Food Stretcher

Food Stretcher Cook Book coverThe Family Cookbook
The American Woman’s Food Stretcher Cookbook
Make your Ration Points Go Twice As Far
Culinary Arts Institute

Submitter: This cookbook has been on our shelf since 1943, which is both amazing that it survived public library use and yet dodged the weeding process. I think the only thing that can make a cookbook worse than having no images is one with black and white images like these. Someone will enjoy this one on the for-sale cart.

Holly: “Meat Roly Poly” with pickled peach/olive faces and “Noodle Cottage Cheese Casserole” are on my no thank you list…and I’ll eat just about anything.


Noodle cottage cheese

meat roly poly

fruit salads


  1. Um…is it just me, or does the grandmother on the cover look like a grandfather with a hastily applied wig?

    1. That IS quite a jawline on grandma. I suppose there were some non-traditional families even in 1943… or else the artist didn’t have enough models.

  2. Anyone who says that they didn’t suffer on the home front needs to see this book.

    The second page looks like a group of Oliver Hardy cosplayers decided to drown a nut in a sour cream baptismal ceremony. Then we see a group of almonds on throw rugs surround one to enact revenge. After that there’s the cinderblock tube surrounded by the heads of some serial killer’s victims, followed by a bowl of… STUFF. Stuff I wouldn’t eat on a bet.

    Although he probably gets flooded by this stuff now, seriously: SEND IT TO LILEKS.

  3. The title made me think of the joke “Should you have your whole family for Thanksgiving Dinner?”
    “No, stick to turkey.”
    (Shamelessly stolen from Kerwyn).

    1. In the UK it would be “should you have your whole family for Christmas dinner?” “No, you need to save some for Boxing day.”
      In the UK the day after Christmas day is also a holiday. Also known as the Feast of St Stephen, as in the Good King Wenceslas Carol.

  4. Wow, they really should have saved the paper and ink (and photography) on this one and eliminated the pictures entirely. They didn’t add anything in 1943 and I’m sure all those materials would have been better used in the war effort.

    I’m guessing this hasn’t been checked out much in the previous 60-70 years for it to survive, but shame on the generations of librarians who didn’t weed it sooner. But it will definitely go in a sale — try listing it on eBay or similar before putting it on the sale cart.

    Grandpa kept pigs and Grandma kept chickens and turkeys during the war, living in a semi-rural area just outside of a town. Various edible critters grazed on the ag college athletic fields, too, and the quad was planted in corn.

    With food prices going the way they are, some of the less-gross recipes might be back in style! Although these seem to have a LOT of meat in them — maybe these were for special occasions, or if you got lucky on the black market?

    (I bet nobody black-marketed pickled peaches.)

  5. Why, oh why did we turn away from what Mom used to make to fancy chef-y recipes ?

  6. To be fair, coming out of the deprived 1930s it’s hard to blame people for being drawn to novel foods and whimsical dishes.

  7. My grandmother used to make cheese strata. It was pretty good, as I recall (one of the few things she cooked that was, alas).

    1. My mom makes something similiar we call Egg Puff. She doesn’t put any seasonings in it as the cheese is salty enough on it’s own. She also cuts off the bread crusts and sets it up the night before so the bread soaks up the eggs.

      It used to be that she’d do a layer of bread, then Velveeta, then already cooked & brown sausages, then more bread, and top with cheese, and of course the eggs. But eventually she stopped putting sausages in it which made it taste a lot better.

  8. Aww, my mom still makes porcupine meatballs. But good grief, what an unnecessarily complicated way of cooking rice.

    1. I make porcupine meatballs, but I cut out most of the fussing around and just use beef Rice-a-Roni. Rice mixed in with the beef, sprinkle the powder over and cover with water.

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