A fun way to explore what life was like for your American ancestors over the past century or so is to learn about the foods that they ate. I like food a lot, and I often wonder about such food – related topics like what my parents ate when they were growing up. My parents were born in the late 1940’s, and today I decided to look around and see what I could learn about what might have been on the table in their homes back then.
One of the first things that I learned about food in the Forties was that it was rationed during the war. I think that the war was over by the time that my parents were born, so they probably have little to no recollection of food rationing. Things like white bread, SPAM, and other canned and packaged foods were widely available. Packaged candies, cakes, and snacks were also easy to come by.
From what I read, in the early 1950’s, time saving kitchen appliances and meals based upon packaged convenience foods were the norm in many households. The allure of getting meals on the table quickly appealed to many American homemakers. Breakfasts were often hearty, even during the week. Bacon and eggs, French toast, and biscuits and gravy may have been available for my mom and dad to eat before they dashed out the door to go to school. In their lunch boxes, they may have found sandwiches of ham and butter on white bread, cream cheese and pimento stuffed olive sandwiches, or a Thermos of soup along with a piece of fruit and some packaged cookies or cakes. Dinner was a family affair, and Meals like tuna noodle casserole, green bean casserole, and meatloaf topped with mashed potatoes were typical dinner table fare.
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