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Old 05-21-2020, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
29,315 posts, read 20,022,640 times
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A lot of people had food gardens, especially during wartime. So I presume families ate seasonal veggies in the summer, and canned veggies and fruits in the winter.

I was born in 1946. I can barely remember anything pertaining to food. Snacks were bread and Miracle Whip or bread and butter. I remember canned pineapple slices mainly because I disliked their texture. I think my mom liked canned pineapple, which is why it appeared on our dinner table often.

I do dimly remember a milkman delivering milk. The cream at the top of the gallon jugs was reserved for my dad’s coffee. I don’t remember when my parents got a percolator.

My mother did not can or make jam. My dad gardened for a few years, but I don’t remember anything I ate from it.

I think we ate canned veggies. My mother made “salads” with canned fruit. She especially liked canned fruit cocktail.

I have a dim memory of being taken to a dinner cooked and given by an older couple for our small church. It might have been a progressive dinner of some sort. I ate a delicious creamed new potato/green pea dish I thought was delicious. It is literally the only dinner dish I remember eating as a very young child.

I tried to duplicate it several times, but never succeeded.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Buffalo, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HJ99 View Post
Pre WWII still vast majority lived on small farms. They raised and canned good bit of their food. You could hire animals butchered, but most did it themselves. Also "better living thru chemistry" didnt really take hold until 1950s. Pre WWII people in effect ate non-hybrid and organic. Didnt call it that, but...


Remember most rural areas didnt have electricity until after WWII. So unless they had one of those old Servel kerosene refrigerators, at best they might had an ice box.



Now working class city people kinda stuck with what they could afford to buy. They ate more canned meats and like. Read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" if you want an unpleasant tale of the meat processing industry in late 19th and early 20th century before govt got involved. PBS had a documentary on origins of FDA. Probably available free somewhere. Processors put formaldehyde in milk to preserve it. Fun stuff like that. Put it this way the food processing industry wasnt concerned about their customers health. They just didnt have the technology they have today. Greed was rampant back then too.
Just an FYI that urban population exceeded rural population in the US by the 1920 census.

My grandparents were immigrants and all city people before 1920, although one set of my grandparents would leave to pick on the farms during harvest time, but they also had fruits, vegetables, and chickens in their yard in the city. My grandmother and my mother would can fruits and vegetables during the season, either their own or what was shared by others. Of course they ate their own chickens, and usually the cheapest cuts of meat available at the stores, especially organ meat, fatty pork roasts, etc. They would also grind meat to make sausage and hamburger, as they never trusted ground meat that they didn't grind themselves (I only ever ate home-ground hamburger as a kid).

I can't say for sure everything that they ate, but it was primarily Polish or Czech foods - lots of cabbage, potato, dumplings, soups, etc. Lots of baked goods also, nuts, etc. Heavy, fatty, and starchy diet - as were my grandparents.

It can be just as easy to eat unhealthily even without food additives and eating only home grown foods.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:07 PM
 
11,296 posts, read 7,311,858 times
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Originally Posted by RocketSci View Post
Just an FYI that urban population exceeded rural population in the US by the 1920 census.

My grandparents were immigrants and all city people before 1920.
My parents (both born in the 1920s) were also city kids, Chicago. They lived in apartments and had no gardens. If they suffered food shortages during the Depression and WWII, they never mentioned it. I got the impression that their diet was rather unexciting and bland, but not in short supply.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,120 posts, read 33,311,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hey teach View Post
My grandparents talked about eating vegetables out of the garden in the summer. Lots of fried stuff: okra, squash, green tomatoes. My grandmother canned green beans and butter beans, tomatoes, pickles. My grandaddy would talk about having tomato sandwiches for lunch every day when tomatoes were ripe. Eggs were big on their table because they had chickens.
Sounds like my grandma, but less fried stuff!

My mom (born in the late 40s) had a smoker at her house. Her dad cured his own pork making bacon, ham, etc. They had chickens and her mom grew most of what they ate. They got flour from the mill that was a couple of miles up the road. Everything was hyperlocal - they didn't really go to the store because basically everything they needed came from their own property - save milk and flour. My mom's dad was killed in a house fire when she was 8 or 9 (their home burned down) and things changed for her a lot - she was the second to last of 9 kids! My grandma still are some stuff, and relied on various nearby family members to help with some of the gaps. And they started to get more stuff at the store, since they no longer had the resources of their own mini farm.

Mom grew up in rural North Carolina. (Dad in South Carolina)

Grandmas (both sides) kept up their gardens well into their 60s or beyond and grew and canned a lot of stuff. Both had tomatoes, green beans, various beans, various stone fruit trees, watermelons, peanuts, collards, mustard greens, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, okra. That is really all I can remember. But they were pretty well stocked. We'd have to de string the green beans (soooo annoying!). I also really love raw peanuts and it was cool to grab them from the dirt. On dad's side they made boiled peanuts. Blech!!!

Dad's family didn't have more than a garden and chickens, so they went to the store more than mom's family.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Tricity
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According to an Internet search, this is the typical food people ate in the 40's
The Food Timeline: popular American decade foods, menus, products & party planning tips (scroll down to the food in the 1940's) very interesting!!
and 1950's:
Meals in the 1950's - Living Like the Past - gDonna's Generations Before Us
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:57 PM
 
300 posts, read 99,776 times
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Originally Posted by bagster View Post
Bologna and cheese sandwiches were the lunch of choice in my neck of the woods. And fried 'taters, of course.
love those fried 'taters. mmmm mmm
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:00 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
21,487 posts, read 27,332,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
Which Americans?


- upper middle class city dwellers
- working class city dwellers
- upper middle class farmers
- lower class farmers
- GIs at a stateside army base
- GIs on bivouac


etc


???
You bring up a good point. Which Americans? Where?

Both of the families I described, fathers and mothers, were upper-middle class, lived in inner-ring suburbs of a Northeastern city.

Their families had lived in the US for many generations. They were Anglo-German and Dutch.

a couple of meals occurred to me that they used to talk about - chicken fricassee - I am not sure what it was. Maybe a chicken stew? The other was liver, bacon and onions, which both of my grandmothers thought was good for children.

A whole baked chicken for a family of five, seems small for three kids and two grown adults.

Last edited by sheena12; 05-21-2020 at 11:09 PM..
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:00 AM
 
109 posts, read 53,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
Which Americans?


- upper middle class city dwellers
- working class city dwellers
- upper middle class farmers
- lower class farmers
- GIs at a stateside army base
- GIs on bivouac


etc


???
Interested in the bold ones. NYC and LA Americans in particular as well as farm people in flyover states.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
9,540 posts, read 6,007,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natural510 View Post
All sounds lower in saturated fat...
Not at all! Butter, lard, bacon grease, chicken/duck/goose fat were all regularly used in cooking. And pork back then was fattier than it is today; they even had hog breeds specifically selected for their cattiness (for maximum lard production). No one worried about saturated fat back then, and they actually needed the calories.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
77,808 posts, read 94,113,928 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
Not at all! Butter, lard, bacon grease, chicken/duck/goose fat were all regularly used in cooking. And pork back then was fattier than it is today; they even had hog breeds specifically selected for their cattiness (for maximum lard production). No one worried about saturated fat back then, and they actually needed the calories.
I was about to say the same thing: we did not eat healthier then, we may have had more fresh produce, depending on where you lived and hour status: But what so many are forgetting: instead of using a lot of different spices like we do today, people seasoned with lots of butter, bacon fat and they ate more deserts. They ate larger helpings of meat and would cook veggies for hours instead of minutes like we do. We were lucky, living in So. Cal we had a lot of fresh produce almost year around. My mom had a victory garden (a small produce garden) during WW2 while dad was over seas. She also had a dozen hens and sold he eggs to people she knew in the neighborhood as they were rationed and hard to get in the grocery store. She would trade her ration stamps with my grandma for things she needed more of and give Grandma her ration stamp for things like sugar. Grandma baked a lot,mom did not. After the war I remember my parents doing a lot of canning during the summer. We had 9 fruit trees in our yard. Our family was very much middle to upper middle class.Living in a major city was a bit different than spoiled brat's family: They were farmers, ate a lot more really fatty foods and certainly larger servings than we did, but they were also able to burn off calories because of working in the fields and the women working harder in the kitchen.

Of course our meat never came pre-packaged, we did not have frozen anything until the early to mid 50s and our poultry often came with a lot of pin feathers still needing to be plucked. The good thing about most of our foods, they were not filled with a lot of fillers. We did eat some lunch meat. In our family even canned veggies were rare. Mom would go once a week to the Grand Central market in downtown L.A and buy fresh veggies. Daddy would call an order for our weeks meat into his favorite butcher and after mom did the produce shopping she would pick daddy up from work and they would go pick up the meat.
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