While most sheltering-in-place restrictions remain in effect and frugality is paramount, here’s a new batch of dishes from bygone tough times like these. World War rationing and Great Depression resilience gave birth to unthinkable concoctions like an apple-less apple pie and a chocolate cake without butter, milk, or eggs. The resourcefulness of enslaved Africans in the American South delivered what’s today a regional staple that’s as beloved as it is nutritious. Some names are all-too straightforward, like the Québécois “Unemployed-Person Pudding.” Others are a bit more elusive, like Nothing Soup—which we promise is actually something.
Whatever they may be, they’re our ticket out of this mess. The better we are at staying home and stretching what ingredients we have, the sooner we can all get back out there and have someone else do the cooking. After all, it’s not the first time we’ve faced down a situation like this. History has given us lessons. Now it’s our turn to eat them.