Propaganda poster (Sponsor: Canada Food Board. Publisher: Howell Lith., Hamilton.

The Win the War Recipes and Suggestions, Ottawa, 1916, provided Canadians with tips on how to save food, as well as admonishments for the fifty million dollars worth of food thrown away each year.

“Fifty million dollars would almost provide for all incapacitated soldiers…. Each of us should see to it that soon the sight of a slice of bread, a perfectly good bone, or the outside leaves of vegetables, in a garbage can, would give you quite a shock.”

Sold during the First World War, this book was designed to help soldiers returning from overseas. Try these recipes and suggestions yourself and let us know whether your rationing improved your food and saved you money! Share your experiences on Twitter (@CanGeo).

E. Henderson (Canada Food Board)

Buckwheat Cakes

Take a cup of any yeast that has been set the night before. Add one quart of buckwheat flour, two tablespoons of white or graham flour and two tablespoons of cornmeal, with enough warm water to make the batter stiff. When ready, stir in a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of soda and enough milk and warm water to make the batter thin enough. Cook quickly and serve right from the griddle.

Pancake or Batter Cakes

6 tablespoons of graham flour
1 pint of milk
1 or 2 eggs
saltspoon of salt

Break an egg into a bowl, beat well, then add salt and flour. Beat until perfectly smooth, adding milk gradually until it is almost as thick as cream. Bake as small cakes on a hot greased pan, or cover the bottom of the pan for a large pancake.

When done, sprinkle sugar, roll and serve with lemon and sweetened vinegar.

Suggestions to help save food

  • “Scrape out and rinse all saucepans and mixing bowls, so that every particle of the material is saved. This may sound silly, but in the course of the year pounds of nourishment are utilized.”
  • “In thickening sauces and other things learn to know the least amount of flour that will do, and don’t use a teaspoon more than is required.”
  • “No scrap of meat or vegetable is too small to put by in cold weather. A tablespoon of meat mashed and mixed with boiled egg and bread crumbs, formed into tiny balls, rolled in flour and dropped in boiling soup, make a delicious clear soup.”
  • “All kinds of cold cereal can be saved, and, when not enough to roll in balls to fry, they can be used in batter cakes and corn breads.”
  • “Substitute often rice, macaroni and cheese, dumplings, fried mush and hominy, when potatoes are dear.”
  • “It is far better to use less butter on the table and have more for cooking. Just try the difference in mince before and after putting in the butter.”
  • “Instead of one beefless day, why not try for six, to make up for other people less patriotic? Surely in these troubled days all the other kinds of meats and the unwanted parts of beef can fill the other six days perfectly well.”
  • “Careless cooks should take much more pains and cook better. An economical dish should not be blamed for shortcomings when it is the fault of the cooking.”