Meatless Monday is not a novel concept perpetuated by nouveau celebrities trying to stay relevant and appear “earth-conscious.” It was instituted (along with Wheatless Wednesday) by the FDA during the Great War as a means of coping with rationing at the time. Soon families became very adept at getting creative with their allotments… Which was a very good thing because they were able to teach the next generation a few things when rationing was reintroduced during WW2.
Nowadays, it has been reintroduced from a standpoint of generating better health (and reducing emissions – I’m not even gonna’ touch that in this post) versus a position of resource conservation. For more information on this movement, MeatlessMonday.com has a good article here in their “about” section. We’re not exactly faithful about observing this practice, but we take a meatless meal every once in a while.
Last night, we sampled a recipe for Baked Eggs in Cheese Sauce from Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen by Joanne Lamb Hayes (a cookbook based on wartime recipes constricted by rationing). It was a fairly simple, straightforward recipe. The cheese sauce is one not unlike that which is used for homemade macaroni and cheese! As a matter of fact it was so easy, I whipped up a second batch for the side of sautéed veggies I cooked. It was based in a simple roux with seasoning added. The eggs were nestled in a pool of the rich sauce, blanketed in buttered bread crumbs, and baked until just set.
The resulting dish was a creamy, meaty casserole-like delight (if a little unusual). I was even down half a pound the next morning despite all the cheese (and even a side of fries) upon which we indulged. It reminded me of a women I once read about named Caroln Elkins. She took the rations set forth during the time period and turned it into a diet program for herself and lost quite a bit of weight! She called it the 1940’s Experiment. I don’t intend to go that far, but it was an interesting experiment nonetheless and I’m glad she had fun with it and it worked for her.
Walk into any grocery store right now and you’ll see many meatless options for vegetarians and vegans. Where options in the ’90s and early aughts, now there is an endless variety of meat substitutes. Even tonight, I wasn’t feeling like a whole big dinner due to the heat. Instead I heated up a Dr. Praeger’s Mushroom Risotto Burger for my King’s Hawaiian Burger Bun and finished it with a side of Talenti Roman Raspberry Sorbet. It was tasty and satisfying, but am I planning on switching over to meatless everyday? No way. If that’s your thing, more power to you, but I prefer animal protein in the end.
What is your favorite meatless main dish?