Depression (Era) Food

Yes, I know. The word of the hour is recession but, frankly, I don’t know the difference. Nor do I much care, since I’ve never had much money to lose anyway.

I do, however, smell a trend.

On Tuesday, my cousin Stephanie sent me an odd little collection of cookbooks from the 1930’s– all three of them product-related (Heinz 57, Royal Baking Powder, and Crisco). They made me giddy. And then, out of nowhere, my friend Lyle hands me a book called Cheerio! — a cocktail book from 1930. Published in New York in total contempt for the Volstead Act. If ever there was a time one needed a drink, it was the 1930’s. Unless it was the 1940’s, of course.

On Wednesday, Amy Sherman commented that online traffic to low-cost ingredient recipes has nearly doubled in the past three months.

And yesterday? While soaking in a bathtub full of gin before work, I noticed, as I flipped through the pages of Saveur magazine, that this month’s issue is featuring items like Mock Apple Pie, Rabbit Stew, and pasta, pasta, pasta.

In case, you didn’t know, that’s poor people food.

Is the American mindset taking a turn towards the cheap? I think this will be rather fascinating to watch. History repeating itself often is. If one doesn’t mind reruns, of course.

In the meanwhile, I think I’ll just pour myself a Cholera Cocktail, put a little Al Bowlly on the Gramophone, and wait for all this anxiety explode into a delicious panic.

Have a lovely weekend.

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About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
This entry was posted in Books I Love and Loathe., Liquids, Rants and Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Depression (Era) Food

  1. Anne says:

    I adore these old books and have far too many myself. My mother collected old Rumford cookbooks and the like before passing them on to me. I have a cookbook with a “wartime rations ” section – fascinating if not a tad eyebrow raising!

  2. carrie says:

    How fun. My neighborhood is having a progressive dinner of sorts, and each year it is a different theme. This year it is “Brother Can you Spare a Dime”. I am on the cocktail committee and I can’t wait to find some good recipes!
    I love your cookbooks!

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