August 07, 2006

B-V Meat Extract

Wilson & Co. was once one of the most successful meatpackers in American history. One of the products they began selling in the early 1940's was Wilson's B-V, a concentrated paste of meat juices and vegetable flavorings.

Wilson's B-V was most likely welcomed by wartime cooks who were wrestling with meat rationing, sugar rationing and other shortages brought on by World War II.

B-V could be dissolved in water and used to add more meat flavor in recipes for casseroles, stews, gravies, salads and other dishes that might otherwise be suffering from a shortage of meat or an absence of any meat at all. (See Bread and Gravy below.)

Wilson & Co. held a recipe contest and in response received thousands of consumer entries with recipes that used B-V as an ingredient. There were 1,036 winning recipes and 36 of them were tested and presented in a small recipe booklet called Home Makers Prize Recipes (circa 1940s, 48 pp).

George Rector, a cookbook author and famous restauranteur was a Food and Nutrition Consultant for Wilson & Co. He puts his endorsement of the product in the front of the booklet.

Besides the 36 recipes there are also several Kitchen Helps, which were quick uses for Wilson's B-V. Three of them are below:
  • Pep up hash, next time, with Wilson's B-V. Two teaspoons of B-V for 2 cups of ground beef and 4 cups of potatoes is about right.
  • Water that vegetables are cooked in is rich in vitamins and minerals. Store a jar of it in your refrigerator and when you have enough use it in making a delicious B-V boullion. Just heat and add dissolved B-V to taste. Serve hot with crackers or croutons.
  • Add Wilson's B-V to tomato juice cocktail. 2/3 cup tomato juice, 1/3 cup iced water and 1 tsp. Wilson's B-V dissolved in 1 tbsp. hot water makes 2 or 3 tasty servings. Equal parts of tomato juice and sauerkraut juice with 1 tsp. B-V per cup of cocktail juice is equally delicious. Oh, really?

The last page of the booklet shows four other Wilson's "Certified" canned products: MOR, Wilson's Chili Con Carne, Wilson's Corned Beef Hash and Wilson's Deviled Ham.


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