it was once such a common meal it is rarely made today.
Those of us who lived in the country during the war years were lucky as the men went to the woods and shot game, fished from the bays and rivers, and grew vegetables in the garden.
In the urban areas people suffered more from food rationing. Everyone was encouraged to plant a victory garden which gave them access to fresh vegetables for their own use. The idea was also to encourage people to save money to buy Victory Bonds and War Savings Certificates.
The war had far-reaching effects on the fishing industry as about 500 fishing vessels were commandeered by the government and many fishermen left the sea and joined the forces. Housekeepers were urged to purchase mackerel or flounder which before the war were not considered desirable species to cook.
It’s hard to believe today, but lobsters which were plentiful and cheap were not considered a delicacy. The children who took them to school in their sandwiches were thought to be among the poor of society. The late Joe Casey, a former Digby MLA, once told me his fish plant workers complained because he fed them too much lobster. Canned salmon and tuna were difficult to get during the war as it was sent to the boys overseas.
One popular cake my mother made during those years was named War Cake. It got the name because it’s inexpensive to make and is also really tasty. I still make it and often put a handful of mixed fruit in it to add colour and goodness at Christmas.
Unfortunately when I left home I didn’t realize the great value I should have attached to these treasures and I didn’t save her recipe books.
This easy recipe was given to me by Joyce Slack of Valley.
2 cups water
2 cups brown sugar
3 tbs. shortening
1 lb. seeded raisins
½ tsp. each of salt and cloves
1 tsp. each of cinnamon and allspice.
Boil these six items together for about three minutes.
When cool add 2 ½ cups of flour with 2 tsp. soda mixed in it.
Add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Bake in a 9 x 9 inch pan for one hour at 325 degrees.
Hattie Dyck is an author who specializes in folklore. Her stories reflect the greatness of rural Nova Scotia and the people who live there.