Colonial America is often considered to be a simpler time, and in many ways, it was. Nowhere is this truer than in the culinary arts, where colonial food was marked by the need to use every part of a plant or animal. Many of the things our ancestors ate on a daily basis might make your stomach churn to think about, but interestingly, many are still eaten in parts of the country today.
Roasted Beaver Tails
Today, they’re usually a protected species, but in the 17th and 18th centuries, beavers were hunted all over North America for their pelts. Hungry trappers stuck out in the wilds didn’t want to waste any part of the beaver, so they ate the tails too.
It’s been described as having a gamey flavor, but it was pretty much just fat. It became a popular dish throughout colonial America — almost as popular as the beaver pelts they originally came from!
My My, Eel Pie
Not many people today would consider an eel to be a delicacy, but in colonial times, eels were considered to be such a desirable dish that people in New England would actually use lobsters as bait to catch them. Eel meat was eaten in a variety of ways, but a popular way to prepare it was in a pie.
If you’re keen on trying eel today, you might be interested to know that eels are still sold in shops in London and throughout England. Make a trip out there if you’re feeling brave enough to try something your great-great-great-grandparents had for special occasions!
Ambergris (AKA Whale Vomit)
You may have known that whale vomit has been a component of perfume for centuries, but did you know that in the 1700 and 1800s, it was a popular ingredient in many luxury dishes as well? It was used in beverages, served alongside eggs, or added to hot chocolate in not only America but also around the world.
Ambergris is actually very hard to find since it’s only produced by a small percentage of sperm whales. It forms on the ocean surface and floats, but will only rarely make landfall. Because of that, it’s been a very valuable substance for years.
Weird Ice Creams
You may not know that ice cream was first introduced in colonial America in the mid-18th century, but it was with the advent of ice houses where it could be made and stored. Ice cream was a popular dessert and even in the beginning, there were tons of delicious flavors available.
You may also not know that ice cream wasn’t all sweet at first — it was also flavored with eels, asparagus, or chestnuts, in addition to the normal sweet or fruity flavors.
Calves’ Feet Jelly
You may not think of animals when you think of a substance like Jell-O, but its main ingredient is gelatin, which is derived from animal collagen. Colonists took this gelatin and made what’s called calf’s foot jelly, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Believe it or not, calf’s foot jelly is still made in parts of the U.S. and around the world. You can find plenty of recipes online, and if you add sugar, it becomes a sweet dessert. Something to try next holiday?
Lobsters Were Really Cheap
Lobster isn’t an unusual food nowadays, but that’s not why we included it in this list. In colonial America, lobsters were a dime a dozen, and eating them regularly was a sign of being underclass. As mentioned above, they even used them as bait for eels!
My, my — how the times have changed. Now, lobster is one of the most expensive kinds of seafood you can eat, and eels, well, let’s just say you won’t be buying a lobster to use as bait for one.
Clabber — It’s Basically Yogurt
Before you get scared off by the name (or the description for that matter), consider that yogurt is just fermented milk. We tend to be adverse to the concept of sour milk, but it’s actually used for plenty of delicious foods. One of those foods was clabber, which was very popular in colonial times.
Before you toss your sour milk next time, check out some recipes for clabber. Colonists used to season it with nutmeg, cinnamon, or pepper. Sounds yummy!
Snake Meat Stew
Snakes have a long history of having an “icky” factor that keeps Americans from eating them, but that hasn’t always been the case. Remember that usually, colonists didn’t have the luxury of being picky, and they ate anything they could find. Well, one of those things was snake meat.
Snake meat is pretty much tasteless and has a similar texture to some types of fish, so you could see how it wouldn’t be terrible in a soup if you could get past the fact that the snake is a disgusting creature.
Scrapple — Pig/Lamb Scraps
Remember how colonists couldn’t afford to waste any part of an animal? That included pigs, sheep, and cows — and for the first two, they’d take the leftover scraps and make what’s called scrapple. Essentially, it’s a meatloaf made from the ground up “extras,” like the snout, heart, brain, or eyes.
This picture is actually lamb scrapple, but it’s the same idea. Scrapple is still made today, although, for the most part, we don’t use every part of the pig, like we used to.
Yes, They Ate Pigeons
Move over Mimi Siku, pigeons aren’t that weird of an animal to eat! Plentiful birds with a good amount of meat on them, pigeons were often enjoyed by colonists who didn’t have modern sensitivities about what they were eating. Most of the birds we eat now are fully domesticated.
Just think of pheasant and you’ll see that eating a pigeon isn’t actually all that strange. It actually used to be an upper-class dish because of how much work it took to prepare.
Posset, a Type of Custard
Custard is still around today, and it often gets a bad rap for whatever reason. Some really like it, and then there are those that you couldn’t pay to eat it. Posset, the next item on our list, was another type of custard that colonists ate for dessert.
It was also made as a delicious, sweet drink that colonists enjoyed serving at weddings and special celebrations. It was a very popular dish that everyone was crazy about!
Turtle Soup for the Soul
Nowadays, many species of turtle are endangered so it’s a little harder to find a soup made from them, but they didn’t have this problem in 18th century America. Turtle soup was a very popular dish among the rich and upper-class, usually made from snapping turtles.
Turtle soup was actually eaten up until the 1920s when better tasting and easier-to-prepare meats began making their way onto dinner tables around the country. Do you think it’ll ever make a comeback?
A Hard Bread Called Hardtack
The quintessential soldier’s food, hardtack has been around for centuries in some form or another. Basically, an unleavened bread (almost a cracker), hardtack has been favored by navies and armies because of how long it will keep for and how it’s relatively easy to pack into a bag and carry.
Soldiers in the U.S. Army still get something like hardtack in their MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat), but it’s called crackers now. Some things never change, do they?
American as Apple Pie
Not everything on this list is supposed to be weird or gross. Colonial Americans loved apple pie, even though apples are native to Europe. Apples grew well in the colonies because the fruit can survive the harsh winters, and Americans took the apples and made pies much like we still enjoy today.
Apple pie back then probably wasn’t as sweet as it is now, since sugar was often a luxury and very expensive. However, it was still seasoned with nutmeg or cinnamon, and we’re sure it was just as delicious as we know it is today!
Hardened Bear Fat
Ok, so colonists didn’t technically just munch on a piece of hardened bear fat. However, colonists in wilder parts of the country would often kill bears for food, and they’d melt their fat down to make a shortening-like substance, which they’d then use for cooking and baking.
Apparently, it’s very good for frying, and it doesn’t go bad as quickly as pork fat, so some colonists even found it to be a better alternative. Bear fat is still used by some people for cooking and baking today. Who knew?
Biscuits and Gravy
Many people today still love to have biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast, but it was still a very popular dish back in colonial times. It actually made its appearance as a southern dish shortly after the Revolutionary War, but it hasn’t changed much since that time.
This is one of the foods on this list that has stood the test of time. If something’s not broken, don’t fix it, as the saying goes.
Not Your Normal Katchup
Oh cool, you’re probably thinking, colonials enjoyed some condiments with their food? That’s no typo, though — katchup isn’t the tomato-based sauce we use nowadays. Katchup in colonial America was a sauce made from mushrooms, walnuts, anchovies, or oysters.
As a matter of fact, tomatoes were considered poisonous by many Americans during the 18th century, and a type of modern-day ketchup didn’t appear in America until around the time of the Civil War.
Mutton — Old Sheep Meat
Sheep were incredibly valuable to families in the 18th century because of their wool, which could provide clothes for everyone in the household. However, once their wool became inferior due to old age, they were slaughtered and their meat — mutton — became their final gift to their family.
The rest of the sheep would often be used in a similar way to scrapple, but mutton remains a popular meat to this day. It’s technically meat from a sheep that’s over a year old.
Pease Porridge Hot or Cold
It’s not just a nursery rhyme — pease porridge was a popular dish in colonial times because of how plentiful the ingredients were. Also known as pease pudding, it was made of boiled legumes with a boiled ham or bacon joint added for flavor.
Split pea soup remains a popular dish today, and it’s very similar to the way it would have been made back in the 18th century. Nothing beats it on a cold winter’s day!
Roast Squirrel Meat
Rodents are plentiful, and squirrels in America are definitely no exception. Colonists, particularly those in the unsettled parts of America, often trapped and ate squirrels roasted over an open fire. How on Earth do you catch them, though? They’re so fast!
Yeah, little buddy, we’re shocked too. Squirrel meat was served in pies, in stews, or simply fried. Squirrel-hunting was a particularly enjoyed pastime in Connecticut.
Stewed Swan Meat
The next entry on our list is stewed swan, which we admittedly don’t see much of these days. Swans are usually seen as a symbol of nature’s beauty, so we hesitate to eat them nowadays. Colonists didn’t have those same sensitivities, so they’d often eat stewed swan.
When you think about it, a swan is pretty much like a goose, and those get eaten all the time. Apart from stewing, early Americans would also roast them. Something to try next Thanksgiving?
Syllabub — Whipped Cream Dessert
Syllabus, no relation, is the thing your college professor gives you at the beginning of the year that you probably never read. Syllabub, on the other hand, was a whipped cream dessert similar to custard that was a big hit among colonial Americans.
Surprisingly enough, you can still find various syllabub recipes today! Who’s trying it for dessert this week?
Tripe, Animal Stomach Lining
You may have heard of tripe before as an example of something gross your mother threatened to make you eat (mixed with liver probably), but tripe was quite a popular dish in colonial times. It’s the soft lining of animal stomachs like cows or deer.
Believe it or not, tripe is actually very healthy. It’s rich in selenium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Maybe that’s how colonists got their daily dose of vitamins.
Other Kinds of Porridge
Porridge was a very popular breakfast dish in the 18th century because of how easy it was to prepare and how plentiful the ingredients were.
Porridge is usually made from ground corn, but it’s really any sort of ground-up vegetable that’s been mashed up with milk or water. Oatmeal is a type of porridge, but not all porridge is made from oats.
Tragically, slavery was a part of life in southern colonial America, and slaves had to eat too. A popular food among them was ash cake or ash bread, which was a corn-based bread that was baked in a pile of ashes from a fire.
You can still find recipes for ash cakes today among outdoor enthusiasts, and it’s a quick easy meal to make if you’re camping or outdoors in the wilderness.
Molasses, Syrup From Sugar
Another key ingredient in many colonial dishes was molasses — a thick, brown syrup that’s a byproduct of refining sugar cane into sugar. Molasses in rum was very popular until Great Britain passed the Molasses tax, one of the taxes which ultimately led to the American Revolution.
Once molasses started being taxed, many colonists found a different vice. Molasses has never been as popular in the U.S. as it once was because of it.
Have you ever heard of pokeweed? We didn’t before now. It turns out that roots, leaves, and berries of common pokeweed were used medicinally by both the Native Americans and colonists to treat various types of conditions — from a headache to a cough, and more. Of course, colonists also ate pokeweed.
Considering that this kind of herbaceous perennial plant is poisonous, though, people that used or ate pokeweed had to boil the shoots and leaves in water several times prior to consuming it. Very interesting…
Cooked Chitlins (Pig Intestines)
Lower-class Americans, especially in the south, had food that was often made from pigs, and this included every part of the pig. Chitlins were cooked pig intestines, and they were a popular dish among the lower classes in the southern colonies.
You can still find chitlins to make today at butcher shops, and it’s often called chitterlings as well. It’s most often fried up or boiled, and served with vinegar and/or hot sauce. Delish!
Fried Chicken Livers
As already mentioned several times, the lower classes needed to use every part of an animal to stretch out the amount of food they got out of it, and chickens were no exception. Out of the chicken’s organs, one popular dish was fried chicken livers.
Chicken livers are actually very healthy, and you can still find them today if you’re feeling culinarily adventurous. Serve them with sauteed mushrooms and onions for a tasty, different meal!
Roasted Opossum Meat
Opossums, which are native to North America, have the distinction of being America’s only marsupial, which means they’re related to kangaroos. This didn’t stop colonists from roasting them, however, and opossums were a popular game animal throughout the colonies.
Nowadays, the only time people see opossums may be at night or as roadkill, but they were once a popular dish in the 18th century. We wouldn’t recommend trying to bring back their popularity!
Yes, Raccoon Meat Too
Even though we jokingly refer to them as trash pandas, if there’s anything we’ve learned by now, it’s that no food sources were off-limits for colonial Americans. Raccoons were trapped and use for meat as well as opossums and squirrels, although this was also mainly done by lower classes.
Raccoon is still eaten in parts of the U.S. today, and its meat has been described as greasy and similar to dark-meat off a chicken. It can be roasted, boiled, added to a stew, or just eaten with vegetables and a side.
Cornbread, Another American Classic
Colonists ate a lot of cornbread, but you may not be aware that this delicious type of bread was actually adopted from Native American diets. Corn was a staple among Native American tribes, and it was ground up into a meal and used to bake bread all the time.
Colonists adopted Native Americans’ affinity for corn as well as a number of other fruits and vegetables they enjoyed, like squash and beans.
Pepper was an exotic spice first making its way to Europe in the 18th century, and anything that was in vogue in Europe was quickly adopted in the American colonies as well. Though we wouldn’t think of it as a spice for sweets today, that didn’t stop colonists from baking it into a cake.
According to Martha Washington’s book — Booke of Cookery — pepper cakes weren’t just delicious, they would last for months if stored at the right temperature. For a time without preservatives, that’s not bad!
Sassafras Tree Leaves
You may have heard of sassafras tea, but in the 18th century, it was a normal part of people’s diet. They’d often add it as part of stews or creole dishes, like gumbo, and it was a regular part of Native Americans’ diet as well. It’s a leafy green vegetable.
What you may not know is that sassafras was a popular remedy for syphilis in 18th century England, so the colonies became a pretty big exporter of the leafy green.
Tongues of Every Kind
We’ve seen multiple times already how the colonists liked to use every part of the animal, and the tongue was absolutely no exception. They’d roast it, boil it, or chop it up and fry it, and pretty much every animal that had a large tongue was fair game.
Nowadays, you don’t see tongue very much but it’s still grilled, fried, braised, or pickled and served in a variety of ways. When cooked correctly, it can be a slice of very flavorful meat.
Jellied Moose Nose
Colonists sure loved their jellies made from various melted down animal parts, and moose were a plentiful animal. Put both those facts together and you inevitably get something like jellied moose nose. It was made by boiling the upper jaw of the moose, then taking the meat, and letting it sit overnight in moose broth.
You can still find recipes to make this interesting dish online, but it might be harder to actually find a moose. However, we see no reason why you can’t also make this from pig snout or a cow nose.
Salting is an ancient method of preserving meat for a long period of time; the salt acts as a natural preservative and meats that have been salted can last for months when stored in a cool basement. This is mainly how Americans used to store their food over the winter.
Salted fish is only one of essentially any sort of meat product that could have been salted. Americans also salted beef, pork, and venison to help feed their families through the long, cold winter.
Humble (or Umble) Pie
Another decidedly lower-class dish was humble pie, or as it was otherwise known, umble pie. Basically, it was made from whatever leftovers there were of an animal (typically the innards) and mixed up with apples, sugar, and spices to make a meal.
Humble pie is actually a very old dish, with records of it existing back to the middle ages. The upper classes would feast on the meat of the animal, while the peasants would get what was left and make it into a filling pie.
Another type of mush (porridge) was hasty pudding, which was made from corn or flour, mixed with boiling water or milk, and eaten while warm. It was so named because it was quick to make, and it was a popular breakfast food both in America and in England.
American hasty pudding was usually made with ground Indian corn, not flour. Since corn wasn’t a huge crop in England, it wasn’t necessarily as popular.
Plum Cake (AKA Election Cake)
Plum cake has been around for centuries, and it’s usually made with some sort of berry, although the specific ingredients vary by region of the world. American plum cakes were made with various types of fruit, so it’s probably what you’d consider fruitcake today.
It was also served at elections, so it came to be known as election cake. Before the Revolutionary War, they were called muster cakes because they were made for the men called to drill with the British Army. It’s had a lot of names!
Partridges are medium-sized birds, with a wide native distribution throughout Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. During colonial times, these non-migratory birds were a popular choice when it came time for a nutritious meal.
Although this kind of meat isn’t a household staple nowadays, there are plenty of recipes you can find. The meat is supposedly delicate and tender — plus it’s quick and easy to cook! It’s full of flavor but not too gamey. And partridge happens to be a healthier option than most farmed meats!
Good English Tea
A list about 18th century American cuisine wouldn’t be complete without mentioning tea. It started a revolution and a whole new country! Americans before the war really loved English tea, just like their brothers and sisters across the ocean. That’s why the tea tax was such a slap in the face.
Once the British started taxing tea heavily, Americans were done with the stuff. They replaced it with a beverage that they didn’t have to depend on foreign imports for, and we still drink it to this day…
Thank the Colonists for Coffee!
Coffee is a decidedly American drink, although it was originally from Ethiopia. After Americans wouldn’t buy the King’s tea anymore, they switched to coffee, and it was off to the races from there. Before then, coffee was more time-consuming to make than tea, but they would enjoy a cup at a coffeehouse.
Coffee was a status symbol in colonial America; it wasn’t as expensive as tea, but it did require more effort to prepare. Ever since, coffee has been a staple in the American diet.
While fish is still a very popular dish of choice today, we bet that many of you have never tried sturgeon. It’s okay — neither have we. When the first English settlers in the New World founded the colony of Jamestown, they caught a gigantic sturgeon from the James River.
At that point in time, colonists had more than enough of this type of fish to go around. In fact, according to John Smith, “We have more sturgeon, can consume as humans and dogs.”
Perry — Fermented Pear Drink
Pears were another plentiful fruit in colonial AmericaPerry is a fermented beverage made from pears, and it made its way over from England and France to the American colonies, where colonists enjoyed it every now and then.
For some reason, apple beverages are more popular than pear-based beverages nowadays in the U.S. We’re not sure why, but this perry stuff sure sounds delicious!
40+ Weird Foods People Ate to Get Through the Great Depression
The Great Depression was a time of need and uncertainty. Ingredients were rationed, food produce was scarce. People had to get creative in choosing their food items. This gave birth to several creative and on-budget dishes.
Save Our Stomach
Creamed chip beef was a common dish during the Great Depression. It was also served during the World Wars. It was made with dried beef. The beef was moistened with a mixture of butter, flour, and milk. It was then served on a piece of toast.
The Great Depression was a time of scarcity and need. People had to be creative since they had to prepare their food with the very little things they had. The Mulligan Stew was actually created by homeless people.
They would collect every bit and bob from everyone in the neighborhood and throw in a big pot. Then they would cook it in a campfire. Today this dish has transformed into a vegetable stew.
The meat was very expensive during the great depression considering continuous inflation. So, people turned to Bologna. These would fulfill the required protein the body demanded. Bologna casseroles became a popular dish during that time.
The reason for that was the dish was flavorful, delicious, and filling. They were made with canned pork, beans, chili and beans, cheddar, bacon, onion, pepper, and bologna. This dish was considered a perfect Depression-era meal.
This dish was shown to the world by 91-year-old Clara in 2007. This dish was made during the depression era by her family. This dish is cooked with potatoes and hotdogs. First, the potatoes were fried, and then they were served with diced hotdogs.
Clara mentioned that her mother used to cook a lot of their dishes with potatoes during that time since they were hearty. But as the name suggests, they were not that cheap with a sack at a dollar.
Hot Water Pie
This dish first came to light through a YouTube channel called ‘@emmymade.’ The recipe was sent to her by a viewer whose grandmother used to make it during the Depression-era. This hot water pie is made with simple ingredients.
The crust is made with butter, flour, and sugar. Then there is the custard filling which is made with butter, eggs, sugar, and boiling water. This was easy to make and sweetly delicious.
Jell-O Ice Cream
This Jell-O ice cream was a real treat during depression times. It was made by mixing Raspberry Jell-O with milk, vanilla extract, sugar, and heavy whipped cream. It was basically no-churn ice cream.
This dish was tried recently by a Youtube channel. It was by Glen from Glen and friends. This recipe was quick, easy, and economical. That’s why it attracted greater attention during the Depression time.
Stew was a famous dish in the depression era. But they were not made as we make them today. They were made with little ingredients people could afford and had. Hoover Stew was something like that.
It was made with canned tomatoes, macaroni, hot dogs, canned corns, and beans. This dish was named after President Hoover. This dish is often compared as equivalent to macaroni with hot dogs.
Egg Drop Soup
This egg drop soup is not similar to the ones you find at restaurants. This egg drop soup includes brown potatoes, onions, salter water broth, and scrambled eggs. These ingredients scream the great depression era.
Potatoes and eggs were in a lot of dishes at that time. Before serving this dish, with a piece of crusty bread, some parmesan cheese was sprinkled on the soup. It is also called Clara’s depression egg drop soup.
Peanut Butter-Stuffed Onions
Peanut butter and onions – a combo we will never dare. But in the great depression, people couldn’t think about taste. They needed the calories to function. This dish was recommended to students.
This dish was made by baking an onion. Then the inner parts were removed. After that, it was stuffed with peanut butter. It was economical. People that time prepared their food based on the availability of ingredients. Not according to their taste. The great depression was truly an era of surprise.
Today we have so many different types of salad. There are several dressing options. Today we depend on our taste buds. The people in the great depression era didn’t have that luxury. The dandelion salad was made from the dandelions that grew and had in their lawns and gardens.
They were then dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Though it is a food made due to poverty and need, it doesn’t look that bad.
This dish has not been lost since the depression era. It is still found at diners in Rochester, New York. The Garbage Plate is a mixture of a couple of dishes. A plate is created with macaroni salad, fries, baked beans, sausage, or cheeseburger.
This plate is then topped with beef chili, white onions, ketchup, or any hot sauce, mustard. This dish is a hearty meal. Though it is an odd mix of food items together we have to remember this plate was created in the depression era. It was just filled with things available.
Cooked Bread Cooked Again
The cooking bread was not like regular bread. . When the existing bread became too hard, they would make this one. They couldn’t just make a new one since the ingredients were limited. They would cut the hard bread into pieces and then pour olive oil and salt on them.
Then they would pour boiling water in them so that the bread slices were soaked. Then they would mash the bread and eat.
Cabbage and Dumplings
This dish is a pair of cabbage and dumplings. The dumplings were made with eggs and flour at home. Then it was paired with cabbage and onions that were fired in a cast iron pan. This dish was tasty also nutritious.
This dish is extremely easy to make. And it could be made with very few ingredients which was a key factor in the food items of the depression era.
Amish Cold Milk Cereal
This Amish Cold Milk Soup was a staple dish in Amish households during the great depression era. It was a cereal alternative. It was served on summer days. The bananas were put in cold milk mixed with sugar. Today this dish is blended and consumed as a banana smoothie.
This was a great dish during the depression era since it required very few ingredients. It was economical.
The Depressed Apple Pie
This pie is nothing like the latter part of its name – Apple Pie. This pie is made using Ritz crackers as a filling instead of apple filling. Though this pie has no apples in it, it actually tastes like an apple pie. And it is delicious.
In the depression era, people had to be creative. They found alternatives for their favorite dishes if the ingredients were not available.
Eat as Long as You Can
In the depression era, people chose food items based on several factors since ingredients were unavailable. The rabbit stew was basically the final meal one could have. At first, the rabbit was baked and consumed. The next night, the meat would be stir-fried.
Then finally, after two or three days, dumplings with rabbit stew were prepared. This dish was stretched for as many days as possible and it would sit in the fridge.
Pie for the Desperate
The vinegar pie is a super simple pie. In the depression era, where ingredients were hard to find, this pie was fun to try. Vinegar was often used as an alternative when ingredients couldn’t be found. The vinegar added flavor.
In the Vinegar pie, the filling is made using apple cider vinegar. In the depression era, fresh fruits were scarce. This dish was a great alternative for that. It tastes quite delicious and apple-like.
Stovetop Baked Beans
Beans were a staple food ingredient during the great depression era. They were cheap and easily available. A lot of the dishes during the depression had beans in them. Stovetop baked beans became a popular side dish in the depression era.
They even served as a full meal for many families. All they needed was beans and some other spices like pepper and salt. And they were good to go. It was easy to make and cheap.
Breakfast Sugar Cookies
These Breakfast Sugar Cookies were a treat during the depression era. They were made with eggs, sugar, and flour – the staple ingredients in the desserts of the depression era. In the depression era, people had to be creative because of the little resources.
Ingredients were rationed so there was no scope for fancy cookies. But these were pretty fancy considering the depression era. They were perfect Sunday treats at that time.
Peanut Butter and Mayo Combo
During the Depression times, food items were made based on the ingredients available instead of taste buds. The rationed ingredients and little resources left them no choice. The mayo and peanut butter sandwich became a staple in the households during the depression era.
This sandwich had a sour and nutty taste. This sandwich provided the required protein they needed since meat was a kind of luxury at that time. This sandwich provided sustenance to keep them going.
Peanut Butter and Pickle Combo
The Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich was a staple and favorite lunch item during the depression era. They were cheap to make. All they needed was bread, peanut butter, and a side pickle. It was quite delicious in these limited ingredients. That is why it became a favorite.
This Peanut Butter and Pickle sandwich are still consumed by some people today. Now, there is a variety of pickles to choose from and a lot of better quality bread.
Milkorno the Superfood
In the Great Depression era, people looked for alternative food items that were cheap and could be found. Scientists were also researching to feed the people who were hit by the Great Depression. The scientists at Cornell University came up with milkorno.
It is a mixture of dried milk powder and cornmeal. It was eaten as gruel-like oatmeal. It also worked into other recipes. This milkorno captured attention during that time.
Loaves Made With Anything
People couldn’t afford meat during the Depression-era. It was a luxury even for the affluent. So, a traditional meatloaf was off the table. People went for anything loaves. It is prepared with whatever can be found at hand. It was prepared with nuts, raisins, leftovers, and bread.
They were all packed into a loaf and were served as a meal. It was budget-friendly and fulfilling.
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
This Kraft Macaroni and Cheese helped many families survive the great depression. This food product was first introduced by Kraft in 1937. Each of the boxes had four servings. People who were looking for economical meals jumped on this.
That is why it sold over eight million boxes in its first year. This mac and cheese combined budget with taste in a way that it made a place in many households in the depression era.
Pasta With Boiled Carrots
The boiled Carrots and Pasta were a means of nutrition. It didn’t have much flavor. The pasta was cooked for 25 minutes. Then there were boiled carrots. A white sauce was poured over the pasta and carrots.
This type of sauce was a staple in tight-budget meals. The white sauce was made with milk, salt, butter, and a little bit of pepper. It tasted like a mushy bland casserole.
Milk, a Wonder Food
During the Great Depression era, milk had great importance in food value. It was considered a wonder food. It consists of vitamins, fat, sugar, and also protein. This mixture of nutrients in a single product attracted quiet attention to this food.
Milk was used in various dishes. Milk became a staple in school lunches. Their menus were created centering milk considering its rich nutrients. Students were advised to drink a quart of milk every day.
Not Your Regular Pizza
In the depression era, a lot of dishes took a different turn. The ingredients that were used to make them were scarce. One of the examples like this is plain pizza. This plain pizza is nothing like the regular pizza we have now which is topped with all kinds of goodness.
The plain pizza was a piece of dough, rolled out and cooked. It didn’t have any toppings. It was topped with a little butter.
Poor Man’s Boiled Cake
This recipe tasted like the great depression itself according to the women who cooked it. This cake doesn’t have milk, butter, or eggs. It was cooked with lard which acted as the required fat and was spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
It had the taste of a spice cake. This cake was not the perfect cake but during the depression era, this was all they had.
This Chop Suey was a favorite in many families in the 1930s. This dish was cheap yet delicious and nutritious. These were the characteristics people looked at in their food items during the depression era. This Chop Suey was made with ground beef, macaroni (some people also added rice), and tomato sauce.
These ingredients were mixed and it resulted in a healthy and yummy dish. The Chop Suey made today are also quite similar to this one.
The White House Pudding
This Prune pudding was a famous treat in the White House during the Roosevelt tenure. Eleanor Roosevelt made the prune pudding a treat during the depression. She served this to the White House guests after persuading President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Prunes were cheaper fruits. They lasted longer than any other fresh fruits. So, this pudding made a statement during the depression era. The prunes were also used for other pies and fillings.
The Depression-Era Cake
Food rationing cut the scope for many desserts and pies. But people in the depression era knew how to be creative with little resources and ingredients. They invented the Wacky Cake. This wacky cake did not require any dairy products.
It didn’t even require butter or eggs. You can add other ingredients like chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream, etc. anything you have in hand. This tweaking quality of this dish made it quite popular in the depression era.
Soup of the Navies
Soup has always been a comfort food. In the depression era, various kinds of soups were cooked. The Navy Bean Soup was a favorite. We know beans were a common ingredient in the depression era. This soup was cooked with ham, carrots, onions, garlic, and of course beans.
This food fulfills a lot of nutrition compartments. It has protein, fiber, and vegetables. The name Navy Bean Soup comes from the fact that it was a staple in the United States Navy.
Potatoes are included in a lot of dishes of the depression era. We can see them in so many recipes of the cookbooks of the depression era recipes. Potatoes were versatile and could be served with a good number of dishes.
Potato pancakes were made from baking powder, flour, egg. They were fried and they tasted pretty good. The potato pancakes became popular in many households of the depression era.
The Pudding of Poor
The Poor man’s pudding was found in the depression. This pudding was made with sugar, maple syrup, and brown sugar. These three ingredients were all this pudding needed. This pudding was found in a French-Canadian home.
The maple syrup suggests the Canadian roots of this desert. It was an indulgence in tough times. During the depression time, this type of food made statements with their little amount of ingredients requirements.
Vegetable Cabbage Soup
The Vegetable Cabbage soup was found in households in the great depression era. The cabbage was a staple ingredient during that time. So, this soup was affordable for most people. Also for people who did not like the taste of cabbage, they could add any other vegetables.
This soup could be adjusted to any ingredient according to taste and availability. This soup could also be adjusted to any cabbage-based dishes.
The Cheap Luxury Snack
Rice pudding was a luxury snack during the depression era. But they were really cheap. This dish became popular particularly in the depression era because they were cheap and they also tasted good. They were considered to stick to your ribs kind of food.
Over the years, various types of variations have been made to the rice pudding. The rice puddings today are in no way similar to the ones at that time.
Casserole of Frozen Fruit
The frozen fruit salad was made as a special treat. It was served during the holidays and summers. It was made with a canned fruit cocktail, egg yolks, and whipped cream. It was quite a delicious treat for a sweet tooth. During the great depression era, people didn’t have much choice regarding their food.
They had to choose from the available ingredients. This might not be a great dish today, but during that time it was a favorite.
Abundance of Loaves
Loaves were very popular during the depression era. They were made from ingredients that were cheap and stretched out. There was a lima bean loaf which tasted like falafel. It was paired with highly seasoned gravy.
There were bean loaf, peanut loaf, etc. they were made with ingredients that were available then. The meatloaf was termed as sparing proportionate luxury. Since meat in the depression era was a luxury.
Chocolate Cream Pie
This pie has all the ingredients for a perfect pie. It is actually a combination of pudding and pie. In the depression era, this pie made its way to a lot of houses. The filling is rich and creamy.
It is made in a combination of the most favorite ingredients of most people. Chocolate and cream made the pie a rich and fulfilling dessert during the depression era. A lot of people have fond memories of their grandmothers making it.
A Cutting-Edge Source of Protein
Gelatin was a perfect protein source during the depression era. It was cheap so everyone could afford them. It was cutting edge food. There was a particular dish that was famous in most households.
It was made with canned corned beef, plain gelatin, canned peas, vinegar, lemon juice, and also cabbage if available. The gelatin made its way to a lot of houses and cookbooks in the depression era.
The Depression-Era Cornbread
The cornbread recipe of the great depression era was easy and short. We can see a lot of cornbread recipes today. They are complicated. This is the reason the cornbread recipes of the depression era are making a comeback.
The cornbread has cornmeal, water, and salt. It doesn’t require flour, baking powder, and sugar. It was made depending on the ingredients at hand. That is why it became quite famous during the depression era.
Bread in the depression era was not like the ones now. They didn’t need the optimum heat and other ingredients that we use now. Bread then was made with the main three ingredients. It was flour, yeast, and warm water.
Other ingredients were not often possible to manage. The bread made with these three ingredients, on the other hand, was just as fine. It had the nutrition to survive and they made the stomach happy.
Hotdogs were famous food in the great depression era. Bought for only a nickel, they became the most popular street food. In the 1930s, everyone had a favorite hotdog stand.
A hot piece of sausage in the middle of a bun with fries and any vegetable available became a staple during the depression era. It was a fulfilling meal and it stretched within a dollar. It was dependable for everyone.
The Cousin of Chocolate Cake
Red Velvet cake was actually a cheap substitute for chocolate cake. In the depression era, it was considered the cousin of chocolate cake. Vegetable oil which was cheap and easy was used with a smidgen of cocoa powder for flavor.
The color came from the combination of cake’s vinegar and buttermilk with baking soda and the old-fashioned cocoa powder. The red color was a way to make the cake look fancy.
The Soup of Depression
The potato was a common ingredient in the food items of the depression era because they were cheap and available. Another factor was they were hearty. The potato has been in the headline recently due to social media.
In the great depression era, it was famous because it needed a few ingredients. It was easy and cheap to make. Other ingredients could be added to this one. The classic version was a staple in households back in the depression era.