Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Cooking #16: Victory through Football - but who are the Steagles?

Well, the big weekend is here! Superbowl Sunday - the 45th Super Bowl, this time between the NY Giants and the New England Patriots.  All the excitement got me to thinking about football during World War II.  Of course, there was not Super Bowl, otherwise this year would probably be more like the 80th Super Bowl.  But the war didn’t stop anyone from kicking around the old pigskin.

Program Covers for 1943 (l) and 1944 (r)
But the war did take a toll NFL teams when the players were called up to serve their country.  By the time the 1943 season rolled around, the Cleveland Rams suspended the season altogether.  But not so, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles.  Instead, 1943 saw an unprecedented merger between the two teams under the name Phil-Pitt later dubbed the Steagles.
This lasted only one season, but,in 1944, a now precedented merger occurred between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals, known as the Card-Pitts.  This team soon became know as the Carpets.  It had something to do with the way other teams ran over them and ending up 0-10.
But the NY Giants remained the NY Giants all through the war.
Professional football was broadcast on radio during the war, so imagine if you will getting ready to spend a nice Saturday afternoon listening to the game.  BUT - what do you eat in an ear when wings didn’t exist as we know and love them.  Below are some suggestions for your culinary pleasure:
Soy Chili Con Carne (serves 4)
Source: New York Times, June 1, 1942

1/4 pound salt pork, diced
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 pound lean beef, ground
2    cups tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1    tablespoon chili powder
2    cups cooked soy beans

     1.  Fry the salt pork until crisp.
     2.  Remove the pork and brown the onions.
     3.  Add the beef, stir and cook slowly for five minutes.
     4. Add the crisped port, and the remaining ingredients and heat to boiling.

Cheese Pudding (Serves 4 - 6)
Source: New York Times, October 7, 1942

6    slices bread, cut one-inch thick
1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese
3    eggs, well beaten
1    onion, grated
1    teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2    cups scalded milk
  1. Remove crusts from bread and cut slices in one-inch cubes.  Arrange half of the bread in the bottom of greased baking dish.  Sprinkle with half the cheese.
  2. Add remaining bread and cheese.  
  3. Combine eggs with seasonings and milk and pour over bread.
  4. Bake in a slow oven (250º F) for one hour and serve immediately.
Pigs in Blankets (serves 4)
Source: New York Times, March 5, 1945

8 frankfurters
2 cups water
Biscuit dough made from one and a half cups of flour and prepared mix
4 tablespoons meat drippings or fortified margarine
4 tablespoons flour 
Salt and pepper
  1. Simmer frankfurters, covered, in water two to five minutes.  Drain and reserve broth.
  2. Roll biscuit dough three-eights inch thick and cut into strips one-inch wide.  Wrap a strip around each frankfurter.
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake in a hot oven (425º F) ten minutes, or until dough is lightly browned.
  4. Serve with gravy made as follows:
Melt fat, blend in flour and brown.  Add reserved broth, stirring, and cook till thickened.  Season gravy to taste with salt and pepper, and if desired thin with additional water.

But, yummy as these recipes sound, I will have the same thing I have been having since 1981, when the Philadelphia Eagles sans the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Oakland Raiders 27-10 in Super Bowl XV
Chile a la Franey (serves 8 or more)
Source: New York Times, January 23, 1980

1 pound very lean coarsely ground pork
1 pound very lean coarsely ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon crumbled dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups tomatoes with tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 cup water
½ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 cups drained kidney beans
Sour cream as garnish, optional
Lime wedges as garnish, optional
    1. If possible, have the pork and beef ground together coarsely.
    2. Heat the oil in a large heavy kettle and add the meat.  Cook, chopping down and stirring with the side of a heavy metal kitchen spoon to break up the lumps.
    3. Add the onions, green pepper, celery, garlic, oregano, bay leaves and cumin.  Stir to blend well.
    4. Add the tomatoes, broth, water, salt and pepper to taste, and add the red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, about 20 minutes.  Add the beans and cook 10 minutes longer.  Serve in hot bowls with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and lime wedges, if desired.  

Weekend Cooking is a weekly meme hosted by Beth Fish Reads


  1. I just finished reading a book about the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it reminded me that back in the day, many of the players interrupted their careers to fight in the war. I love the recipes, I'm sure my dad would enjoy them.

  2. This totally made me laugh: "Carpets. It had something to do with the way other teams ran over them"!!

    I loved seeing the vintage recipes -- thanks so much for sharing them.

  3. Wonderful post! Thanks for the trip down memory lane

  4. You won't believe it but I am making your Chili a la Franey for Super Bowl tomorrow, You gave the recipe to me about a year ago and I've made it numerous times since. It's such a rich and robust chili. It's become our favorite. Today in my Weekend Cooking post I mentioned that recipe and linked it on my blog. I will go back and link it here.

  5. What fun! I've never heard of the Steagles or the Carpets. I loved Pigs in Blankets when I was younger and could eat that sort of thing, but I wouldn't have guessed the recipe went back to the 40s (or perhaps earlier).

  6. What fun. Love old recipes! Cheese Pudding looks intriguing. Will have to try the second chili recipe. Thanks!

  7. What a fun post! I like those recipes from way back when, the cheese pudding. Could never say no to a pig in a blanket! Chili is always a winner in my book. Enjoy the game!