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Old 05-23-2020, 03:47 PM
 
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My mother and father had grandparents with farms so they ate many fresh vegetables and fruits in season. I do remember my grandmother canning and seeing the neat rows in her cellar. My mother would help but never canned on her own. On the farm there would be a huge spread on Sunday after church with ham, chicken, veggies and pies.

My grandfather had a beautiful garden with carrots, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, rhubarb, pumpkins and watermelon. He would carve our initials in the latter two and it was fun to watch them grow. He also had a grape arbor.

My mother cooked in the 1940s and 1950s much as her mother had. Grandma also had a can of bacon grease next to the stove and shortening was used for pie crusts. My BH&G cookbook from 1970 has many recipes in it with shortening.

Mom made about 10 dishes in rotation - meat loaf, salmon loaf or patties, macaroni and cheese, goulash, pork chops, creamed tuna and peas over toast (ick), spaghetti, tuna casserole, baked chicken, and a roast with mashed potatoes for special occasions.

There was usually a side salad with iceberg lettuce and exactly two slices of tomato. It was a huge treat when she made French fries from scratch. We had fresh peaches, strawberries and blueberries in season for dessert, sometimes in a shortcake with real whipped cream.

One thing my mother never did was fry fish in the house as she didn’t like the odor. We always went out on Fridays for a fish fry.

I remember making lasagna as a newlywed for my parents (early 1970s) and they had never eaten it before.
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Old 05-23-2020, 04:11 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Originally Posted by nmnita View Post

I will add though, we did not actually have delivery meals at all and we lived in the city. We did have the milk man and the bakery truck that came around every few days and we had Jewel Tea guy who sold non parishable items likes canned goods and jello, etc.



In NJ, our milk man was around until the early 70's...all of our dairy came from him and i would always get a little chocolate milk from him.



I also remember (and this was true for many decades in the city), you got your meat and veggies and fruits from various markets all lined up along one area of town, and a bakery for bread.... you went to a small "corner store" for staples not sold at one of those places...
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Old 05-23-2020, 04:23 PM
 
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My parents grew up during that period and talked a lot about the food. On weekdays, breakfast was various cooked cereals in winter and cornflakes or rice crispies in summer, with whole milk and sugar, or sometimes eggs and toast with homemade jam or honey. They often came home for lunch, which was homemade soup, sandwich of homemade bread and peanut butter & jam, or leftovers from dinner the night before. Dinner was meat (hopefully), potatoes, and vegetables from the garden or home canned. Desert was fresh or canned fruit normally.

All bread was homemade, and included regular white bread, cornbread, biscuits, & crackers.

All vegetables and most fruits were homegrown by them or neighbors. They were eaten fresh in season and canned by my grandmothers and the girls for use in winter. They stored the jarred foods in the basement.

They raised rabbits and chickens, and the California side fished in the Pacific.

Sunday dinner was the big meal of the week, hopefully including a roast or chops and homemade pies.

I remember they ate popcorn for snacks, as well as nuts and dried fruit.
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Old 05-23-2020, 05:50 PM
 
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
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I used to collect old cookbooks and one from the 1920s was really interesting. (Too bad I don't have it anymore!)

Many of the recipes in it were for fancy foods because no one probably needed a recipe for an ordinary meal. The recipes they might need to refer to were for a wedding cake or some unusual meal for company.

I can remember the early '50s and foods were plain. In the summer the vegetables were fresh, like beets, carrots, corn on the cob, summer squash, peas, green or yellow beans. Right from the garden and they were boiled to death. Now for the 1940s, of which I am partially guessing but remembering a little bit.

Meat would be hamburgers, meatloaf, sirloin steak, hash. In winter you'd have beef stew or pot roast, both with delicious gravy. Hash was what you made from the Sunday leftover meat when you put it through the meat grinder and mixed it all up with leftover potatoes and onion. We ate hash a lot and it was delicious. On Sunday midday you'd have a big dinner of ham or roast beef or leg of lamb, gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, and some sort of bread like blueberry muffins or banana bread. Whatever was in season, that's what you ate and Sunday dinner was a big deal, a feast and everything was homemade. You would go out and PICK the blueberries for the muffins. (couldn't do that with the bananas though where I lived, lol)

August was corn on the cob and you'd come running from the garden with it to shuck it on the back porch. The water was already boiling. You could have everything in August! Fresh tomatoes, summer squash, pull up a few carrots, fresh everything.

And late August was when they sat around the kitchen table and canned everything. I mean they shucked the peas, they peeled whatever needed to be peeled. It was a big deal and a neighbor or two would come over and they'd all work together to make it more fun. Even as hot as August was, they still had to use a gigantic enamel canner with boiling water to sterilize the food in the canning jars. Those jars of food would be stored in the basement for winter.

Back to what people ate, they had cold cereal for breakfast along with fresh orange juice. They had these mechanical juicers that would squeeze the juice out into a glass. There were also small glass reamers. There was fresh milk for the cereal and cream for the coffee because the milk was delivered every few days and it came with the cream on the top. You had to shake the milk bottle (glass quart size) really hard if you didn't want globs of (not sweet) cream in your nice cold glass of milk.

For breakfast lots of people also had bacon and eggs. Eggs were cooked in all sorts of ways but nothing fancy, just poached, hard or soft boiled, sunny side up, scrambled. I don't think there were too many omelets, just plain eggs. In winter, people still ate eggs but they ate hot cereal like oatmeal or Cream of Wheat or Cream of Rice instead of cold cereals. Cinnamon toast was popular. Hot tea or coffee to go with it. On weekends when there was more time, breakfast could be waffles or pancakes with real maple syrup. (none of this was store-bought. You made it--flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, etc.))

Lunch was sandwiches and soup, usually. Soup in winter, not in summer. Sandwiches were bologna with cheese, peanut butter and jelly, tuna fish, and grilled cheese. We also had melted Velveeta cheese over saltine crackers.

Meals always included dessert. For a weekday supper it was canned peaches or canned pears or canned fruit cocktail. Sometimes it was jello or chocolate or butterscotch pudding or even rice pudding or tapioca, sometimes home made angel cake. For Sunday dinner it was pie--blueberry, apple, lemon meringue, usually based upon what was in season or what was available. Freshly baked.

Snacks were homemade chocolate chip cookies or home made chocolate brownies, pop corn if you could get dad to pop it over the stove at night. We didn't have ice cream but we could go and buy popsicles. If you wanted ice cream, you might go and get an ice cream cone on the weekend.

Here, from a 1940s cookbook is a typical meal and this sounds like what we really used to eat:
Breakfast-orange juice, French toast, milk (children) coffee (adults). Lunch-vegetable hash, bread and butter, leftover gingerbread, tea (adults), milk (children.) Dinner-Cold meat loaf, crusty fried potatoes, creamed turnips, bread and butter (children.)

^^^They are right--we did have a slice of bread and butter with dinner. That was for a minimum cost diet. For a moderate cost diet, they had dessert after dinner: tapioca pudding, next day is leftover tapioca pudding with canned fruit, next day is spiced apples, next day is oatmeal cookies.

They ate according to what was in season. No one ate corn on the cob in the winter. No one ate ice cream in the winter either. No one bought a chocolate layer cake, you just made it. In winter you ate hot foods and in summer you ate more cold foods. Nothing much, if anything, came out of a box.

It was probably kind of bland and I don't remember the hamburgers being very tender or juicy. We had macaroni and cheese a lot, made from Velveeta. People almost seemed to worship Velveeta cheese. We never had salads but they probably did in other parts of the country. Being in New England, we ate hearty stuff, not "rabbit food." By the late '50s and definitely into the '60s food starting turning into junk. That's when tv would advertise fake foods--hamburger helper or the idea of using canned soups to make casseroles. Frozen vegetables came along, probably late '50s--really changed the way we ate and that was for the better.

(Special foods were home made deep fried french fries and my mother kept a fire extinguisher nearby, baked custard for when you were sick, gorgeous baked chocolate "pudding" which was really dense globs of chocolate batter baked into home made chocolate sauce and served with home made whipped cream, cream puffs filled with (creamy baked custard?), and in the dead of a snowy New England winter, Sugar on Snow. Fresh real snow from the backyard with hot maple syrup poured over it.)

Looking back, they/we didn't eat that great, especially during the winter when there wasn't any fresh food, and we ate a lot of sugar and fat. People did get heart attacks a lot but I never knew anyone with type 2 diabetes! That's got to come from something else because we ate sugar like it was going out of style. However, we ate real food, no frankenfood. We did cook with Crisco shortening (bad) and we did eat margarine (bad.) Butter was for rich people, most of the time.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
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Originally Posted by Natural510 View Post
All sounds lower in saturated fat, certainly lower in preservatives and artificial flavors than what we have now. And the older people I know, including my deceased grandparents, all eat/ate smaller portioned meals. All of which explains why they were all much slimmer than in the present day...
lol...nah, they used lard in cooking. Forget the light stuff. Plus the older generations would eat an entire animal. pigs feet, head cheese, bone marrow... Remember, Crisco was originally the healthier version.

Of course, many worked in manual jobs as well....with a lot more movement than we heaving our 4 lb laptops of today.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:40 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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My father (an older Dad) often mentioned how lucky we were not to live in the Depression, and I'm guessing a staple of his diet during the Depression was potatoes. At Christmastime, we kids were treated to lots of Christmas gifts, and my Dad would always tell us how he was lucky to get an apple in his stocking when he was young. He wanted us to have what he had never enjoyed.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Canned vegetables were cheaper, too. I grew up on meat, potatoes, and a vegetable also. Once in a while we would have rice or those wide, flat egg noodles instead of potatoes. The noodles were good with gravy.

I think I was an adult before I ever tried macaroni and cheese. That's not something my mother ever made. I probably wouldn't have eaten it anyway. I didn't start to like cheese at all until adulthood. I was shocked that my daughter liked cheese as a toddler because I thought that was something kids just didn't eat.

We sometimes had cinnamon toast for breakfast. That was toast with margarine (which we called butter, but it wasn't) sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Otherwise, cereal and milk or chocolate Instant Breakfast. Sometimes on weekends my mother would make eggs for breakfast.

I had cinnamon toast this week! There is a trend around here for fancy cinnamon toast. The fave fancy variation I had from a restaurant I like has orange zest!
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Originally Posted by SFBayBoomer View Post
My father (an older Dad) often mentioned how lucky we were not to live in the Depression, and I'm guessing a staple of his diet during the Depression was potatoes. At Christmastime, we kids were treated to lots of Christmas gifts, and my Dad would always tell us how he was lucky to get an apple in his stocking when he was young. He wanted us to have what he had never enjoyed.
My mom loved getting oranges in her Christmas stocking. And tangerines I think as well.

My mom also was weird and loved taking castor oil, because it was followed with an orange slice.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:58 PM
 
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
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Originally Posted by artillery77 View Post
lol...nah, they used lard in cooking. Forget the light stuff. Plus the older generations would eat an entire animal. pigs feet, head cheese, bone marrow... Remember, Crisco was originally the healthier version.

Of course, many worked in manual jobs as well....with a lot more movement than we heaving our 4 lb laptops of today.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I had cinnamon toast this week! There is a trend around here for fancy cinnamon toast. The fave fancy variation I had from a restaurant I like has orange zest!
Crisco and lard were definitely what they used. My mother had one of those huge cans of Crisco in the cupboard at all times. They were big on animal food--the whole animal because you didn't want to waste anything.

I don't think it was so much the manual jobs because in the '50s I never knew any adults who worked at manual jobs. They worked in offices. They just weren't fat. The portions were normal, not supersized like today's, we didn't eat ice cream or junk food very often, we rarely drank soda. People ate real food, not fast food or food that came out of a box. We had three regular sized meals a day and fruit or something else simple for dessert. We also never ate out in restaurants.

As for cinnamon toast-yum! We used to just make toast and spread it with "butter" and then sprinkle it with cinnamon-sugar, but later I learned that you can bake it or broil it in the oven and it comes out really scrumptious. (I'm talking about ONE slice of toast. Probably today, people need around FIVE slices of toast, lol.)
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:40 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
My mom loved getting oranges in her Christmas stocking. And tangerines I think as well.

My mom also was weird and loved taking castor oil, because it was followed with an orange slice.
Speaking of oranges, when we had a headache, my Mom would crush an aspirin in a teaspoon and then squeeze some juice from an orange into it for us to swallow.
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