Good Fare in War-time

Pulse Foods

Pulse foods (dried beans, peas and lentils) are good alternatives to meat, especially if served with a variety of fresh vegetables: they lack fat, however, and should be cooked with small scraps of fat meat or bacon, or served with fat meat, e.g., pork and bacon. If well flavoured and savoury the pulses may form the basis of a large variety of satisfying and nourishing meals.

Haricot and butter beans are the most valuable, but all pulses contain minerals and body building material; they are relatively cheap, they keep well and occupy little storage space.


Soak beans and peas overnight in boiled water: do not add salt. Lentils need not be soaked as they cook quickly.


Cook soaked beans and peas in boiling water until tender before adding other ingredients (exception: pease pudding). Time varies with the kind of pulse: beans dried whilst young will soften in 1 hour, others may require 2-3 hours.


  1. Boil with bacon rind or bones and cheese rinds.
  2. Add parsley or other fresh herbs, fried leeks, onions, or root vegetables.
  3. Cook in meat stock and add scraps of meat.

Pulse Foods may be served alone with a savoury sauce, i.e. White, Parsley, Mustard (see Pamphlet No. 1, Salads and Vegetables), or they may be used as the foundation for Soups (page 3), Savoury Roasts and Vegetable Dishes (page 15), floc-pots (pages 15 and 16), Vegetable Pies (page 16), Au Gratin Dishes (page 15), Curries (page 14).

Note: Beans, Peas or Lentils may be used in the following recipes, but the time for cooking will vary according to the pulse used.

Savoury Butter Beans

  • 6 ozs Haricot or Butter Beans
  • 1 table-spoon grated Cheese or 1 table-spoon chopped parsley
  • 2 Turnips or 1 Swede
  • Seasoning

Soak the beans overnight in boiled water. Cook slowly in boiling water for about 1½ hours. Add the turnips (cleaned and sliced) 1 hour before beans are cooked. Strain, put into a fire-proof dish and cover with a savoury sauce (parsley, brown or mustard) made with bean liquor. Sprinkle with grated cheese and grated stale bread and brown under the griller or in the oven.

Pulse Savoury

  • 1 lb Peas, Beans or Lentils
  • 2 or 3 Carrots
  • 2 ozs Rice or Macaroni
  • Seasoning
  • 1 Onion
  • ½ tea-spoon Powdered Sage
  • 1 Apple or 2 table-spoons Apple Pulp
  • 1 tea-spoon Fat
  • ½ pint Brown, White or Parsley Sauce

Soak the pulse overnight. Cover well with water and allow to cook for 15 minutes to 2 hours according to the pulse. Add the macaroni or rice 20 minutes before the pulse is cooked, and allow to cook until soft and the water is absorbed. Mix the finely sliced onion and apple and the grated carrot with the sage and seasoning. Melt the fat in a deep tin or pie dish and arrange the vegetables, macaroni and pulse in the tin. Cover with the sauce. Sprinkle with grated stale bread and a little grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

Lentil and Potato Pie

  • 1 lb Lentils
  • Seasoning
  • 2 Parsnips or Onions
  • 6-8 Potatoes
  • ¼ lb minced fresh Meat or Bacon Scraps

Soak lentils overnight, add chopped onion and cook with lentils in sufficient water nearly to cover till both are soft. Mash well and season. Steam, mash and season potatoes. Spread layer of lentilsand onions and minced meat in a deep baking tin or pie dish. Cover with a thick layer of mashed potatoes and dot with small pieces of dripping. Bake for 1 hour till brown. Serve with good brown gravy and greens.

Haricot Hot-pot

  • 2 Carrots or Onions
  • ½ lb Haricot Beans
  • Water or Pot Liquor
  • ¼ lb fresh minced Meat
  • Seasoning

Wash haricots and soak overnight. Cook in soaking water till quite soft so that they will mash easily. Season well. Spread alternate layers of mince and grated vegetables and haricots in a tin or pie dish leaving a layer of haricots on top. Add water or pot liquor to fill tin ½ full. Bake for ¾ to 1 hour to cook meat and carrots and to brown haricots. Serve with brown sauce, greens and potatoes.

Curried Lentils (or other pulse)

  • ½ lb Lentils
  • 1 tea-spoon Flour
  • 1 tea-spoon Fat (preferably Bacon)
  • 1 tea-spoon Curry Powder
  • 1 small Leek, Onion or Carrot
  • 1 table-spoon Vinegar
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 teacup Water
  • 2 table-spoons Sultanas
  • 2 table-spoons Rice

Soak lentils overnight in boiled water. Melt fat, add chopped vegetable and fry lightly. Add chopped apple, sultanas, flour, curry powder, vinegar and water and allow to boil. Add lentils and allow to cook steadily until soft (about ½ hour). Season and serve with hot boiled rice.

(1) To vary, use beans or peas. Soak overnight and cook in the usual way. Add to the curry sauce and heat through for about 20 minutes.
(2) Adopt this method for serving
(a) Hard-boiled eggs.
(b) Potatoes (whole or in large pieces), artichokes, beetroot, parsnips, etc.
(c) Cooked meat or fish.
These mixtures may also be heated in mustard or brown sauce and served with boiled rice or macaroni.
(3) Curried Meat. For raw meat cut into convenient sized pieces and fry in the fat before making the sauce; return to the sauce and cook for I-I½ hours according to the meat used.

To cook Rice

  • Rice 2 ozs
  • Water 1 quart

Wash rice and sprinkle into boiling salted water. Boil fast for 10 to 15 minutes (stirring occasionally) until soft. Strain and keep in a hot place until ready for use. Reserve rice water for soup.

Pulse Au Gratin

  • ¼ lb cooked Peas, Beans or Lentils
  • 1 tea-spoon Fat
  • ½ pint of White, Brown or Tomato
  • ¼ lb mashed Potatoes
  • Seasoning
  • 1 table-spoon grated Cheese

Cook the pulse and mash with a fork. Mix with the potatoes, seasoning and fat and spread in a pie dish or deep baking tin. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and grated stale bread, and brown in the oven or under the griller.

Lentil Roast

  • ½ lb Lentils
  • 1 teacup Milk
  • 2 large Carrots
  • 1 teacup stale Bread
  • 4-6 Potatoes
  • Pepper and Salt
  • Pinch of Sage

Boil lentils and sliced carrots in a little water until tender. Add the grated raw potatoes, and bread, soaked in the heated milk, seasoning, etc. Mix well and pack mixture about 2 in. thick into a baking tin. Bake in a moderate oven for ½ hour. Cut into squares and serve with a good gravy.

Pease Pudding

  • ½ lb Split Peas
  • ¼ tea-spoon Salt
  • 1 tea-spoon Dripping
  • ¼ tea-spoon Pepper
  • ¼ tea-spoon Fresh or Dried Mint

Soak peas overnight. Tie loosely in a pudding cloth and cook in a pan of boiling water, in soup or with boiled bacon (time about 2½ hours). Hold cloth with the peas over the pan to drain off the water. Turn peas into a basin and mash with a fork and add the other ingredients. Reheat and serve with vegetables and a good gravy or with bacon hock.