by Alice B. Winn-Smith, Copyright 1942
The Macmillan Company
Are we at war right now? We’ve been ‘at war’ for most of my adolescence and adult life, so the actual answer to that statement is probably still yes regardless of the actual pressures we all feel during the age of COVID-19 to be more conscious of our food consumption. The internet is rife with the resurgence of WWII food practices such as victory gardens, and while I’ve had this book on my shelf for quite some time, it seemed most apt to pull it down this week and regard it a little closer.
The last two long visits I’ve made to my in law’s home have ended with me taking home a box of vintage cookbooks that my father-in-law, Paul, graciously offered to me from his auction visits since the last time we saw each other. This book was part of my first haul of old cookbooks, as I was fascinated by the historical context of the book. I really never thought that I’d pull it from my shelf thinking that was inside might be useful for the modern era, but here we are.
Thrifty Cooking For Wartime first hit shelves in 1942, at the center of the second World War. The pressure was on on the home front to conserve so that all resources could be given to the boys across the ocean. Even her dedication shows the spirit of the age.
To my family, whose splendid cooperation has made the writing of this book possible
And to all other families, who are gladly and willingly cooperating to conserve everything that will help to win this war and thus preserve our homes and the freedoms we enjoy
Let’s keep ‘em marching
Let’s keep ‘em sailing
Let’s keep ‘em rolling
And above all
Let’s keep ‘em flying
I impulse purchased the Up South Cookbook during a dive into online black food personalities, writers, and chefs while attempting to find my way to both learn and contribute to the ongoing cultural conversation as a white lady food blogger. I woke up during the protests about George Floyd’s murder and saw I had only one cookbook by a black chef on my shelf. I’ve more than once treated myself to cookbooks by Asian writers, but this is a place where my collection is lacking.
I made this impulse purchase at the height of BLM activity on twitter at the beginning of June. It’s now July. I made some attempt at it, but given the financial constraints upon my husband and I while unemployment wasn’t coming through the door, I couldn’t give the book its proper dues and cook it right. Now that I am working, however, it’s time to just call this book what it is. It’s our July Cookbook of the Month.
Nicole A. Taylor, the writer of this cookbook, came up in my research as a James Beard Award nominee, podcaster, and cookbook author. Her Up South Cookbook showed up beside her recipe in The Way We Ate as ways for me to begin educating myself on the cuisine of African Americans in my own country. While my means are limited during the pandemic, I could afford the about ten dollars each book was on sale for on Amazon at the time, so I clicked.