Revisiting the Stuffed Potato

I attended a World War II theme fundraiser this past weekend which included a potato bar. in the center of the table was a wire basket filled with potatoes, an iconic food during the war. So I dug around my 1960s files and found stuffed potato recipes that might work for a potato bar. To name a few: Twice-baked potatoes, Rancher’s Potato Boats, Stuffed Potatoes, Double Baked Potatoes, and in the 1970 the same basic recipe appears again but with chopped broccoli and a variation with Ranch dressing.

potatoedish 002Variation of Rancher’s Stuffed Potato Boats, Sheryl and Carole, 1960s

  • 6 medium potatoes baked and warm
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions, including tops
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Paprika

Bake potatoes at 375 for 45 minutes or until soft. (You can try the micro-wave but the skins are softer). When cool to handle, cut in half lengthwise, reserving skins. Scoop out pulp and place into a bowl.  Mash with butter, milk, sour cream, cheese and salt and pepper until smooth. If necessary add more milk to make a soft, fluffy consistency. Mix in bacon and onions. Brush outside of potato skins with oil and fill shells with mixture, mounding tops. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until heated through and browned.  Sprinkle with paprika.

Optional Additions:

  • 1 small, white or yellow onion, chopped and cooked
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup cooked and chopped broccoli
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese added to tops
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • Crabmeat
  • Chopped spinach or red peppers

ftritchieevening 020For a World War II Potato Bar: scoop out potato pulp and mash with butter and milk into a smooth consistency. Keep warm. Place skins in a heating tray. Surround with bowls of sour cream, chives, parsley, olives, chopped broccoli, butter, bacon, green onions, chilies, ranch dressing, various cheeses or whatever sounds good. No limits here!

Serve with chicken and beef sliders, trays of cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and dips. Add Angel Food Cake, a popular dessert during the war years. Flour and sugar were rationed food items and not always available for traditional cakes and cookies. Singapore Slings, Streetcars, and Manhattans, beer and wine add to the atmosphere.  Don’t forget M&Ms, Hershey bars, coffee, cigarettes and women’s nylons. After Normandy, soldiers traded these items for all kinds of favors and/or information.

Dr. Guy Stern
Dr. Guy Stern

Music: There was the music of Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey; The Big Band Sound and Swing were swell. A few songs of the time: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Keep the Home Fires Burning, I’ll be Seeing You, and Yours. Great dance tunes, even now.

Ft. Richie in Cascade, Maryland housed the military intelligence training center during WWII. Now a community center, a fundraiser was held this past weekend where Dr. Guy Stern spoke about his training experiences at Ft. Richie. Along with thousands of other Jewish men, who escaped Nazi-held Germany, he was trained in interrogation, psychological warfare, and counter-intelligence in the U.S. These men became known as The Richie Boys. Two days after D-Day, Dr. Stern, along with many of the Richie Boys, arrived in Europe. He served as a POW interrogator, questioning Nazi soldiers. Others were assigned to troops liberating the concentration camps and became the victors, rather than the victims. His experiences are the subject of the documentary The Richie Boys which was an Academy Award nominee.  Currently he is director at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Michigan.