My father served in WWII, as did all of his (4 brothers). Two of my aunts also served as nurses during the war and my mom was a “Rosie the Riveter” during those years. My parents married in 1943 after a whirlwind courtship while my dad was home on leave for 2 weeks. Mom followed him to Ft. Benning, Georgia, where they wed. During their stay at Ft. Benning mom would eat an over-stuffed hotdog at the USO on the base every-other day and on days in-between, her landlady would bring her leftovers. When mom returned home, rationing was still going on. Mom was a pretty good cook as her parents were both chefs and she had attended a trade school in her high school years which let her major in cooking.
Mom would get a lot of help from the local butcher shops when it came to my dad’s liking. He was a “meat-and-potatoes” kind of guy mainly because he rarely had it at home growing up in a family of 13. He was raised by his older siblings when his mother passed in childbirth when he was 3 years old. Their dinners often consisted of soups and casseroles so when he left home, meat and potatoes was his preferred meal.
Mom was able to get “balogna ends” from the butchershop for pennies. As she often would get, too, her soup bones to make soup by saying she needed the bones for her dog. Back then most butchershops kept a barrel of cut up bones, so you could pick which you wanted. Anyway, mom always asked for “ends” or leftover pieces nobody else wanted. From leftover balogna, she created a dish my dad just loved and it cost her only pennies to make. It was this:
1# balogna, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 T. vegetable oil
1/4 c. ketchup
2-3 c. water
1/4 c. cold water mixed with 2T. cornstarch to make a slurry
salt & pepper
Mashed potatoes or noodles or bread
Add oil in large pan and cook onion until transparent. Add balogna and cook, browning lightly. Add ketchup, water and seasoning. Bring to boil, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Turn up heat again, add the slurry mix and cook, stirring to thicken. Serve over potatoes, noodles or bread.
Mom would make this throughout the years and I continue to make it once or twice a year, too, in memory of them both.