For my vintage vegan cookbook project, I'm veganizing trendy foods from the past century and organizing the book by decade. For most decades — especially the meat-heavy early 1900s and the Mad Men-era 1950s and 1960s — it's been quite a challenge. Veganizing broiled chicken or beef bourguignon takes a little creativity. And I haven't even begun to tackle the vegan tomato aspic.
But one decade — the 1940s — features many recipes that were already naturally vegan. That's because meat, cheese, butter, eggs, sugar, and many processed foods were rationed in America during World War II. Cakes were made without eggs and by using water instead of milk. Corn syrup was often used as a sweetener.
For inspiration from that decade, I turn to Carolyn's amazing World War II-era food blog, The 1940s Experiment. Carolyn lived on a WWII ration diet for months and lost a lot of weight and saved a lot of money for her family. Her personal story is pretty fascinating, and each of her posts has her recreating a 1940s recipe from a vintage cookbook. I'm not making those recipes because they're not mine, but I have scrolled through her blog for ideas of what people ate back then. One dish that recently caught my eye were the Wartime Vegetable Turnovers from English home economist Marguerite Patten's cookbook.
So I came up with my own version of World War II Veggie Turnovers.
These are stuffed with herbed, roasted veggies tossed with a little oil — butternut squash, potatoes, carrots, and onions (all things someone might grow in a wartime garden). The crust is naturally eggless. It's basically a pie crust (made with oil instead of butter) that's rolled out and folded over.
For this first version, I overcooked the turnovers by about 10 minutes, resulting in a tough crust. I'll have to make these again and work on that cooking time. Thankfully, the crust softened in the fridge overnight, so these turned out great for this week's leftover lunches. Perfect with a side of kale salad, which I'm sure isn't something people ate in 1940. But oh well!