The Social Experiment

This blog is about understanding and exploring what my Grandmothers experienced by living on the home front during World War II. I am going to be living, as best as I can, to the US rationing standards of 1945. This is a social experiment, not only to connect to my families past, but to explore new way to live environmentally and socially responsible. I hope to show, that by living as our grandparents did, we can reduce the amount of waste that our society throws out and live healthier and more simple lives.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When to be a creative cook?

In the past two weeks I have learned a valuable lesson… when to creatively adapt recipes to available ingredients and when it is better to not experiment.

Lesson one: Tapioca Pudding

I have to say that since I started rationing – I have made a lot more pudding. It is great, it uses milk (which fresh is not rationed) and there doesn’t have to be a lot of sugar in it. My favorite pudding is tapioca. It just tastes like a warm hug!

I planned to make tapioca and I soaked the beads in milk for a day. When I started to make it- I didn’t realize that I was short one cup of milk! What to Do? I still wanted my pudding (yes I know it is kind of extravagant with 2 eggs!) But I could just taste the warm, gooie, yumminess. Well- I didn’t have any powder milk or canned, but I did realize that I had soy flour. I have drunk soy milk before, and technically wouldn’t soy flour in water equal soy milk?

I have now discovered that it doesn’t taste like soy milk. It tastes like flour. Yucky, awful flour.

Most people would say that the pudding was ruined – but I found if you put a ¼ C of vanilla in it… it didn’t taste too bad. I do think it was a waist of eggs and sugar.

Lesson 2: Yogurt

Trying to be point thrifty… I decided to make my own yogurt. Again – fresh milk was not rationed… but yogurt was. I went to the store and bought a gallon of skim milk (problem #1). I had my own plain yogurt for the starter (problem #2 – the yogurt was 6 months out of date … it didn’t smell or taste bad so it should be ok?). I cooked my milk till it looked hot enough – It needed to be an exact temperature and I didn’t have a thermometer (problem #3). Then let it cool – eventually putting in the starter.

I let it sit in the yogurt maker for a day. I couldn’t wait to see what happened. Much to my surprise – when I opened the top… there was cheese! Somehow I made a very soft cheese! Realizing that there was no way to rescue the yogurt… I put the curds in a cheese cloth and let it drain.

I am not sure what I will use the cheese for… or if it is safe to eat… but lesson learned here is that if a person is going to make something… actually follow the directions!


  1. As a yogurt maker, may this perfect stranger make a few suggestions? I agree with you on problems #1 and #2; my favorite is whole milk, and outdated starter probably wasn't the best...but as far as heating the milk, I always bring it to a boil, then let it cool down to the temp of a nice, hot bath ( I check with a clean pinky). If you make a lot (more than one container) at a time, I'd also suggest going through the hassle of sterilizing your containers. It greatly extends the fridge-life of your yogurt.
    Keep trying! (And have you dared to try that cheese yet?)
    I am loving your blog. You are doing a fascinating experiment, and thank you so much for sharing it with all of us!

  2. I am really enjoying your historical experiment! I admire your taking this on.
    What are you going to do about Chrsitmas? Do you have some ration stamps saved up for goodies? Take care, Mary