There are some interesting and forgotten dishes eaten during the great depression. Who knows, with our current economy, we may end up going back to a few of these meals from the 1930's, just to survive!
There wasn't a lot in the great depression, so stretching your food to last as long as possible is the only way to keep feeding your family. No all families were lucky enough to be able to eat these ingenious meals.
Fried Bologna Casserole
The Bologna Casserole was made out of just that, Bologna. If they had the ingredients the will include bacon, onions, peppers, pork and beans, chili, inexpensive cheese and anything else they can find to add to the casserole to make it last.
Great Depression Egg Drop Soup
The name is the same as the famous Egg Drop Soup that you find in Chinese restaurants. However, this dish doesn't taste anything like it. Made of boiling water and onions, browned potatoes and scrambled eggs with a lot of salt.
The Garbage Plate
The great depression garbage plate was often served at diners in the western New York region. Made with a variety of combinations of flavors, but all are loaded with nutrients and needed calories.
The dish is usually made with a combination of home fries, baked beans, macaroni salad, ground beef and sometimes sausage. Then they top this mixture of ingredients with chili, onions, hot sauce, mustard and ketchup.
The Great Depression Cooked Bread
This is a dish that's made out of old stale bread, that would be tossed out these days. During the depression they couldn't afford to toss out anything. They would cut the old bread into slices, soak with butter or oil and cook on the stove top.
Great Depression Meatless Meatloaf
We all know that there was a meat crisis during the great depression, so creating something that resembled meat was often used.
The meatless meatloaf could be made out of anything they have hanging around in the refrigerator. Often they used liver, raisins, peanuts or whatever was left in the pantry. It never tasted the same twice, but could be good and nutritious depending on that days recipe.
Boiled Carrots and Spaghetti with White Sauce
This was the staple that replaced spaghetti and meatballs during the great depression. Since there was very little meat most families had to find a new way to present this meal.
The spaghetti is usually boiled for a long time to make it mushy with carrots and white sauce that is made out of salt, flour, milk and butter. It's not as tasty as Spaghetti and Meatballs, but is nutritious and provides food for their family.
Peanut Butter and Mayo Sandwiches
If a family in the depression was lucky enough to have pantry staples, they would have peanut butter and mayo sandwiches that would provide just enough protein and nutrients to keep one going from day to day.
The Great Depression Milkorno
Scientists at Cornell University in 1933 invented a gruel called Milkorno, a mix of powdered skim milk, cornmeal, and salt, to help families in need “stretch budgets without sacrificing nourishment," promising “Meals For a Family of 5 For $5 a Week.”
As the name implies, Milkorno comes from combining "milk” and “corn.” There were also Milkorno’s step-siblings, Milkwheato and Milkoato. Milkwheato, in particular, was incredibly successful. The government purchased 25 million pounds of it for use in hunger relief efforts.
When boiled, every member of the Milkorno family turns into porridge, though the Bureau of Home Economics considered them a decent substitute for noodles in Chinese chop suey.
Hot Milk Toast
In the midst of the Great Depression, Americans found creative ways to stretch their food dollars and provide nourishment for their families. They ate a variety of unusual dishes that made use of the ingredients they had on hand like food that they foraged or grew in their gardens.
Whether you’re looking for some fun and frugal new recipes or you just want to explore a unique period in America’s history, consider whipping up a few of these odd Great Depression meals today!