In difficult times of the war we have mastered to perfection the art of survival, to feed the family with almost nothing. In practice, it looked something like this: make a pie from scratch, mayonnaise without eggs, patty without meat … It seemed impossible, but we succeeded, so there are many people who are in the tasting of these specialties have said that they are not much different from the original.
Perhaps it was really so, or it was just another comfort of the struggling, those who were forced to survive on its own way.
Recipes for pies, pastries, sandwiches, patties, you will not find in either the cook or the web sites of culinary advice. These were dishes often made of unknown ingredients, made of nothing, cooked on the stove handmade which initially igniting the wood, and later by a newspaper, at the end by books and wooden furniture.
A special recipe and a story which goes with it I wish to share with you.
I remember as it was yesterday. I got a pumpkin from the mother’s neighbor and kept it for a special dinner At that time pumpkin was great wealth for us. Women could make a real specialty of pumpkin with additions almost nothing, if they had a little imagination and skill.
Well I’ve decided that this a special dinner be just today, when the husband brought from work a package of humanitarian aid that is received instead of salary. There was anything special in the package. It was quite common foods that have been previously treated with all employees in his company: a little flour, a little oil, milk powder, … but also ONE EGG that brought him the colleague who lives in the countryside and has hens. At that time hen eggs were extremely valued because they were not. Only individuals in the country have had the privilege, and keep them for exchange. For one egg they could get min 2 kg of flour.
With a smile on my face, happy because we get humanitarian aid and we will not be hungry at least a few days, and in addition I have a pumpkin that will serve me to this dinner be festive, I exclaimed:
”Today we eat STEAKS!”
Everyone laughed and thought that I rave, and I took to clean the pumpkin. Secretly, that other inmates do not see what I was doing, I was preparing festive dinner.
First I cleaned the pumpkin cut up in very small pieces – planing by plane. After that I added egg, some domestic Vegeta (which I made from carrots and parsley from my mother’s garden, with the addition of corn flour and a pinch of salt), some flour and two bowls of finely sliced onions. I’ve all composed to get a compact mass, and then I created tablespoon steak an fried them in a very small amount of oil. Oil was a luxury at the beginning of the war too, and later even greater because there was no way and we meals made on the water. All the houses smell of. The smell of steaks felt in our stairwell too, and I was almost ashamed that neighbors do not think that we eat meat, but they did not see it for months, let alone eat.
My family, husband and our two daughters, sat at the dining room table covered with colorful plastic oilcloth, just like a real happy family in American film. Thanksgiving Day, they would say. In front of them porcelain plates and meal service. I have joined them with a full dish and saying:
Steaks smelled heavenly. While I put down a dish on the table I said:
”Come on, bring it.”
The older daughter was first consumed and she said:
”It really smells like meat! Where did you get it?!”
The husband looked puzzled, while the younger daughter greedily devoured steaks, and then he added with laughing:
”Are steaks of beef or of veal?”
”It’s really good, isn’t it? What do you say?”
I asked, delighted that I was able to cheer them at least in this way. They did not have to give me answers. Their faces with a smile talked me enough.
However, they could not continue to eat not to say:
”Good, good … ” – they confirmed and continued to empty a dish.
We laughed crazy, each of us with own piece of steak without meat in the mouth.
Everything was the same, taste, smell, color, only the meat was gone. It was the best family dinner ever.