1940+

Women were busy raising families after WWII, enough to create the baby boomer generation. There was faith in the American economy. Electricity was securely in the kitchen, which made food preservation, food processing, and clean-up easier. Frozen foods and other convenience foods were gaining acceptance in the marketplace. As the decades progressed, women entered the work force and spent less time at home, unwittingly creating a media-influenced generation.

The following articles contain details of this time period:

The Beverly Hillbillies’ Granny cooked possum stew and grits on this stove, and they dined at the pool table.

BBC program “The Supersizers Eat…” with Giles Coren and Sue Perkins recreate the foodways of different time periods:

  • Ancient Rome
  • Medievaldiets based on the 4 humours; religious fasting with fish; meats swimming in sauce; pepper!
  • Elizabethan
  • Restoration
  • French Revolution
  • Regency
  • Victoriandinner service à la française replaced by a la russe; adulterated foods.
  • Edwardianbig meals; weight gain; practical jokes; vegetarians and suffragettes; Fletcherism.
  • 1920sthe desire to be thin; smaller meals; more drinks.
  • 1940sWWII rationing; Victory gardening; foraging; Common-Hall Feeding Centers or British Restaurants.
  • 1950s
  • 1970s – more calories; more fats; alcohol; more walking, dancing and socializing to work it off; don’t talk about the food; packaged foods; fewer meals in the dining room.
  • 1980s

And here’s another British time-line of cookery in video…

Retro Ruth is a sport for re-creating one recipe per week from mid-century modern cookbooks.

Harry & Edna present interactive talks and reenactment videos of rationing in the UK during WWII.

We hear the Mystery Chef’s 1938 biscuit recipe is great. Does anyone have it? Then we can put the following Mystery Chef’s butter on it! The Mystery Chef’s butter recipe is contained within this script of one of his radio cooking shows between 1932 to 1945: You have to register to hear the audio version. Meanwhile, here is a partial script:

[Intro music]
“Good Day! This is the Mystery Chef. Thank you for honoring me by inviting me into your home. And what’s more let me thank you for your very delightful and very helpful letter. As promised, I shall start my little chat on the art of…cooking by giving you the “Butter Stretcher” recipe for the benefit of those who have missed it.

“With butter recently raised to 10 red points, I believe this butter recipe should be in every home in America, and Canada. Letters include the actual praising the recipe are still arriving by every mail. Here are actualy quotations: “The best butter I ever tasted.” “I wouldn’t take a hundred dollars for your Butter Stretcher recipe.” Another: “Now I can give the children all the bread and butter they want without saying, ‘Go easy on the butter.'” Still another: “Your Butter Stretcher recipe has solved my greatest breaking problem, as my family will not use anything but butter at the table. Now they can have it, and they all like it better than the ordinary butter. Thanks a million to you!”

“A thousand of enthusiastic letters have been received. But still there are many who have missed the recipe and have asked that I give it again. There’s countless radio friends who can not find any substitute for butter that they care to use; would rather eat their bread without butter than spread it with any butter substitute. Now, by using the recipe I shall give you now, you can continue to give the children all the enriched bread and butter they should have, to give them the energy they all need, used up in their strenuous play. As a matter of fact we should all eat plenty of enriched bread and butter for needed energy.

“Here’s the recipe. Please listen carefully. It’s a very easy recipe. You’ll have absolutely no difficulty in remembering it, even if you do not have writing materials handy.

“Listen:

“Take half a pound of butter and cream it. Now that means to stir it and stir it with a large spoon until the butter is soft and quite creamy. Then you break a whole egg into the creamed butter and you beat it with a rotary egg beater. Now you can use an electric beater if it has a slow speed. And when the whole egg is beaten into the butter, you warm a half pint of cream to body temperature. Now that is a half pint of light cream. One cup and you heat it only to body temperature. Then you add one tablespoon full of the warm cream to the butter and beat it in. And then add another tablespoon of warm cream and beat it in. Continue to add the warm cream one tablespoon at a time; and you must beat each tablespoon in before you add the next. When all is added the whole mixture will be very soft. Place it in your refrigerator and it will be hard and ready to serve in less than an hour. Okay, so if light cream can not be obtained, then use evaporated milk in place of the cream.

“Butter contains Vitamen A and D. And fresh butter vitamen A, B, C, D and G. Also contains calcium phosphate and iron, The last treatment will be contained in the egg.

“And if you have been using one of the other butter stretcher recipes, such as mixing butter and margarine, or by using gelatine, then compare the butter made by the recipe I’ve just given you, which dairy products only are used. You’ll find it so much better. There really is no comparison!

“Now before I give you my recipe for the day, I think I better say, now a word to all who have asked me to give my “Easy Fruit Canning” recipe….”

You’re going to love these photos from 1939-1943–from poignant New Mexican homesteader’s table to Rosie the Riveter with a lunch box.

Even though the 1970s kitchens were open-concept, women were geared for professional careers outside the home and there was a closed-concept about making meals, except for quick convenience foods. Cooking was a traditional role and it was time to branch out. Branching out commonly meant rejecting the old roles in obvious ways–such as working outside the home and mostly eating in restaurants, or subtle, such as this expressive, almost surreal video of Martha Rosler.

She recites the kitchen items are in alphabetical order.

Design Sponge

by Rena

Design Sponge showcases lovely home designs along with the owner’s quick biography. Here is a vintage kitchen re-creation in West Fulton, New York.