Ersatz

You all seem to be such proficient chefs. Well here is a place to share some of that cooking knowledge. Or do you have a cooking problem? Ask away. Jams and chutneys go here too.
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Ersatz

Post: #272322 Skippy
Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:26 am

Ok , a bit of a long shot but here goes.
I've been reading about the occupation of the channel islands during the war and the problems they had feeding themselves and that plus having a friend who does WWII re-enactment has prompted us to try for a purely personnal experiment "ersatz" food. Rest assured it won't be reaching the general public.
Ersatz food is of course food that has been in some cases adulterated or at least packed out with inferior materials or subsituted with something cheaper or more readily available . However, actual recipes are seemingly almost impossible to come across. We have details of how to make coffee from acorns (ironically though I don't like coffee) and also how to processs them into flour, but books and the net are just full of phrases like so and so was used to bulk out bread or what ever. We are looking for more precise details of actually how much carrot is used instead of sugar for instance or , less appealingly , how much sawdust is added to flour for bread.
We find the subject fascinating but it's frustrating at the same time so I thought I'd ask the clever and resourceful people on here to see if anyone may have something a tad more concrete information.


Thanks
Pete

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272324 oldjerry
Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:55 am

Contact Findus......

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272332 GeorgeSalt
Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:30 pm

Strawberry jam.. made with beet and no strawberries, and the pips were wood chips.. only found this one because I came across "strawberry pipper" on someone's CV.
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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272333 Zech
Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:40 pm

I tried dandelion root coffee recently and found it surprisingly similar to real coffee, but that's not much use as you've already got one coffee substitute and you don't even like the stuff!

I'd heard that the kind of ice cream I grew up with (i.e. far inferior to the American kind) originated in war time as a cheap alternative. I love home-made ice cream, but the ingredients can get pretty expensive, so I wondered how to pad it out and make it cheaper. Apparently commercial ice cream includes 'carrageenan', which is extracted from a type of seaweed known as Irish moss. I plan to experiment with this in the summer.
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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272335 Mrs Moustoir
Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:51 pm

My mum, who was a wartime bride, used to talk about faux bananas made out of parsnip and banana essence. She used to make "banana custard" for the family with stale sponge cake, parsnips and Birds custard which wasn't on ration. :pukeright:

I seem to remember an old thread on here somewhere about someone's granny's wartime recipes.

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272344 Skippy
Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:47 pm

Thanks for the replies.The one about findus made me laugh too .
As I mentioned there are a multitude of references about one thing supplementing or replacing something else but we are looking for more details really. Frustratingly I can remember my mother having a ministry of food leaflet with recipes one of which I seem to recall used potatoes instead of fish in a dish but I just can't find the leaflet. I'll have to try a bit more research although as ersatz food has been described as disgusting at best recipes for it are hardly the sort of thing to be kept.
I did mention bread being adulterated with sawdust. This seems to have been done on the continent rather than this country and whilist we aren't in any hurry to eat it , it would be nice to at least try it as an experiment even if we only try baking and tasting.


Pete

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272347 Mrs Moustoir
Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:40 pm

Have you seen the Wartime Farm series?

They cooked quite a lot of wartime recipes from the Min of Food in the series.

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272352 oldjerry
Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:02 am

There was a series in the 80's on Yorkshire TV (I think) that preceeded the Wartime Farm thing but covered the same sort of stuff,there was a paperback that went with it.
You probably know this,but the British Library website lists everything ever published in English,so it's a good place to start.

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272381 Ellendra
Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:48 am

Skippy wrote:I did mention bread being adulterated with sawdust. This seems to have been done on the continent rather than this country and whilist we aren't in any hurry to eat it , it would be nice to at least try it as an experiment even if we only try baking and tasting.



Check the ingredients list on high-fiber breads, sawdust is added under the name "cellulose".

Lots of other foods have it, too.

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272426 Skippy
Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:12 pm

Ellendra wrote:

Check the ingredients list on high-fiber breads, sawdust is added under the name "cellulose".

Lots of other foods have it, too.


Oh nice , and to think bread is always seen as wholesome.
Was it on this site that someone posted a link about E920 (think that's the right number) being used in bread and actually being derived from human hair?


Pete

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272434 GeorgeSalt
Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:23 pm

Skippy wrote:
Ellendra wrote:

Check the ingredients list on high-fiber breads, sawdust is added under the name "cellulose".

Lots of other foods have it, too.


Oh nice , and to think bread is always seen as wholesome.
Was it on this site that someone posted a link about E920 (think that's the right number) being used in bread and actually being derived from human hair?


That's one way of making it, but it can also be derived from feathers and synthetically. To say that all E920 is derived from hair would be very wide of the mark.
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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272435 Muddy
Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:55 pm

I bought a book a few years ago called Jubilee Dishes: patriotic recipes for the 21st century. It's by Marguerite Patten, and includes this sort of info (not down to sawdust, but using carrots to pad things out, including in marmalade, and mock cream made with margerine, etc. There's also info on rationing and how it changed over time, etc.

At the front it says that some of the material was previously included in the following books:

We'll eat again (Hamlyn, Octopus Publishing Group 1985)
The Victory Cookbook (Hamlyn, Octopus Publishing Group 1995)
Post-War kitchen (hamlyn, Octopus Publishing Group 1998)

Hope this helps!

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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272438 Green Aura
Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:37 pm

Have you downloaded the free leaflet from the OU, that went with the Wartime Farm series, skippy? I know the programme referred to/and made some German bread from sawdust and hay (totally devoid of nutrition) but they made no reference to similar over here - I find it hard to believe there wasn't some level of adulteration (even if it was only by unscrupulous characters like that chap in Dad's Army).
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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272439 GeorgeSalt
Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:18 pm

I think there's an important distinction between ersatz and adulteration and bulking out. Roasting acorns for coffee is ersatz, using sawdust to stretch bread for profit is adulteration, substituting sawdust for flour because that's all you've got and a full belly is more comfortable than an empty one is bulking out. Adding sawdust to bread because you haven't got flour is a whole level of desperation away from ersatz coffee.

I would be extremely surprised if there was any official information on using sawdust in bread from the UK wartime ministries, other than prosecutions of bakers/millers found guilty of doing it. However the Channel Islands may be a special case due to the occupation.
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Re: Ersatz

Post: #272448 Skippy
Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:28 pm

I didn't see the wartime farm series but I'll see if I can watch it on line and I'll also check out that download if it is still available. Thanks for the advice.
Thanks George, I do understand the difference you are talking about and it is really the subsitutions we were looking at rather than actual adulteration. I get the impression that the term is used to cover all types of inferior foodstuffs in the same way as all vacuum cleaners are called hoovers. Funny thing is that bread was "adulterated" with all those things that make up wholemeal bread and white bread became less common.Likewise the bit about E920 is an odd one. Certainly China has been using human hair as a source and the vegan society has discussed the pros and cons as have the Israeli government. The latter have evidently decided that as long as it isn't derived from a dead persons hair then it is still kosher.Personally , putting aside all thoughts of solent green then I suppose it is the ultimate in recycling and probably no worse than making it from feathers.
It's funny but if this thread has done one thing it has made me do another search. I don't know why I didn't try it in the first place but searching for ministry of food has yielded a few recipies-
http://food.iwm.org.uk/?page_id=64
and
http://recipespastandpresent.org.uk/goodfare.php


Pete


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