I recently wrote a post on how I was planning on diving into recipes from the Great Depression, or any food scarcity era, really. So far, I’ve only made a couple of recipes, and only one from the article I linked (and it didn’t turn out so well).
I did attempt to make a healthified version of Sausage Johnnycake, but neither my husband or I really liked it. I’ve made Johnycakes before, and I never really enjoyed cornmeal in my pancakes. Knowing this, I subbed rice flour instead of cornmeal, but it still didn’t hit the mark. It wasn’t so bad as to discourage me from ever doing it again, but that attempt definitely wasn’t the best. (This is why I love having dogs. They’ll eat all my failed food attempts, and I don’t feel bad about wasting food!)
The real star was the Ratatouille I made! Sorry, I don’t have a link, but it’s a traditional French peasant dish, so it’s a cheaper dish. And boy is it good!
Traditionally, ratatouille contains tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash. I only had zucchini and spaghetti squash, but people living on farms would have used whatever they had. So, I went ahead.
I started by dicing up an onion and a single chicken breast. I seared them in a pot while I roasted my spaghetti squash in the oven and sliced up my zucchinis (I had A BUNCH from a sale grab bag, so I put as many as I could in this dish).
Once the spaghetti squash was roasted enough (I only baked it for about 25 minutes at 375 F), I scooped out the stringy innards with a spoon and added them and the zucchini to the chicken and onions.
I let this sear a few minutes and then added some parmesan cheese (vegan or not), some chopped garlic, and 1/2 cup of white vinegar to finish it off.
This was so, so good! It wasn’t my husband’s favorite, but I think that was due to the fact that it was a veggie dish and not plain pasta or pepperoni pizza. He did like it, though. He even ate more than I expected.
If you have a seriously picky eater, you may need to use rice noodles (or even ramen – without that nasty flavoring packet, and only if you’re eating gluten) and leave out some of the vegetables. I’d recommend using zucchini, carrot, and white potatoes, as those aren’t very pungent. The zucchinis and potatoes tend to absorb and carry other flavors, and the carrots are one of the “safer” vegetables.
I definitely intend to make this dish again. I loved it!
Side note: On the spur of the moment, my husband and I had a homemade date night. While making this, I insisted that we eat at the table (we usually eat in the bedroom since we don’t have kids yet), and my husband got out a battery-operated candle and played some soft jazz on his phone, and we had a fun, candle-lit dinner.