Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Friday: Fried Squirrel ala World War II

Recently, I was in Solvang (California) checking out the used cookbooks at the local bookstore, The Book Loft. (On a side note, these great independent bookstores are a dying breed and deserve our support). They had a great selection of community cookbooks compiled by all kinds of different fundraising groups. I ended up picking up a few that looked unique and then headed off to a play we were seeing that night.

On the long drive home, I started perusing the cookbooks and started wondering about the story behind one of the ones I had purchased. I couldn't quite figure out who the group was that compiled it. It was different than the church, school, hospital, alumni group, local community  groups I was accustomed to. It was obvious the book had to do with World War II and after analyzing some of the stories I knew that the atomic bomb  dropped at the end of World War II played some integral part in why these women knew each other.

This cookbook, a combination of recipes and memories, was complied by the Oak Ridge '43 Club. Members of this club were those living in Oak Ridge (Tennessee) in 1943. One of the nicknames of this city is the Atomic City. Those who lived in Oak Ridge lived under a veil of secrecy not only from the rest of the world but also to a degree, amongst themselves. They were working, unbeknownst to them, on materials for the Manhattan Project.

What I love about this cookbook is that it's not just a compilation of recipes of the time. It is a history, told in the words of the women who lived it. The book includes biographies, sketches of what the housing looked like at Oak Ridge and rich descriptions of their lives. This is truly a cookbook/history book. We definitely need more of them. 

Today's Food Friday is a Fried Squirrel recipe. I think it's important to remember the foods people had to eat during hard times and to listen to their stories. To learn more about Oak Ridge see the Oak Ridge website. This cookbook is available here.