Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
The Great Depression brought out both the resiliency and ingenuity of literally millions of people. With few options, people had to make do with what was on hand. Clothes were sewn with spare flour sacks and shoes repaired with cardboard.
Food, however, is where things got really interesting. Some foods were still plentiful and reasonably affordable, but others were scarce. How do you make a full meal when half your ingredients are missing?
You improvise and invent a whole host of crazy foods in the process. Here are some strange meals people ate during the Great Depression—meals we might all be eating again someday. (Most of the list items include a link to the recipe in case you want to try it.)
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1. Creamed Chipped Beef
This is also known as sh*t on a shingle, which sums up the thoughts of those that had to eat it. In a nutshell, it’s dried beef that’s re-hydrated a bit in a sauce made with flour and butter, and then served on toast. All you need is some milk, butter, flour, dried beef, and some pepper and parsley.
2. Corned Beef Salad
So corned beef salad doesn’t sound that bad…until you learn that it’s made with mayonnaise and Jello. Well, gelatin anyway. It’s a mixture of corned beef, eggs, mayonnaise, horseradish, and some vegetables, all held together in a loaf with plain gelatin. Yum…beef jello.
3. Dandelion Salad
These days, the foodie movement has just about everyone open to eating foods foraged from your yard, but back then dandelion salad was just weird. They did it because it was a way to get free food onto the table, and a bit of added vitamins in an otherwise bland depression diet.
4. Egg Drop Soup
Not anything like the egg drop soup you can order in modern Chinese restaurants, this soup started with fried potatoes and then added water. The mixture was brought to a boil, and then scrambled eggs were stirred in while the water was boiling. The whole thing was served over toast. I’m not sure why they didn’t just have eggs, potatoes, and toast, but perhaps the spirit of creativity took hold.
5. Frozen Fruit Salad
This particular dish was considered the ultimate treat for the holidays. There are many variations of this salad, but all have the same basic feel. Start with canned fruit and add whipped cream, eggs, flour, and any manner of other things (marshmallows, nuts, or whatever is available). Freeze the whole thing in trays and then serve.
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6. Great Depression Casserole
During the Great Depression, many people couldn’t afford meats like beef and chicken. So instead, bologna became a common staple. This casserole takes advantage of that by using bologna as the main ingredient. It might not sound that great, but by the time you add chili, cheddar, peppers, garlic, onions, and pork and beans, it becomes absolutely mouth-watering.
7. Hoover Stew
Named after the president that took office right before the crash, Hoover Stew was the name for the cheap slop eaten by residents of shanty towns. Recipes varied, but usually involved hot dogs, canned vegetables, and pasta or macaroni.
8. Ketchup, Mayonnaise or Onion Sandwiches
What do you do when you want a sandwich, but don’t have any meat or cheese to put in it? Put some ketchup between slices of bread and call it good. Mayonnaise sandwiches were also common, and honestly sound a lot better than the last option, plain onion sandwiches.
- Recipe: Put ketchup, mayonnaise, or onion between two slices of bread. Eat.
9. Kraft Mac and Cheese
This one isn’t very strange, but we included it because it was invented during the Great Depression. Kraft mac and cheese was advertised as an exercise in frugality. These days it’s commonplace, and it’s still a cheap way to put calories on the table, but back then a shelf-stable box with powdered cheese replaced a traditional homemade meal full of expensive ingredients like cheese and cream.
- Just buy a box and follow the instructions.
10. Meatless Meatloaf
These days, meatloaf is a simple and relatively cheap weeknight dinner. But how do you make it without ground beef? That’s how it became just “loaf” and it was made out of just about anything put into a loaf pan. Cheap foods like liver, peanuts, and raisins found their way into this catch-all food.
Invented by scientists at Cornell University in 1933 when they were looking for inexpensive ways to feed the masses, it’s a gruel made from dried powdered milk and cornmeal. Other variations like milkwheato (using wheat instead of corn) were also invented and were just as appetizing.
12. Mulligan Stew
This stew was invented by the homeless. They would put a big pot over a campfire, and everyone would contribute whatever food they had on hand—-meat, potatoes, bread, onions, rice, tomatoes, and so forth. Sometimes they would even add lint or sawdust to make it more filling.
13. Mock Apple Pie
How do you make an apple pie without apples? It turns out there are a number of ways. One popular recipe involved stuffing a pie crust with Ritz and then covering them with cinnamon, butter, and sugar syrup. Other recipes substitute fruits or vegetables, like this mock apple pie made with zucchini.
14. Peanut Butter Stuffed Onions
Actually recommended by home economics teachers, peanut butter stuffed baked onions found its way onto tables during the Great Depression. Basically, you just bake an onion, then scoop part if it out, and replace with a scoop of peanut butter. You won’t be surprised when I tell you it wasn’t very popular.
15. Poor Man’s Meal
A mixture of hot dogs and potatoes, poor man’s meal was actually quite tasty. Potatoes were fried with onions until browned, and then chopped hot dogs were added. My grandmother made this for me as a child, and my mother had her own version, substituting kielbasa for the hot dogs, which made it much tastier.
16. Potato Pancakes
Potatoes were one of the most widely available foods, and they found their way into many dishes. Simple potato pancakes are some of the more appetizing ways they were eaten. They were made either by frying mashed potatoes or by binding grated potatoes together with flour and eggs.
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17. Prune Pudding
Actually served at the White House as an act of solidarity with “the people who are suffering” in the streets, prune pudding is a simple mix of boiled prunes, sugar, and cornstarch. Sometimes seasoned, sometimes not, prune pudding had to fill in for dessert. It was generally served in small dishes, to prevent disastrous prune related consequences.
18. Red Velvet Cake
These days you can find red velvet cake recipes on fancy food blogs, but back then it was a cheap way to make an “almost” chocolate cake. Substituting vegetable oil for real butter, and using almost no cocoa, what the cake lacked in flavor it made up for in color.
19. Spaghetti with Carrots and White Sauce
Eleanor Roosevelt herself recommended this dish for the frugal cook. It involved a casserole made out of intentionally overcooked mushy spaghetti and boiled carrots, covered in a pasty white sauce made from flour and butter.
20. Vinegar Pie
Though mock apple pie was one option, other pie recipes tried to get a “fruit pie” feel by substituting the tartness of fruit with vinegar. The dessert was made with a pie crust filled with butter, flour, sugar, and vinegar. Sounds horrible to me, but I guess it can’t be that weird, even Martha Stewart has a recipe.
Know of any other strange meals people ate during the Great Depression? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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#6 What wrong with this?
I’ve made Pickle Sandwiches. Cheese Sandwiches. BLT Sandwiches hold the B.
Patricia Dilgard says
Stouffers tv dinners still sell creamed chipped (dried beef). Vinegar pie is an old Amish recipe still found in Amish cookbooks. Potato pancakes. Sheesh. I guess you haven’t had any contact with any Jews. Known as Latkes they are eaten every Hanakah all over the world. People in rural areas ate lots of game, including squrrel, opposum, javelina
Mustard and onion sandwiches with a litt.e sugar sprinkled on it. Hunger knews no bounds.
As a child, when my siblings were eating bologna & cheese for lunch which I despised (made me gag!), I’d ask for an onion sandwich: 2 slices of bread, buttered of course, and a nice thick slice of raw onion right in the middle. Delicious!!
#13. If you have any Jewish neighbors than you know what Latkes are. Potato pancakes.
You mean “THEN” not than.
Also an Irish staple, potato farls. Really tasty if you have a bit of butter. But definitely a dish that came out of poverty.
I have had some of these on this list, one my grandmother used to make was a Butter and Milk soup with potatoes and green beans.
When i eat it now i find it hard not to just add meat, it a big staple on out homestead,
We call it potato soup and I love it. I also still love dried beef gravy.
My grandmother used to make this potato and bean soup. Delish! I used to know a lady who would thicken the milk part slightly, not as thick as milk gravy but not watery like plain milk.
another meal that was made was fried okra, corn and tomato with left over cornbread in butter, sauté just for a few mins and your meal was ready to eat.
Mary in mn says
These were things my grandma made, then my mom and now me. Something to pass down.
I’m 70 now and I still like these foods. We had a big garden and my mom canned or pickled everything. She made the best sauerkraut.
Foods we ate and liked:
Creamed peas on toast,
spaghetti with butter, sugar and cinnamon (it’s good with any pasta)
Lime jello set with shredded carrots with miracle whip on top ( every holiday)
Potato pancakes with butter
Oatmeal, cream of wheat, more oatmeal. I liked it cold with lots of sugar.
And rice pudding.
Another mock apple pie was made with green tomatoes.
Louvenia Adams says
Bless God for You! You’ve made it!!! God promised us all 70 years and you Made It! I Pray that I’m worthy enough to live that long! That’s an accomplishment fr! 37 seem like a hardship for my generation. 🤠🤠🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽
John Harwood says
Corned beef hash… Basically spuds cut scallop-shaped, with sliced onions and cut up corned beef. The CB turns to a gravy, which could be seasoned with beef stock cubes. The edges of the scalloped potatoes, because they are thin will boil away, creating a gravy thickener.
Louvenia Adams says
THIS IS MY FAVORITE DEPRESSION FOOD HANDS DOWN. My grandma was born in the depression 31’ and all my life (37) she moved as if she was still in the depression. Corned beef hash with fried potatoes and onions… HALLELUJAH is all imma say y’all. It’s a stable in my home of 6 sons 😑 to this day and Chipped beef. ANd latke pancakes 🥞 & potatoes cakes was another I haven’t seen.
Lol a large amount of popcorn. Pour about a half a glass of milk. put popcorn in milk ( you would be surprised how much popcorn you can put in your milk) eat like it’s cereal!
crackers and buttermilk, which I still eat
Jerry Catt says
Bacon grease sandwich was common for WPA workers.
Potato pancakes and SOS are not strange meals! I still eat them!
I never heard of SOS other than being signal for help?….LOL.
John Harwood says
Shit On a Shingle…
Mari Favero says
Most of the things on this list is still on my menu.
Exactly. Plus SOS and potato pancakes have been around longer than the great depression.
Randy Painter says
Hamburger Gravy is made by browning about 1/2 lb hamburger, then add about a table spoon of flour, and let that cook until it is really, really brown (under cooked is pasty) then add cut up potatoes and add water to top the potatoes, boil until the potatoes are soft. Stir and serve with sliced onion. I think that’s an old Kansas recipe from the depression.
Here in Canada we call it hamburger stew and it’s a favourite. Sometimes add peas too. Yum!
Randy Painter says
What about good old pinto (brown) beans and corn bread? Called “poor man’s steak” because the combination is a more complete protein. I love that meal today with a slice of onion. Add some spinach and I’m in heaven. That is a pre, to post depression meal. Very filling and satisfying.
Beans and cornbread, the best. Company over we would have fried potatoes, green or diced onions. And chow. Chow. But the best. Chocolate. Gravy and biscuits. I can still taste them.
Kathy Davis says
Stewed tomatoes and rice. Macaroni and tomatoes. Creamed tomatoes. Tomato sandwiches. Ketchup sandwiches. Sweet pickle sandwiches. Cucumber sandwiches. Onion sandwiches. Potatoes every which way, every meal. This is what I grew up on. We had a garden and we ate what we grew. I like this food.
My mom used to cook macaroni with just barely enough water to cook it, add a can of tomatoes with the juice, a little milk and a pat of butter. If there was any left, she would bake it as a casserole with some cheese in it for the next night.
Louvenia Adams says
YOU WERE WEALTHY BOO. You ate what You grew, I WISH! I can’t get my babies to water my plants right now. Your parents would be considered GANGSTA right now! Great 👍🏽 Roots
Growing up my mom made creamed hamburger regularly. Brown hamburger chopped with all purpose flour in a pan and add milk. Later when I became a mom, I added carrots and peas to the mixture. My daughter now takes that same mixture and puts it in a pie crust to make shepherds pie with beef gravy! This was a great article and thanks to all who also shared their families recipes.
My grama made elbow macaroni with pork and beans from the can. Left enough water in the macaroni to make a sort of broth once she added the beans. Salt and pepper was added. Sometimes garlic or onion powder. Very cheap meal. My kids ask for it and have figured out how to make it in their dorms in college.
We call that Weiner stew same thing with sliced hotdog’s
Terry R says
Our weiner stew was some chopped weiners about 3/4 inch long browned a little, removed from the pan then about 4 tbls of dark roux made in pot. Some water added and simmered till oil separated and came to surface. Then chopped onion and potatoes (waxy type) and an optional turnip added along with hot dogs. Cook till veges are done and serve over rice.
Onion sandwiches and tuna noodle casserole were weekly staples when I was growing up. Potato pancakes are a treat for me, served with plenty of sour cream… Yum!
My dad shared with me that his mom would gather some type of “weed” and boil that and then make a gravy by frying lard and flour and adding that. Beans were added during the summer or dried beans during the winter but if nothing else was available, it was just weed soup. He said the kids used to pick out the weeds and just eat the gravy. I guess some of this wisdom that people from the “old country” has been lost as to what are edible things growing in the wild. Too bad. If we are plunged into another depression, a lot of people have no idea how to plant a garden let alone save seeds for the following year or how to hunt or fish!! Doubt we would make out as well as people back then. Too used to fast foods and packaged goods!!
Mickey Key says
My mother made the best biscuits and if we were lucky enough to have any leftover, we made a sandwich with mustard and sliced onion. A moneysaver was cream gravy with scambled eggs added, biscuits and gravy, fried potato sanwiches, beans and cornbread, an egg and a bit of flour added to leftover mashed potatoes which were shaped into patties for potato pancakes. My MIL loved stewed tomatoes and macaroni with a bit of butter and sugar. I could go on and on, but these are things I still love and NEVER feel deprived:)
Patricia Thomas says
My daddy always had a garden and we considered it a grand treat to get a vine ripened tomato and miracle whip on white bread. Fresh yummyness!
My uncle ate saltine crackers and milk and my dad said that they would shoot sparrows and my grandmother would make spaghetti sauce out of it. She was an immigrant from Italy and my grandfather died during the depression and left her with 10 children. She didn’t speak English, let alone have a job.
My mother would cook up tomatos, ground beef and green beans, that she learned growing up in the depression in Iowa in the late 30’s
Mary Burt says
What is so strange about these foods, ate them all my life. Raied by grandparent who lived thru the depression and was still poor after.
MARY SMITH says
No-one has mentioned Poor Man Gravy, homemade biscuits, and chocolate syrup. My family ate many a meal of nothing but this. To make the gravy, you start with meat drippings if you have any; we didn’t, so mama used lard (Crisco). Add about a quarter cup of flour, and stir over medium heat until it is the brown that you prefer. Do not mistake this for white gravy. It is anywhere from tan to dark brown, according to preference. When it is the color you want, add salt and black pepper to taste and water. Turn heat down and cook til desired consistency. Chocolate syrup is simply Hershy’s cocoa powder, white sugar, and water, cooked down to syrup consistency. Mama’s biscuits were nothing like the canned or frozen variety most people today know, but those will serve in a pinch. Split open a biscuit and pour chocolate syrup over both halves and enjoy. You will think you died and went to heaven. Usually, the gravy goes on the plate, and you pinch off bites of biscuit and “sop” it in the gravy. Modern diets have destroyed our digestive systems, so this is almost never eaten these days, but I still give it a go once every two or three years, just for memories’ sake. And bless my mama every time. Yes, we were poor, but we were never hungry.
by the time I was born, the depression was over, but my parents still were not rich. My dad hunted and fished, my mom foraged. I have dire memories of snapping turtle soup, bear meat burgers and loafs, venison, wild mushrooms, wild raspberries, stuffed buffalo carp…all kinds of goodies. I wish I could have some of these today. I wouldn’t know how to cook most of it.
Cornbread and buttermilk. Watched my parents devour it. Momma was born 1928, Daddy, 1933. Me? I don’t do milk.
Hot canned tomatoes with torn pieces of bread, butter salt and pepper YUM, hot milk with cooked elbow macaroni butter salt and pepper, poor mans pea soup, hot milk, peas crackers butter salt and pepper..still love these today.
Reba Holcomb says
Growing up as a kid in the 50’s, I dearly loved mom’s fresh baked biscuits with butter and sprinkle of sugar placed inside of my biscuit. She would wrap a couple in cloth for me to take to the back forty (old saying about your land so far back from home). My little bare feet had to trod in the dirt every step of the way. Also tucked into my lunch bag was a baked sweet potato. Oh so so good. The hard work for my parents was to begin on the back forty at day break to start their day plowing the fields, planting seeds, and cultivating the weeds. Good country snack foods kelp us until our return home near sunset. Wow, those were the good ole days and never forgotten.
Avis Allen says
Ramps and nettles soup, creamed egg on toast, turtle soup, crawfish and cabbage, catfish and cornbread, stewed tomatoes and bread. We never went to a store…our milk, cream & butter came fresh from our cow. We baked bread. We fished. We hunted, trapped and foraged. I’m only 51. My mother made our clothes and taught us how to survive. My father was an artistic brick Mason.
My mother grew up in Toronto through the depression, with rationing. She used to help her grandfather pick dandelions for his dandelion wine. They ate salad of dandelion greens. Mom cooked some of your recipes for us in the fifties and sixties and KD was a favourite. If she had a bit of ground beef it was added to the KD, sometimes with peas, to make it go further for us as our family grew. We thought it was a treat to have pancakes for supper and we never had maple syrup, so she made brown sugar syrup with Maplene (artificial maple brand) flavouring. A can of corned beef chopped up and fried with leftover boiled potatoes was one we kids loved. We also really enjoyed fried bologna that was cut from a solid chunk (not pre-sliced) and to keep the slices from cupping in the pan she cut a slit into centre of each. We never had dandelion greens though, even if the lawn was full of them before Dad mowed. Mom said the best greens for salad were the freshly sprouted young leaves.
My Grandmother used to make us bread and warmed milk for breakfast—bread broken up in our bowl, pour heated milk over it and sprinkle with sugar. I cant say it was my favourite, cause it really wasn’t, but on a cold winter morning we gobbled it up.
I wasn’t born until the ‘60’s, but I remember eating creamed chipped beef over toast (my mom would add chopped boiled eggs) – love it! Also, I’m surprised no one has mentioned buttered toast with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on it, which was a standard sweet treat for us. And once in a while, we would have a special supper of pancakes (with syrup or applesauce), fried eggs, and fried slices of Spam! That was one of our favorite meals, but too much work in the morning before school and work, so only served at supper time. I also remember things like hot dogs chopped in scrambled eggs or canned pork-n-beans, Hamburger Helper, and adding diced potatoes to the meat on taco nights so a half-pound of expensive hamburger could easily serve a family of four, but now I’m getting more into the 1970’s (remember the price and wage freezes of that decade, and the long lines of cars at gas stations that actually had gas?). I guess every decade has its economy recipes, and it’s fun to remember “way back when…”.
My parents were newly married during the Depression. So Mom ‘s cooking was mostly from that era. We lived on a farm and had chickens and pigs. So food was always
Plentiful. I still enjoy what Mom called depression steak! A big pot of dried Lima beans with potatoes and onions in the “broth “. There was sometimes a ham hock in there for added flavor. Always made biscuits. And she always made a dessert. For breakfast we usually had lots of eggs, always fried potatoes, and ham or bacon, (remember Daddy raised chicken and pigs) ! And we all ate oatmeal!
Elbert Jones says
My first stepfather made S.O.S. with leftover thanksgiving turkey. It was delicious. I’ve had it once with chipped beef. Leftover turkey is better.It’s also good served with rice. S.O.S. is the third most hated meal ate by U.S. soldiers. You can also make it with ground beef or ground turkey.
Both of my Grandmas have told me about these recipes. Coffee soaks. Soak crackers in coffee. Drain coffee off and sprinkle sugar on top. Serve warm. Sour pickles and onions. Slice a pickle and an onion in a bowl and cover with apple cider vinegar. Let soak a day. Then put a slice of each on a piece of bread
Orrin M. Knutson says
Here are two other poor folk foods, we’ve actually had to eat when we were next to homeless.
1. MASHED POTATO SANDWICH – It is just what the name implies. Spread mashed potatoes on one slice of bread, salt and pepper to taste, then slap on another slice of bread. I packed two or these a day, in my sack lunch for almost a year. My wife would punch them up with left over corn, green beans, peas, lettuce if we had some, and good old dandelion leaves
2. HOBO STEAKS – We love these to this day! Cut a whole cabbage into 1/4″ to 1/2″ round slices. Roll in egg and flour, then pan fry in butter until browned, flip and brown the other side. Some people spice their hobo steaks with a heavy sprinkle of Italian or taco seasoning and cheese.
Grand Catsmama says
I make my ground beef with garlic powder, onion powder and Italian season-ing, some-times would add steak season-ing and chicken season-ing too, add 1/4 of parme-san cheese, and 1/4 flavored bread-crumbs. It’s really good. You can cover it with bacon for added flavor-ing. Use pointed tooth-picks to hold bacon in place. Yummy.
K Moore says
I can tell by the tone of this post that you’ve never been in the situation where hunger was a problem. I didn’t grow up in the depression, but grew up when money was tight. We ate most of the things listed and were damn thankful they were available. Creamed beef on toast is still on our menu. I applaud the ingenuity of those folks that managed to put filling meals on the table for their families.
My grandmother said they made sugar syrup : water/sugar.to eat with biscuits and butter..syrup was served hot.
Water pie was also something created during the Great Depression
Fried bologna, hot dogs sliced open and fried, and toast with loads of sugar on top and pour coffee on the whole thing.
Ms. Kitty says
Vinegar pie and it’s cousin, no-nothin’ pie have been low budget or out of everything treats since the late eighteen hundreds, and used by pioneer cooks to give some variety to the diet.
A Depression Era staple was ketchup soup. You could go into an Automat self serve restaurant and pay a nickel for a mug of hot water and a tea bag. You would then go to a table and put the teabag in your pocket to use later and put ketchup, pepper and whatever other condiments you liked in the mug. Stir thoroughly and enjoy your soup. Not sure if you could get refills of more water to make more soup or to drink your tea for dessert.
Another dish that my grandmother used to make during the rampant inflation if the 70’s was stewed tomatoes on toast, with one or two slices of american cheese melted in. You can also add cooked bacon or other bits of leftover meat and veggies to make it more substantial.
Saltines and milk were a great snack or light meal.
Baked beans on toast is another budget stretching meal, as is buttered spaghetti and green beans.
I found a recipe in an old cookbook
“EVERYDAY FOODS IN WAR TIME BY MARY SWARTZ ROSE”, available for free in Amazon Kindle app
for a veggie loaf of green peas, minced onion and breadcrumbs. Make like a meatloaf and serve with a white sauce or cream gravy.
There are many more recipes out there that will come in handy as our economy continues to sink and inflation increases.
Marcia Bennett says
Bread with butter and sugar for dessert. Works well with floured tortillas and then roll. Born in 1959.
I grew up in the 50’s, but my Dad made us kids buttered toast covered in sugar. Then he’d pour coffee over the top of that. We LOVED it!
Mary Gendron says
My mother in law had a lot of kids, so— One dish she made: sliced hot dogs with canned stewed diced tomatoes, and sautee’d onions and green peppers, served on Mashed potatoes. Another was poor man’s spaghetti. (Spaghetti Grass-Fat spaghetti) On Sunday she cooked a pot roast. She saved the left over beef and the liquid it was cooked in. Later in the week she cooked spaghetti in the beef juice and cut up the leftover beef and added that to the pot. Then she cooked the spaghetti til it was fat and starchy. Serve as is, or I now under cook it and serve with garlic butter and shredded cheese. Yummy.
Grand Catsmama says
We were in Baton Rouge, LA for a couple of years. Things were so bad that I made Emergency Ramen noodles, 4 packs of noodles, a pot of water, 3 seasoning packs, one had gone bad so I couldn’t use it. I added a 28oz can of pork I had put it in the fridge to coagulate the fat. I scraped that off and used the meat. Fed us for three days. Thank goodness I’ll never have to eat it again. I also made cornmeal pancakes with half flour and half cornmeal, they were good. Would be great with maple syrup.
Sliced and fried left over oatmeal
Carried to school for lunch by my mother, often, as she told it. Sliced and fried left over oatmeal
or other breakfast cereal. Grandma would put a flick of butter in the pan and then sliced up the cold oatmeal. It was fried until it was just toasted starting to brown. This was wrapped and sent to school with my Mom and her siblings for lunch.
When I was a kid in the 60’s, my grandma and my mom were still making a few things left over from the depression era. I remember cucumber sandwiches – sliced cucumbers on bread with mayonnaise and a little salt and pepper. I also remember mashed potato candy – left over mashed potatoes mixed with a little confectioners sugar, rolled out and spread with peanut butter, then rolled up and sliced to make pinwheel pieces of “candy.” How about milk-toast? It was one of my mom’s favorites while growing up in the 30’s-40’s. We would ask for it sometimes after we had been sick. Toast torn into pieces and put into a bowl, sprinkled with sugar with a small amount of warm milk poured over it.
Jennifer P says
I have made water pie and it is very good. Its a lot like the vinegar pie minus the vinegar. The recipe can also be found on Paula Deans website and Youtube.
Rebecca Wood says
Hoover Stew (#7) is one of the best things on the list. 1 can of corn was left out of the recipe. Also a shot of hot sauce and a little Worchestershire Sauce if you have it finishes it off nicely. That recipe will feed 6 big eaters or make for better leftovers the next day for less than $10.00. Hoover Stew is in monthly recipe rotation at our house and we look forward to it.
During the depression my grandmother made a meal she called hash and mash. She fried up the allotted amount of ground beef (she said it was about the size of her fist) she then added carrots onions and peas and simmered this till the veg was cooked. she added some salt and pepper and thickened it with some flour. She boiled potatoes then mashed them up with a tiny bit of butter or sometimes bacon fat if there was no butter. she put mashed potatoes on every plate then spooned some of the “hash” over the “mash”. She said it was the best way to make a small amount of meat go along way to feed a family of six. My mom used to make it when my dad was on strike. very tasty!
Wow, that sounds delicious!
Anyone enjoy a bowl of crackers and gravy?
What do you do with leftover gravy and no more meat or potatoes? Crack a handful of saltines in a bowl and pour the gravy over it. It was something different than you usually had, it used up any remaining gravy from a previous meal, and kept the family fed dirt cheap.
Marci Rommal says
My grandmother grew up during the Depression. She was born in 1920. We had some interesting meals when we lived with them, but none of this stuff. Other than being a hoarder, my grandmother shunned everything associated with the Depression. She was practical in a lot of ways, but when it came to food, she was a definite hoarder and, after marrying my granddad, I don’t think she ever “stooped” to cheap food again. Except margarine. She never kept a stick of butter in the house. She also raised my mother during WWII. My mom refused to eat margarine, and I think my grandmother took that as a personal affront.
Carol Marciniszyn says
Mother’s version of the Prune Pudding is called Prune Whip, where you beat egg whites and folded in sugar in stewed prunes and then baked it. It would be brown on the top and wonderful. Fluffed out like that you didn’t get as many concentrated prunes.