I am very grateful this group of age 70-ish beautiful people (raised in the southeastern u.s.) were willing to answer all my questions and I found they enjoyed reminiscing! These are the haphazard things that popped into their memories.
TV What? The ice man would come in a horse drawn cart (others said a truck) and ask how much ice we wanted; if you wanted a 25 pound chunk (10 cents) he would chip that off and we kids would grab out of the bottom of the truck little pieces of ice as a treat.
The first tiny freezer consisted of a separate metal compartment hanging in the fridge, they kept metal ice trays with the cranking hinge. I remember using those awful metal ice cube trays.
When we all had standard freezers, the TV dinners thereafter arrived. They tasted awful but we loved them anyway – a whole dinner in a metal tray hot from the OVEN…peel parts of the foil back… I liked any of them that had a brownie.
Wheaties, it was there in the box…oatmeal…
Same, some metal cans were there in the pantry…mostly they ate fresh…some didn’t remember eating any canned goods.
The produce man would drive a truck down the street, all the women would come out in house dresses, change purse in hand and buy their produce that way once a week…
hours of shelling various peas and beans on the porch…their parents all canned foods (in glass jars).
Apparently there are places where produce trucks still regularly sell throughout neighborhoods (ie, specific areas in LA and Milwaukee). And I have now joined my 4th CSA. A CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is where you pay a lump sum at the beginning of the summer and get a box delivered once a week to a neighborhood pick up point, this is very helpful to farmers.
Veggies were all cooked to a bacteria free paste in fatback. Mmmm. Autoclave it. Lettuce (always iceberg) for a penny at the store.
There was no broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, spinach, etc. available. Think what was available regionally, the people I spoke with grew up in southeastern u.s.
Very popular every mom was making them. Breads were bought. All stored in the pantry.
One remembers seeing a “pizza pie here” sign hammered to a tree. She asked her dad what is a pizza pie? They did not know. Later she discovered a pizza pie mix in a box and made it for her parents and it tasted terrible.
Soda, Sugary Foods
I remember reading in Sugar Blues that sugar was on the chopping block along with cocaine when soda additives were under legal seige. The sugar industry was able to lobby to stay legal. Imagine our country’s health record if sugar had gone the way of cocaine?
Soda wasn’t available in large containers and was infrequently purchased at all. It was commonly sold at Drugstores…a fountain drawn mix of syrup and sparkling water…a small glass bottle… Ice cream and soda wasn’t convenient to buy or store. Cheerwine was left for Santa Claus.
Me (an aside): Decadance and serving size is redefined – I have a friend who reports he owns a snickers deep fryer.
At some point restaurants started serving huge portions but not of vegetables. Vegetable serving sizes went down or vanished (the only vegetable we have in the restaurant is a potato and that is fried). That influenced the way people defined a normal serving at home.
Think a shower cap over a bowl on the counter. Many things were left unrefrigerated like mayonaise, butter…dishes from a big lunch kept in the “pie safe” (a wooden cabinet)
Meat Sorry it is a little graphic.
Non of those interviewed were farmers, nor were all of their parents farmers. Still they saw their parents kill chickens. That is how far away we are now from a generation that knew what they were eating. Meat was eaten pretty much at every meal (hormone free). Chickens were raised for the sole purpose of putting food on the table. “Mom’s grandad bought and killed a pig in the garage…she’d ring the chicken’s neck…or…she hung them in a row on the clothes line…put the chicken in a pot of boiling water to get the feathers off.”
It is interesting that while baked goods, cookies, cakes, butter, fatty meats and veggies soaked in fatback were common daily experiences, obesity was not. My theory: What was missing was modern refridgeration, huge groceries filled with cheap processed brain chemistry altering synthetics in packaging labeled “food”, mass-marketing, millions of bright soda/candy machines, drive-throughs, and gas stations.
This was fun, some said no one drank and if you did you were going to hell. Others said we got it from people living in the mountains (white lightning). There was classroom instruction teaching kids to be respectful of children whose parents made alcohol, since it wasn’t their fault [that their parents were going to hell]. My gosh. Apparently the baptist church has now decided drinking is not a sin, ok then. The anti-drinking and anti-people who worked for Pabst (for example) sentiment lasted popularly at least in the south into the 60’s when the “abolition” was abolished.
What are your or your parents memories on food?