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Easy chocolate cake recipe (with a little history thrown in)




When many of us we were children, our very own “tightwad” parents were feeding us mountains of carrots and green leafy veggies onto our plates as an inexpensive and easy way to ensure we’d have healthy vision as we grew. But, like Popeye and his can of spinach, some of these tales were bit far fetched. Was eating plenty of carrots, full of essential vitamins and nutrients for health and strong eyesight, the really the right path to perfect 20/20 vision?
Look at it this way (ha ha), when some of our grandparents were coming of age during WWII, countries were experiencing government-mandated food shortages. War rations included basic necessities such as sources of dairy and protein.
As households were struggling to make do without their usual amounts of these ingredients, the government war machine released a story like this one, about an RAF fighter pilot nicknamed “Cat Eyes,” for his propensity to shoot down enemy aircraft at night (19/20 of which were downed were in the dark). This campaign was likely released to be effective on a number of different levels: It promoted the Victory Garden movement, (but that is a different post for another time). Carrots and other leafy green vegetables could help children and adults see in the dark, and that vegetables contain sugar, missed during the time of war rations. By doing so, eating more carrots would be seen as helping the war effort. 
Meanwhile other sources of sustenance were utilized as households dealt with the allocated war rations. Who hasn’t heard of apple pie made with crackers instead of apples? They used restrictions as opportunities to create new recipes that helped to ease the pain of having no sugar or chocolate.
Here is an easy chocolate cake recipe that doesn’t require eggs or milk. 
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (it reacts with the soda and makes the cake fluffier)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cold water 
Combine dry ingredients into a non-greased 13 x 9” baking pan. Make three small “wells” into the dry ingredients with the back of a spoon, one larger than the other two. Into the largest one, pour in the measured vegetable oil. In the other two, measure and place vinegar into one and the vanilla extract into the other. Pour two cups of cold water over the mixture and combine with a fork. Bake at 375o for about 30 to 40 minutes. Check that it’s baked with a toothpick inserted into the centre and when it comes out clean - take it out to cool. Frost if you like but it’s great by itself.

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