Today is Memorial Day. I hope we all take a moment today to thank all of the men and women who gave everything they could to protect the rest of us and to preserve this wonderful country.
Many of my uncles (and some aunts) served during WWII. None of them are walking this earth any more, and while none of them talked about the war, I wish I had learned about their experiences when I had the chance.
I know people on the home front during WWII also have their memories. My mother grew up not far from Fort Campbell, KY. She was old enough at the time to remember her older sisters collecting scrap metal for the war effort, and the young soldiers who spent Sunday afternoons on my grandmother’s porch. She also remembers rationing of various commodities during the war.
In honor of Memorial Day, I am sharing one of my grandmother’s recipes. It’s for an unbaked fruit cake she made during WWII without using any rationed ingredients, such as sugar. (It’s not clear to me why sugar was rationed but marshmallows weren’t – perhaps that is some fun research for another day.) The image I included below this blog the original recipe in my grandmother’s handwriting.
A typed version is below:
1 ½ pounds graham crackers
½ pint whipping cream
¼ cup sweet pickle juice or wine
½ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice
1 cup chopped dates
¼ cup chopped figs
1 ½ cups raisins or 1 cup raisins and ½ cup currents
1 cup pecans
½ cup candied pineapple
¾ cup candied cherries
¼ cup citron
2 Tablespoons candied orange peel
Roll crackers into fine dust.
Chop marshmallows, add to whipped cream and wine.
Wash raisins. Pour boiling water over raisins, using enough to cover. Let stand 30 minutes.
Mix spices and cracker dust.
Add fruit and nuts to cracker dust.
Add marshmallows and cream.
Stir as long as possible with wooden spoon.
Then with hands.
That is where my grandmother’s recipe ends. (I am sure she assumed any cook worth her salt would know what to do next.) Based on other recipes for unbaked fruit cake, the rest of the directions are most likely to press it into one or two greased loaf pans, and store it in a refrigerator for at least a week.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the parades and the cookouts, and don’t forget to thank all of the members of the military who died to make it all possible. God Bless America.
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