WWII Homity Pie / WWII Homity Pai

A pie recipe from The Second World War  found on historyextra.com
WWII Homity Pie / WWII Homity Pai

No one knows where the name for Homity Pie originates from but the dish was popular with land girls during the Second World War. As well as unrationed items, the recipe also includes rationed foods like cheese, eggs and butter – the original recipe would have used these frugally. Nowadays we don’t have to be so sparing with the cheese and butter, which only make it even tastier.

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, Sam recreates homity pie – a hearty, vegetarian dish popular during the Second World War.

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In Contex

The Land Girls

The Women’s Land Army (WLA) was a British civilian organisation created during the First and Second World Wars so women could work in agriculture, replacing men called up to the military. Women who worked for the WLA were commonly known as Land Girls. The name Women’s Land Army was also used in the United States for an organisation formally called the Woman’s Land Army of America.

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In effect the Land Army operated to place women with farms that needed workers, the farmers being their employers.

Second World War

As the prospect of war became increasingly likely, the government wanted to increase the amount of food grown within Britain. In order to grow more food, more help was needed on the farms and so the government started the Women’s Land Army in June 1939.

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The majority of the Land Girls already lived in the countryside but more than a third came from London and the industrial cities of the north of England.

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In the Second World War, though under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, it was given an honorary head – Lady Gertrude Denman. At first it asked for volunteers. This was supplemented by conscription, so that by 1944 it had over 80,000 members. The WLA lasted until its official disbandment on 21 October 1949.

Land girls were also formed to supply New Zealand’s agriculture during the war. City girls from the age of 17 and up were sent to assist on sheep, cattle, dairy, orchard and poultry properties.

In popular culture

The Women’s Land Army was the subject of:

Medieval Monday – Ember Day Tarts / Emberdags Terter

A meat free fasting day tart recipe found on cookit.e2bn.org
headingMedieval Monday - Ember Day Tarts / Emberdags Terter

Four times every year in the Catholic calendar, there were “Ember Days” – consisting of a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – when meat was forbidden. Cheese and eggs, however, were allowed. An ‘Ember Day Tart’ therefore was a filling dish served instead of meat on these fasting days. The tarts in the recipe are a little like a sweet quiche.

The recipe uses galingale, it is well worth finding some as its aromatic taste is not easily replaced. You can use ginger as a substitute but this will give heat rather than a more rounded flavour.

The recipe was originally written down as follows:

‘Tart in embre day: take and parboile onynons; presse out the water & hewe hem smale;take brede & bray it in a mortar,and temper it up with ayren; do perto butter, safron, spice and salt and corans & a ltel sugar with powdor douce, and bake it in a trap,& serve it forth.’

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Salmagundy / Salmagundy Salat

En classic Victorian recipe found on cookit.e2bn.org
Salmagundy / Salmagundy Salat

Salmagundy is essentially the same recipe as the georgian ‘salamongundy’, however as food fashions moved on the dish became a small, delicate individual salad and was served as part of afternoon tea, rather than as a whole dish at a main meal.

The whole dish is made in a tiny tea cup and turned out onto the saucer as a single portion salad. The Victorians and Edwardians made afternoon tea very fashionable. Scones and teabreads, little cakes and cucumber sandwiches all had their place at these elaborate teas.

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Lumbard Mustard / Lumbardisk Sennep

A fourteenth century recipe found on Let Hem Boyle
Medieval Monday_headingLumbard Mustard / Lumbardisk Sennep

saaraSaara whe runs Let Hem Boyle writes: I have to say that I love mustard! All different kinds of… it can be strong, mild, vinegary, spiced.. I do like them all. Making mustard for an event has been a plan for long time, but I haven’t done it until Midwinter Feast. This recipe is great! You can make it beforehand and store it in the fridge. It will be good stored in fridge for couple of weeks.

Take mustard seeds and waishe it and drye it in an ovene, grynde it drye. Farse it thurgh a farse. Clarifie hony with wyne and vynegur and stere it wel togedrer and make it thikke ynowz. And whan thou wilt spende thereof make it tnynne with wyne.

Original recipe from Forme of Cury, 1390

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Meatloaf Fifties Style / Femtitalls Kjøttbrød

A typical dinner recipe from “God Og Billig Hverdagsmat”
(Nice And Inexpensive Everyday Food)
published  by N W Damm & Sønn in 1955

Meatloaf Fifties Style / Femtitalls Kjøttbrød

There is a delightful simplicity to the recipes in this book, completely free of all the show off vanity one finds in particularly cook books from the late eithties and early nineties.

This is straightforward everyday food presented simply and honestly, just like the Scandinavian fifites themselves. The recipe is from one of my mother’s cook books, now mine, and I’m very fond of it – Ted

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Medieval Monday – Arbolettys

A medieval spicy egg dish recipefound on
One Year and Thousand Eggs Medieval Monday_headingMedieval Monday – Arbolettys

Saara who runs One Year and Thousand Eggs writes: This egg dish is kind of scrambled eggs with herbs. It is very good with toasted bread.

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Beef à la Rydberg / Biff á la Rydberg

A classic Swedish dish found  in “Cattelins Kokebok”
(Cattelin’s Cook Book) published in 1978

Beef à la Rydberg / Biff á la Rydberg

This classic dish is from old Hotel Rydberg in Stockholm. A nice party dish when one is willing to go for beef fillet, because beef fillet is needed in this case. But one does not have to use the very finest fillets, since the meat should be cut into pieces.

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Chocolate Orange Pots / Sjokolade og Appelsinformer

A dessert recipe found in “The Chocolate Book”
by Valerie Barrett published in 1987

Chocolate Orange Pots / Sjokolade og Appelsinformer

Chocolate and orange is a delicious combination. The orange adds a bit of freshness to a chocolate dessert that otherwise might seem a little too heavy.

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British Fry-Up / Britisk Fry-Up

A real classic British breakfast recipe found in a booklet published by gilde.no
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It was somewhat strange to find such an utter British dish in a booklet from a Norwegian meat supplier, but so what. I’m a real sucker for a solid breakfast and always go for the full english when in Britiain. Continental is for sissies – Ted  😉

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Chocolate Pots de Creme / Sjokolade Pots de Creme

A classic French dessert recipe found on epicurus.com
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Simply extraordinary, Chocolate Pots de Crême may be served in a variety of containers. As individual portions, they’re perfect for entertaining and easy for family sweets. These go perfectly with a nice after dinner liqueur.

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17th Century Quaking Pudding / Skjelvende Pudding fra det 17ende Århundre

A historic pudding recipe found on Tunspit & Table
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Kim who runs ‘Tunspit & Table‘ writes: England has been famous for its puddings for centuries, and the word is now interchangeable with dessert, but it wasn’t always so. Historically puddings were essentially sausages with a filling stuffed into the stomach or intestines of an animal (the word probably comes from the Anglo-Norman word bodin meaning entrails). Sometimes they were kind of like dumplings, cooked in the broth with the meat for dinner.

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Toast Place Concorde

A delicious toast recipe found in “Matglede Som Aldri Før”
(Joy of Food Like Never Before) published by
Skaninavisk Press as in 1977

Toast Place Concorde

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Apple Pancake / Eplepannekake

A dessert omelette recipe found in “Med Bær og Frukt”
(With Fruit and Berries) published by
Hjemmets kokebokklubb in 1982

Apple Pancake / Eplepannekake

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Small Succulent Fruit Cakes / Små Saftige Fruktkaker

A really juicy cake recipe found on Allers/KKSmall Succulent Fruit Cakes / Små Saftige Fruktkaker

Bake these delicious cakes in small moulds, it will make them so much nicer to put on the tea table, but you can also use two oblong cake moulds.

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19th Century Excellent Potato Pudding / 1800talls Utmerket Potetpudding

A classic 19th century save-all recipe found on Tunspit & Table
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Kim who runs ‘Tunspit & Table‘ writes: These recipes are both sweet and savoury, sometimes baked in a pie case and sometimes without, and they lasted from at least the mid-18th century to the end of the 19th. It’s not hard to understand why these puddings would have been popular, they are basically all cheap starch, flavoured with relatively small amounts of more expensive ingredients – brandy, citrus fruits, currants, sugar, or a little spice. They are also quite an appetising way of using up left over boiled potatoes, The Family Save-All specifically recommends saving up the potatoes left from two or three days meals. I also quite like that it is recommended for children, “children of larger growth”, invalids and the elderly, i.e. everyone.

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