Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flat-Broke Food: Scraping Bottom - Kratser, Schmorn and Toad In The Hole

Desperate for food? There aren't many of us at that point. Fortunately, soup kitchens and food pantries are a help for people who honestly don't know where their next meal is coming from. During the terrible Thirties and Forties of the Great Depression, a lot more had that uncertainty to deal with.

Some of their recipes can help you stretch basic ingredients even further.

Take Schmorn, for example. This all-in-one skillet pancake was a staple for families then, and is still a great basic breakfast. And all you need is milk, eggs and flour. P.S. It also can use up leftover breadcrumbs.

(also known as Schmarren or Kratser)
   "It can be made from any number of eggs, a little more milk than you'd use for scrambled eggs, a little sugar, salt and powder and enough flour to make a thin batter, like a very thin pancake batter. [Mom] fried it in butter in a hot black iron skillet, stirring and turning it until it was a golden brown.
   "My husband's mother made it by adding bread crumbs to the egg-milk mixture, with a pinch of salt, sugar and no baking powder, until all liquid is absorbed."
           (Julie Weiss)

   'The mother of a Whitehall lady' gave another version: "My  mother heated 2 cups of milk, broke up dry bread, as much as could be absorbed and poured three or four beaten eggs with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar and fried it in a pan. Good!"

These recipes resemble 'Dutch Baby' pancakes. Use a little meat, and your 'Kratser' comes closer to the traditional Yorkshire pudding.

"These dishes were made many times a week and the families never tired of them."

"Fry bacon cut into small pieces. Pour over it a batter made of 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup flour and seasoning. Stir and turn until it is a gold brown, like omelets. Pork cracklings were also used in this dish."
  (all recipes are from Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression of the 1930's by Janet Van Amber Paske)

One supper dish my family loves uses the same Yorkshire pudding/popover-type batter -- but with sausages. It's called, aptly:

  • 1-2 teaspoons butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk 
*1/2 - 1 pound sausages

Turn the oven to 450 degrees, put the butter in a 9" square or round baking dish, and heat it until the butter is melted. In the meantime, quickly stir the other ingredients together. (Speed is important here.)  Pour the batter into the hot pan, and drop in one larger sausage for each person, or 2-3 breakfast sausages. (They will 'peek' out of the batter as it bakes around them.) Bake 15-20 minutes, until the mixture is set and dry on top. Serve right away for up to 4 people

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