Virginia Batter Bread

wytheville, virginia USA

Here’s a delightful wartime recipe for Virginia Batter Bread from Mrs. Robert S. Bradley’s Cook Book: Helpful Recipes for War Time (1917). Mrs. Bradley urges the reader to practice the most careful economy when it comes to foodstuffs: “There is need,” she writes, “for every form of economy that will save an ounce of food, and every cook is drafted to this universal service.” She urges the reader to follow “Hoover’s Rules” for economy:

1. Save the Wheat.
2. Save the Meat.
3. Save the Milk.
4. Save the Fats.
5. Save the Sugar.
6. Save the Fuel.
7. Use the Perishable Foods.
8. Use Local Supplies.

Certainly Mrs. Bradley’s recipe for Virginia Batter Bread is representative of the economy that should be practiced in the wartime kitchen (though, it is a bit heavy on the dairy). Below is the recipe as it appears in her book.

Virginia Batter Bread

1 cup boiled rice
1 pint milk
1/2 pint Southern white corn meal
2 eggs
Piece of butter a size of an egg
Pinch of salt

The batter should be put with the rice when boiled and drained and still hot. Use when cold. Beat the other ingredients together then beat in the rice. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and bake one hour. Serve hot.


Baumgarthuber, Christine. Fermented Foods: The History and Science of a Microbiological Wonder. Reaktion Books, 2021.

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