And Now…. A WWII Recipe that’s Delicious!

May 13, 2014

In my novel, Delicious!, Lulu's mother engages in a Thrift Contest with the other women working at the Goodyear Plant; the idea is to reward the woman with the most patriotically spare lunches.  It's an idea I came upon in one of the Department of Agriculture pamphlets, which the government put out to encourage people to ration their food. The prize was an entire ham, an almost unheard of luxury during the war.

But of course once you'd won your ham, it would have been your patriotic duty to parcel it out in little bits, making it last.  I went through all my WW II cookbooks, looking for thrifty ways with ham. And there, hidden among the Peanutbutter Lima Loaves, the Liver Gems and Eggplant Puddings, I finally found a recipe that sounded like something I'd like to eat.  I was so excited that I ran right into the kitchen and made a batch.  They're good!

Ham Turnovers


½ cup finely chopped ham

2 tablespoons pickle relish

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons mustard


1 cup flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons shortening

1/3 cup milk.

Preheat oven to 375.

Stir together filling ingredients.  

Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening.  Stir in milk.  Roll out to a 16 inch square. Cut into 4 squares.

Put ¼ of ham mixture on each square, fold over into a triangle, press edges together and place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. 






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  • Angel Reyes says:

    I’m glad this one did turn out well. It looks like an awesome dish!

  • ZinDc says:

    What kind of fat did you use? I remember my mother telling me about saving up ration coupons and standing in line to buy butter for my older brother, who was a butter-loving toddler during WW2. For themselves, my parents used to get sticks of white margarine and separate packets of annatto coloring to mix into it, to make it yellow. For the rest of his life, my father preferred the taste of margarine to butter.

  • EKey says:

    I sat next to you at dinner Tuesday night at the Dallas Museum of Art. When I asked about recommendations for a restaurant before the theater, you mentioned the bar at Le Bernardin. I went last night and loved it. Told the maître ‘d that you sent me. He was so pleased. Thank you for the great suggestion!