Saturday, March 29, 2014

Project 52: Rationing - Week 12 - Whole Wheat Bread

I was excited to finally get around to making a loaf of ration bread for this week's recipe. There's nothing so comforting as a fat slice of freshly-baked bread! I anticipate making a few bread recipes this year just because there are so many recipes for bread out there, even in the 1940s. Not to mention American and British bread recipe are sure to differ in some ways. It will be fun trying out the different kinds!

I chose an American recipe out of my Grandma's Wartime Kitchen book. It looks a lot like a regular bread recipe except it uses maple syrup as a sweetener and unsifted wheat flour (the bran is not removed). It still uses all-purpose flour, though. It promised to be a delicious loaf of sandwich bread which is what I needed. Next week I'll be talking about sandwich fillings and will be highlighting a few unique spreads. I couldn't just use store-bought bread, so a loaf of homemade was a must!

There's nothing too fancy about this week's ration recipe. Below is the recipe with a few of my comments:

Whole-Wheat Bread

1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or butter (or a mixture)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup warm (105º to 110º F) water
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 tsp. yeast)
3 to 3 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 cup unsifted whole-wheat flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form at edge of pan; stir in maple syrup, shortening, and salt. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool to 105º to 110ºF. (or until it feels just warm to the touch instead of hot.)

2. Combine warm water and yeast in a cup and set aside for yeast to soften.

3. When milk mixture has cooled, add 3 cups all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, beaten egg, and yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. (If you don't have a stand mixer to do all the mixing and kneading, a Danish dough whisk works amazingly well for stirring the dough! It works even better than a spoon and saves some elbow grease.) 

4. Turn dough out onto a work surface sprinkled with some of the remaining 1/2 cup flour. Knead 5 minutes, adding as much of remaining flour as necessary to make the dough manageable. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm place until double in size - about 1 hour.*

5. Generously grease a 9-inch loaf pan. Shape dough into a log and fit into greased pan. Set aside in a warm place until double in size - about 45 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on top.** Cool at least 30 minutes before cutting. I know it's hard to wait!

*Notes: Modern bread-making scientists have found that 2 risings isn't strictly necessary. Feel free to follow the recipe, but if you're in a pinch for time, after kneading, just skip ahead to step 5 and proceed from there. The bread still turns out great!

**Thanks to a King Arthur Flour recipe, I discovered that there is a sure-fire way to tell if your loaf is truly done - no tapping to hear a "hollow" sound needed! The tool you need is a thin-needled food thermometer. After the baking time is done, stick the thermometer into the center of the loaf. If it reads between 190º and 195ºF, then it's cooked all the way through. If the temp is lower than that, just stick it back in for a few minutes. It's amazing and so simple!

The bread turned out wonderfully! Especially, when it's still warm and soft, the maple syrup is surprisingly apparent and it's a lovely taste. Aah! I adore homemade bread. :-)
Whole-Wheat Bread from
Grandma's Wartime Kitchen by Joanne Lamb Hayes

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Building A Museum Exhibit - Part 2

In the first part of this very tiny series I talked about a few exhibit techniques and gave a few examples. In this second part I'll be talking about the process of actually putting together an exhibit - a behind the scenes look. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever personally seen museums advertise a look at how they put their exhibits together, but as a teenager I was curious about it. Visitors only ever get to see the end product and rarely get to see the process of idea development, artifact selection, exhibit building, and text writing along with the messy, hectic things that go on behind the scenes as the final countdown to the grand opening approaches. So, I'm hoping to give you at least a little glimpse using an exhibit I personally worked on while working for the Utah State University Museum of Anthropology.

Creating a new exhibit in the Museum of Anthropology was one of the assignments for our Intro to Museum Work Class. I requested special permission to redo this exhibit and had three other girls from my class working with me. The exhibit was used frequently, because learning about the Great Basin is required learning for 4th graders in Utah. And as the exhibit needed a serious face lift, I felt it was an important project. We had about 3 months to finish our work.

The picture below is the Great Basin exhibit we had to revamp.

Boring, white background. Not all the artifacts were labeled and none of them explained which collection they came from.
Another huge problem was that there were some replicas mixed in with original artifacts, but as there weren't proper labels, the visitor would have a hard time distinguishing between the two. Pictures weren't labeled very well either.

We stripped the exhibit down and got planning.
Exhibit under construction!
This was the depth of the case we had to work with. It was pretty narrow, so we had to get creative with the space we had.
The exhibit space was narrow and long.
We had several meetings talking about what exactly we would cover in the exhibit. The history of the Great Basin region is very long, so we decided to cover the native peoples who hunted & gathered during a specific time range. We had to choose appropriate artifacts from the museum collections to go with the information we wanted to convey. (This was harder than you'd think!) We also decided on color schemes and drew up plans on where the information and artifacts would go in the exhibit.
Once we had approval from the museum director for our ideas, we put in a paper mock-up.

Our exhibit mock-up of artifacts, text, and exhibit structure.
You can also see the paint chips in there for our color scheme.

Next we painted the exhibit with the creamy yellow we had chosen. We wanted the exhibit to be a different color than any other exhibit in the museum. This yellow was a great choice which made it really stand out! Once it dried, we put the paper mock-ups back in and constructed the base of our structure - a desert floor with a food cache. We had some great tips from an exhibit constructor at the Idaho Museum of Natural History for building our food cache. The main material used? Rigid insulation foam! I wish I had pictures of how we put that together. It was a huge mess cutting the foam and none to easy either.

Painted exhibit with mock-ups and foam structure
The next steps were finishing the desert floor and food cache, finding pictures of edible plants Great Basin Indians used, writing up text, and finding an appropriate map to be used in the exhibit. (A map was essential!)

We had to be careful in what natural materials were placed in the exhibit. We used sterilized playground sand stuck to dyed drywall plaster, washed rocks, plastic plants bought from the craft store, and cedar bark kept in a freezer to kill any bugs present and then used to line the food cache. Bugs in a museum full of wool and cotton artifacts is a nightmare! So, extra caution is always necessary and vitally important.

Another important aspect of putting together an exhibit is that if you use photographs or artwork, you need to make sure you have permission to use the images in your exhibit. Being that we were a non-profit university museum, we didn't have any problems getting permission, but it took a lot of time and we had to be really on top of it making sure we heard back from everyone. The plant pictures came from a great academic botany website where botanists post pictures of plants from all around the world. It was an awesome resource for us and the photographs were beautiful. 

During this whole time we were also doing research on the Great Basin and writing and rewriting text for the exhibit. 

The exhibit slowly coming together!
We still used replicas in our exhibit, but needed to add a scissor snare to the atlatl and the bow we already had. So, we commissioned a student who made excellent replicas (and who puts them to use in the wild!).

One of the original inspirations was to have projectile points seemingly floating in the air. To do this we had to choose projectile points from the collection and mount them to a piece of plexi-glass by drilling holes in the plexi-glass and attaching the points using museum wax and fishing line. Then we suspended it from the ceiling of the exhibit. It turned out awesome!

In the final stages of the exhibit construction we had to make up the exhibit sign, text, photos, and map in Photoshop, print them all off and send them off to be mounted on foam core and cut. The Photoshop work alone took many, many hours. There were a few mistakes in the foam core mounting, so we had to get some redone. Then we mounted them inside the exhibit case, mounted/hung/set in the artifacts, cleaned the glass, hung the sign, and we were done! Whew!

Our completed exhibit!
Can you see the "floating" projectile points?
After hundreds of combined hours, we had a completed exhibit. We were really proud of how well the exhibit turned out and how it became a beautiful addition to the museum. It gives me warm fuzzies inside that so many students are learning about the Great Basin through our hard work and passion put into this exhibit! I feel it is such a great honor.

Well, there is your inside look at constructing an exhibit. If you have any questions, leave me a comment below!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Project 52: Rationing - Week 11 - Wartime Champ

In honor of St. Patrick's Day this week I thought I'd make an Irish dish with a rationing twist. I found a great recipe called "Wartime Champ" in my British Victory Cookbook. It's an interesting dish that cooks potatoes, carrots, and cabbage in a bit of water and then you mash it with salt and pepper and milk. It's a wonderfully basic recipe which I was hoping would go well with my corned beef. It fits right in with British (and Irish) staples of the time and with the extra veggies, it makes an interesting and more healthful alternative to just regular ol' mashed potatoes. Additionally, it's a fairly quick-cooking dish which would help save on rationed fuel and I like that it uses so little water which means all the vitamins were left with the veggies instead of being poured off. Using that vitamin-rich water and not wasting it was really emphasized during the war.

Potatoes, carrots, cabbage, salt & pepper
Also added are water and milk.
The recipe calls for 1 lb. potatoes, 1 lb. carrots, and one small head of cabbage.

I just had to show my cool antique shop find which I used to weigh my vegetables. :-) It's an old post office scale. It works very well too. I love manual scales over digital ones!
Isn't it cute?

 Slice the potatoes and carrots and put them in a largish pot.

Finely shred the cabbage and add to the pot. I added about half of what I had left of my large cabbage head. In the end I think I could have added more, because I didn't realize it would cook down so much.

Pour in a teacup full of lightly salted water (I added about 1 cup) and cook until carrots and potatoes are very tender.

Add 1/2 teacup full of milk (about 1/2 cup) and mash with salt & pepper to taste.

Lovely texture.
The carrots didn't mash up as well as the potatoes, but I liked that it had that chunky texture. 

 Add a pat of margarine or butter to each serving and serve right away.
This Wartime Champ was an awesome accompaniment to the corned beef and green beans we had for our Irish dinner. I had gravy to pour over it too instead of the butter. We were having guests for dinner and I was worried the recipe wouldn't be enough, but it served four adults and 2 children well with a bit leftover for my husband's lunch the next day. 

As for how it went with everyone - all the adults liked it well and our son asked for three helpings! I was really surprised by that. With regular mashed potatoes he would only eat them with ranch dressing. He ate this Wartime Champ plain and loved it. I'd say this recipe was a great success! 

What I liked about this recipe is how it revamps the idea of mashed potatoes. I've never been fond of mashed potatoes, but with the addition of carrots and cabbage it became something interesting and the flavor, I felt, was even better. Just like with mashed potatoes, you could get creative with this recipe. Crumbled bacon comes to mind... :-)

Victory Cookbook
by Margeurite Patten

Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Historian's Decorator Tip

Grand Canyon, AZ
I'm not one to usually give decorator tips, but my husband and I have been planning out how we're going to be redoing our bathroom. I felt I had a neat idea that we both actually agreed on. I have a lot of ideas that I like, but no clue how to execute them in a way that makes the best impact in our home. I'm a bit challenged there, but I have always liked the idea of using antiques or real, original artwork for decorating our home. I just don't like the idea of buying something that hundreds of people have also purchased at one of the big box stores because it's "in style". I guess I've always rebelled against the "in" thing, so it shouldn't really come as a surprise that I feel the same way about decorating in my home.

So, some things I like decorating with are well-executed real oil paintings (yard sale scores!), photographs (mostly my own since it's a hobby), various inexpensive antiques, and lately - vintage postcards.

When thinking of how we'd redo our bathroom, I had thought of a nautical style but it's so overdone, so I scrapped that idea pretty quickly. I really like the textures of iron and rope from the nautical style though, so I tried to think of a way to incorporate those things. Since we live surround by woods, enjoy camping, and my husband has a rich background of scouting, I thought it would be cool to do a vintage scouting theme for our bathroom. My husband loves utilizing his knot-tying skills, so I thought of using a shadow box frame and having different scout knots mounted inside (like you see in nautical-themed decorations). This would serve a dual purpose. Not only would it be cool to look at, but our son will be going into Cub Scouts soon and he'll have a visual to help him remember his knots!

Then came the idea of the vintage postcards. I had seen a vendor at my new favorite antique mall haunt that has thousands of postcards, all nicely organized by state. (You are so awesome, whoever you are!) I thought it would be neat to find vintage postcards from different state parks to frame and put on our bathroom walls. I wasn't sure what I'd find, but I thought it would be fun looking through them. Any excuse to go to the antique mall, right?

Boy, was I surprised by how many stunning vintage postcards there are out there! I tried to go for the ones from the 30s & 40s that look like paintings. I love the colors and how artistic they look. They're all printed on a nice linen-like paper too. I also tried to find ones of places that either my husband or I have visited.

Here's a sampling of what I found. Keep in mind that my camera doesn't really do them justice!

Cedar Breaks, UT; Salt Lake, UT; Petrified Tree Forest, AZ; Mt. Timpanogos, UT

Alpine Loop, UT; Lower Falls, Yosemite National Park; Logan Canyon, UT; Royal Gorge, CO

Hoosac Tunnel, MA; San Fransisco Peaks, AZ; Royal Gorge, CO; Mt. Shasta, CA
We haven't been to any of these places, but the postcards were beautiful.

I was really struck by the beauty of these two:
Stunning colors!
Beautiful, dramatic moonlit scene
And then I found this neat train one:
Rockville Bridge, PA

I was really excited when I studied it a bit closer and found this:
Postmarked 1943, Stamped with "Buy War Savings Bonds and Stamps", with a Statue of Liberty stamp that says "Industry & Agriculture - FOR DEFENSE". WWII stamps - so cool!

 Postcards have turned out to be a really neat way to decorate our old 1900 farmhouse. Mounted on parchment paper with photo sticky tabs, they fit perfectly in 4"x6" frames too! Good thing I still had a bunch of those lying around. :-)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Project 52: Rationing - Week 10 - Cornish Pasties

In honor of yesterday being "Pi" Day, I thought I'd try out a pie for my rationing recipe this week!

I decided on a savory and simple Cornish Pasty out of one of my British rationing cookbooks. I remember the first time I had a Cornish pasty. It was on my way to class when I was doing a study abroad in London back in 2005. We had to walk about a mile from our hostel to our Theater 101 class east of Paddington Station and there was a pasty shop not too far from the theater building. The pasty was delicious with flaky crust and a savory filling. It really is pure comfort food!

Another reason I made meat pasties is because I already made a blueberry pie with crumble topping for Pi Day and I need something non-sweet! There are loads of interesting sweet pie ration recipes, so it's a shame really! I'll just have to try them at a later date.

This week's recipe come from a cool little book which is called Eating For Victory: Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Rations which is a compilation of "reproductions of official second world war instruction leaflets" put out by the British government. Its companion book is Make Do And Mend which is another book of British WWII reproduction leaflets. I highly recommend getting either or both of these books as they are a wonderful addition to your history bookshelf!

Ingredients are simple:
minced raw beef, minced onions, fresh chopped parsley, grated raw potatoes, salt and pepper, and pastry dough of course!
 **Note: I had a bit of a dilemma for the proportions on this recipe. This was going to be for our dinner, and it didn't seem like it would be enough and my husband eats a lot. So to be safe I doubled the ingredients which is what you see in the picture above. If you follow the recipe you won't have nearly as much of the ingredients as in the picture.

Step one - Make and roll out the pastry dough. I made the pastry dough using half National Flour and half all-purpose flour. I imagine it could be made using 100% National Flour and work out just fine. And as I was also under time pressure (This was going to be our Pi Day dinner and it was already 5 o'clock!), I cheated and used my food processor to make the crust. I forgot how fast it is making pie crust in a food processor! It's nice...

I inherited the lovely marble slab from a friend and it is perfect for rolling out pie crust! (Thank you, Lori!)

After rolling out my dough, I used a saucer as a template to cut out pastry rounds. I sat them in a tin pie dish with a sprinkling of flour inbetween each one so they wouldn't stick together. I made a double crust recipe (top and bottom) and ended up with 6 pastry rounds.

 Step two - mix up the filling. Doesn't it look lovely and fresh? Using fresh parsley is essential. I usually use dried herbs because they're easy to keep around, but for this recipe, you really need that fresh herb's oils.

Cornish Pasty filling
I was a little concerned that the filling would be bland. The recipe does call for salt and pepper, but that's it! I pushed ahead with faith in this tried and true recipe that has been made for generations of Brits...

Pastry round with filling. Looking good!

Step three - moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water, fold over, and press to seal.

Step four - Pinch the edge into scallops, or however you're used to doing it.

Step five - Pierce the sides of the pasties and brush with milk or egg. I brushed mine with whole milk.

Pricked pasties brushed with milk

Step six - Bake in a hot oven (I set mine to 400ºF) for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and you can hear the filling bubbling. Keep a close watch so they don't over-brown.

Looking delicious!


Yum! The green parsley stays green and fresh inside which adds just the right amount of color.
I needn't have worried about the pasty tasting bland. It was absolutely perfect! I didn't take into account the meat, potatoes, onions, and parsley cooking in their juices together, blending flavors. The potato acts as a bit of a thickener so any extra juices inside make a teeny bit of gravy, though not much. The flaky crust combined with the lightly salted and peppered filling was awesome. Good ol' Cornish Pasties! How I love you still and I love you even more now that I can make you myself! :-)

The pasties were also very sturdy and would be perfect packing for a lunch or taking on the go. That's how they were designed to be! It's good to see that such a traditional food stayed around through the hardships of the war in England. It's hard to go wrong with a good pasty!

For making these yourself, here's one tip: I used leftover hashbrowns I had in the freezer for my grated raw potatoes. Those were something that the British definitely did not have during the war, but for modernizing the recipe thawed hashbrown potatoes sure make things go faster! I imagine grated carrots would make a nice addition to the filling as well. You could also go all fancy and add chopped mushrooms or leeks...

One final note is that upon looking back over the recipe I realized that it contains this instruction in Step 3: Moisten the edges of the pastry and press them together on top of the filling, making an upstanding edge. I think these were supposed to be baked standing up! I'm trying to think back on when I bought that pasty in London and I can't remember if it was a stand-up kind of pastry. I guess it makes sense to bake them standing up. It adds to their ease of holding or packing for lunches. Oh well! They taste the same either way.

"Making Cornish Pasties"
from Eating For Victory: Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Rations
Cornish Pasties

Short pastry using 8 oz. flour
8 oz. raw minced beef
4 oz. cooked mashed or raw, grated or diced potato
1 onion chopped finely
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

1 - Roll the pastry and cut in large rounds using a saucer or small plate as a guide.
2 - Mix the filling and place some in the centre [sic] of each round.
3 - Moisten the edges of the pastry and press them together on top of the filling, making an upstanding edge.
4 - Pinch the edge into scallops
5 - Prick the sides of the pasties and brush with egg or milk.
6 - Bake in a hot oven (400ºF) for 30 to 40 minutes.

Here's the pastry recipe I used from my Betty Crocker cookbook:

Two-Crust Pie
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup whole wheat & 1 cup all-purpose which adds a nice texture)
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening (I used butter)
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Mix the flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until particles are size of small peas. (The size is really important! I've been lazy about it before and my crust does not turn out as well.)

Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl. (1 to 2 tsp. more water can be added if necessary.) Gather pastry into a ball and knead a few strokes to bring it all together. Use for pasties at this point.

If using a food processor: Measure and set aside 4 tablespoons of water, or 5 Tbsp. if using whole wheat flour. Put the flour, salt, and shortening or butter in the food processor and process, using quick on-and-off motions, until mixture is crumbly. With the food processor running, pour water all at once through feed tube just until dough leaves side of bowl (dough should not form a ball.) Remove and knead a few strokes to bring it all together. Continue with making pasties. This recipe makes for a really nice, smooth dough.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Random Bits
I feel like my blog is being consumed by WWII rationing, but that's not my intention! I have a lot of historical interests and posting once a week is a lot for me, a busy wife & homeschooling mom. It's been good, though, with all I've been learning about rationing. I've also been busily beefing up my American rationing library with amazing primary resources - maybe a little too busily. :-) I've been haunting Ebay lately...

There have been a few non-rationing historical things pop up lately that I thought I'd share. And they are completely different from one another.

1. BBC Coal House - I had no idea there had been another one of these in the BBC House series. 1940's House was my favorite, but this one looks just as fascinating - 3 families transported to a 1927 Welsh coal mining town. You can watch the 1st episode on YouTube here. I'm usually wary of "reality shows", but BBC usually does a good job and they aren't quite as sensationalized as the American counterpart shows.

2. Fort Frederick, MD 18th Century Market Fair - Our first ever Rev War event for us to attend is coming up next month! I am really excited. It's only about an hour away and it will be the perfect chance for us to meet up with a couple of units to see which one we might like to join. We won't be going in costume. I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on myself. The school year will be winding down and April is going to be a very busy month! The most exciting thing is that I heard this is the event to go to because all the sutlers (vendors) will be there selling 18th century wares. Hooray! It's also very affordable (unlike Gettysburg which was ridiculous).

3. Bomb: The Race to Make - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon - I'm currently reading this book. It's by Steve Sheinkin, and I have been pleasantly surprised by how readable and fascinating this story is. The cover has a depiction of the Enola Gay, one of the planes that dropped one of the atomic bombs. Seeing that plane in person gave me the willies, but I have never read an account of how the atomic bomb transpired. It's really fascinating!

That's it for now until this week's rationing recipe!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Project 52: Rationing - Week 9 - Crumb Wafers

"Magic!" Cookbook
by Borden advertising Eagle Brand Sweetened
Condensed Milk, ca. approx. 1930
You might be surprised to learn that this week's ration recipe for Crumb Wafers comes from a 1930s cookbook published by the dairy company Borden. Am I cheating, you ask? I don't think so, and here's why. A disadvantage of looking back on history from today is that we tend to look at periods of time in a static way - of one moment standing still. Many times it's just easier to comprehend that way, but history has much more depth and richness. Different seasons of social customs, fashions, language, technology, and even recipes ebbed and flowed into each other in the past just as much as they do today. 

So, for example, let's say you were born in the mid-1930s. Your mother had been baking these Crumb Wafers from a cookbook she had acquired before you were born. Then along comes WWII. People didn't necessarily stop making all the foods they made before. Of course they tried new recipes and time-saving techniques in the kitchen, but no doubt they also adapted recipes they loved and enjoyed for rationing or continued to use recipes that worked well with rationing conditions. 

And that was my whole point for choosing this recipe for Crumb Wafers this week. The recipe is circa approximately 1930 (judging by what the women are wearing and their hairstyles pictured in the cookbook), and yet it fits really well into the rationing era of WWII. I really like this cookbook. It was a rare antique shop find and I felt very fortunate to stumble upon it.

This cookbook was a product of a contest put on by Borden. They asked American women to submit their recipes featuring Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk with the chance at winning cash prizes. The book then unfolds various "magic tricks" using the "amazing sweetened condensed milk!!" I love the fun headings for the cookbook (which is more like a magazine):

"These recipes take the CUSS out of custards!" haha!

"Sauces made in a twinkling!"

"Who said ice box cakes are hard to make?" I don't know!

"Even a timid bride can make these pies and tarts!" (It's true. These recipes are really easy!)

"Cakes and cookies that almost make themselves!"

"Beverage secrets that save you time, or trouble, or money... or all three!" What a relief!

Haha! Isn't history so much fun? The cookbook also makes reference to a woman named Jane Ellison who gave frequent morning radio broadcasts in the 1930s featuring "Magic Recipes". It appears she was a representative of Borden as she promotes their product at the back of my cookbook with some helpful advice. I do believe the advertisement below is for my very own cookbook - "Magic in the Kitchen". Haha! I just find it perfectly thrilling when I find these little matches of ad & booklet!

McCall's Women's Magazine
May 1930

Now, on to the recipe!
A really cool thing about it is that it only has four ingredients! Isn't simplicity just lovely? 

Graham cracker crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, shredded coconut, and egg whites
Nutmeats can be used to replace the coconut.

Combine the sweetened condensed milk, graham cracker crumbs, and shredded coconut.

I thought it made a nice looking dough! It tasted yummy too... :-)

Whip up egg whites to stiff peaks.

And then "fold" the egg whites into the batter - easier said than done!
The batter was really thick and sticky which isn't very conducive to gently folding in egg whites.
It took awhile with a bit of spoon jabbing, but I got the job done! 

The dough is very thin after folding in egg whites.
The recipe says to spoon the dough onto wax paper, but I used parchment paper.
The wafers spread out a bit.
The recipe says it makes 2 dozen cookies. 
Nice and golden brown!

Crumb Wafers
These cookies were... interesting. You bite into one and the flavor gets you thinking about coconut macaroons (which is what they are essentially), but the texture is much softer and a bit bready in a way - not crunchy and chewy like you'd expect. They weren't my family's favorite, but the flavor is very pleasant with the subtle graham cracker flavor mixing with the coconut. The texture is just something to get used to. My husband thought the texture reminded him of pumpkin cookies. They are very sturdy too, so shipping them overseas could have been a good option for these little guys. 

To be honest, you might want to skip the egg whites and even the baking and just eat the dough! The dough was seriously good. I'm happy I tried the recipe. It was unlike any cookie recipe I had ever seen!