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Old 05-22-2020, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
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My mother, and her many siblings, grew up share cropping on a farm in the rural south. They mostly went into "town" for staples like flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, coffee, etc. Other than that, they ate off what they got of the farm. Chickens and their eggs, pigs (and when they slaughtered a pig, they are ALL parts that were edible), milk from their cow, and berries, fruits and vegetables, often canned by my grandmother.

My grandmother made biscuits twice a day, for both breakfast, and "dinner" which is what we think of as lunchtime, the midday meal (there was no "lunchtime "term" used in the south for decades ). Breakfast and "dinner" were he big meals - they needed the energy in the morning and at midday to work the farm. The last meal of the day, "supper", was usually lite, leftover biscuits with a little ham or liver pudding, or jam, or often, cornbread and milk (with the cornbread being crushed up and eaten in the milk, sort of cereal style.

Sundays after church was the biggest meal of the weak, and this was where desserts, usually not prepared during the week, entered the meal. Mostly sheet cakes and pies. In the later 1940's, gelatin desserts started entering the scene. Usually made in some kind of fancy mold!
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
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Oh, I forgot to add that my grandmother churned her own butter. The butter went into small wooden butter molds and it made a little flower imprint on top of the butter. We still have a couple of these, and cherish them, along with the long wooden bowl she used to roll out her biscuits.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:34 AM
 
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My in-laws, mostly English stock from the Silent Generation, grew up during this period. Their families were factory working-class, small town store owners, as well as middle-class academics in the semi-urban New England and Mid-Atlantic regions.

In addition to the foods already mention (home grown fresh or canned seasonal vegetables), they ate traditional mincemeat pie (made with venison) for Christmas. A salad/veg of some sort was served at every meal. The academic side being more frugal, drank mostly powdered milk. It was said the lure of fresh milk helped greased the dating wheels when they courted, and FIL could enjoy that rare treat on visits to MIL’s home. They also ate a lot of scrapple.



Quote:
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, 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.
I ate at a Polish restaurant not too long ago, and was served a lard spread - instead of butter- with my complimentary bread. It looked to consist solely of pork lard. Tasty tho.

Yes, that diet is more of a detriment for today’s lifestyle, but back in their home countries the affordable carbs and high fats provided the necessary calories to fuel all their manual labor in the factories and farms; it was needed. However, cabbage, soups, unprocessed animal fats, and potatoes (with skin) are healthy, whole foods when eaten in sensible portions, combined with regular exercise (traditionally through manual work).

Last edited by mingna; 05-22-2020 at 07:51 AM..
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:46 AM
 
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Wow thanks all that contributed! So interesting! I do not miss all that fat but surely miss the lack of so many additives and chemicals. A bag of simple salted potaato chips is filled with countless ingredients today.
And since someone mentioned citrus fruits this is the first thing I remembered: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/lzyCxDYdBhw/hqdefault.jpg

And I wonder if this is supposed to be fondue or just melted butter: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jEQzmlW1V...o%2BDinner.png
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
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
I would take exception to a lot of the dishes described in the food timeline, as they are mostly foods originating from cookbooks and recipe idea sources that are not typical of everyday fare. A lot of them would be regarded as party food or "special" dishes because most people simply couldn't afford to eat like that on a regular basis, nor did they have access to those foods. Also, beef tongue, scrambled eggs and carrots with toasted bread cubes (?), and creamed oysters were not dishes that either my Mother would cook nor my Dad would eat either.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungalove View Post
Also, beef tongue, scrambled eggs and carrots with toasted bread cubes (?), and creamed oysters were not dishes that either my Mother would cook nor my Dad would eat either.
We never had tongue, though my husband's family did. Chicken livers and beef liver (which I hated) was about as far as my mom would go with organs.

One time, though, she made some beef dish with gravy and we were all eating happily when my dad suddenly asked what kind of meat it was. Mom replied, beef heart. Dad was silent for a moment and then said, "You don't have to make that again." And she never did!
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:49 AM
 
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Don't forget that until the Great American Diet Shift that started in the 1970s and is still continuing today, it was commonplace for men in their early 40s to drop dead on the street from heart attacks. A combination of almost every adult smoking, and a diet typically high in fried foods and those prepared with lard.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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My Dad's family were farmhands in Illinois. They lived on farms but did not own them. They grew and raise some of their own food, collected bits that fell off the carts of other farmers, caught catfish and rabbits, picked wild berries and fruits, hunted what they could (mostly doves) when they could afford ammunition, People shared and traded quite a lot. they had very little sore bought/package food except flour. Everyone had chickens for eggs and meat and in good years they might have a pig.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Virginia
5,521 posts, read 2,751,159 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post
We never had tongue, though my husband's family did. Chicken livers and beef liver (which I hated) was about as far as my mom would go with organs.

One time, though, she made some beef dish with gravy and we were all eating happily when my dad suddenly asked what kind of meat it was. Mom replied, beef heart. Dad was silent for a moment and then said, "You don't have to make that again." And she never did!
Ha! Yup, my Mom would never have made beef heart, but she did make delicious beef liver and onions. However, she never cooked it when my Dad was going to be home for dinner, as he absolutely hated it. BTW, I later grew to love beef heart myself, but learned an embarrassing lesson when I microwaved some beef heart casserole leftovers in the company cafeteria. Beef heart and gravy explosion!
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:11 AM
 
1,273 posts, read 761,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post
We never had tongue, though my husband's family did. Chicken livers and beef liver (which I hated) was about as far as my mom would go with organs.

One time, though, she made some beef dish with gravy and we were all eating happily when my dad suddenly asked what kind of meat it was. Mom replied, beef heart. Dad was silent for a moment and then said, "You don't have to make that again." And she never did!

LOL. Ignorance is bliss, and some things are better left unsaid. It’s the reason why when encountering new foods, I eat first, then ask.
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