As part of my research on food scarcity during World War I, I learned about recipes from that time period. There wasn’t a constant potato shortage during the war, like there was at the time of the Potato Riots, but there was an ongoing scarcity of other foods, such as butter.
International trade restrictions had caused a serious food shortage in the Netherlands. This also concerned domestically grown produce, which, to a large extent, was exported to Germany, where people were willing and able to pay a high price for it.
In 1917, the Dutch government implemented a strict distribution and food rationing policy. Basic necessities, such as bread, potatoes, and meat, were rationed, but the rations became smaller and smaller over time. Supplementing their rations was unaffordable for the masses, due to the extortionate free market prices.
During 1917 and 1918, food shortages recently led to protests, hunger marches, riots and lootings. The Potato Riots in July 1917 in Amsterdam were an absolute low, causing the death and injury of numerous citizens.
Recipe for potato cake from the time of World War I
250 grams of potatoes
75 grams of sugar
25 grams of semolina
1 tea spoon of lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Boil the potatoes and mash them.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg white. Stir the yolks through the sugar, until it becomes a gleaming mass. Add the semolina and lemon juice.
Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff.
Stir the mashed potatoes through the egg yolks. Add the beaten egg whites last.
Put the cake in the oven for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.