Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tuesday's This and That: November 29, 2022




It's been 81 years since The Great Depression ended.  But it's interesting how many of us have been impacted by some of the changes that were created during not only The Great Depression but the rationing that occurred during World War 2.

Did you know that products like Spam and Kraft's Macaroni and Cheese were BOTH invented during The Great Depression in 1937?  

But for many of us, our childhood may have had meals that harkened back to the depression.  I can think of two in our family and both included potatoes.  Potatoes were affordable, filling, and available to the masses.  The other staple was beans.  These were so commonly used during the Depression that it isn't surprising to see headlines of recipes like this:

I suspect that both of the meals I remember as a kid were from my father's side of the family.  My mother was fortunate that her grandfather was a butcher and her uncle a farmer so food was more readily available to her family.  But Dad was a city boy and he liked these two meals which were probably "comfort food" to him.  Neither had a name.

Entry one:  Put a big mound of mashed potatoes in a bowl.  Create a big crater in the center--but not for gravy.  

Instead, put a ladle full of soup in the center.  Voila!  Filling meal.

It's important to note here that most families during The Depression could only afford meat once a week.  Making soup or stock from the leftovers meant a number of meals.

Entry two:  Hot dogs cooked in sauerkraut and served with mashed potatoes. 


Sauerkraut was common in this area and hot dogs and processed meat were more affordable proteins.  I didn't think this was an unusual meal but my husband and many of my friends had no idea what I was talking about when I spoke of this.

Another big staple during The Depression was rice.  One article featured how to serve rice every day.  Rice recipe contests filled the newspapers around the country.  

Another favorite meal was apparently Chipped Beef on Toast.  But if you couldn't get meat, there were recipes for Chipped Tuna on Toast and other variations (my husband grew up with chipped hardboiled eggs on toast and detests any mention of these recipes).

I'm wondering if your family had some food eccentricities or recipes that may have harkened back to the Depression or War rationing?  Would you mind sharing your memories for Friendship Friday this week?


Back to WPA Sewing Rooms:  Women appeared to love working in the WPA Sewing Rooms...so much so that they fought to keep the rooms open when the rooms were scheduled to close (see my post here).  

It must have been very surprising to the WPA office in Asheville, NC when they received a letter of complaint from a person assigned work in the local sewing room:

"I have never worked a buttonhole in my life, and I can't run a sewing machine.  It's all I can do to even thread a needle.  

I want to ask you to please try to find some work for me besides what you have assigned me to in the sewing room.  I want to work mighty bad and if you can't find any other work for me, I will go to the sewing room but I don't feel like I can stand it in there with all those women."

Turned out a clerical error had occurred.  The person's first name was Malley not Molley--the name recorded on the WPA paperwork.  

Malley was a man.  Happily for him (and probably the women who would have worked with him) he was transferred to "a more masculine" assignment.


Have a safe and happy day!


  1. The hotdogs with sauerkraut really struck home! We used to eat those a lot! Mom would partially slice them, pull open, stuff with kraut then wrap with bacon. We would grill them, they were so delicious! I had no idea that was a depression food item. My dad's family had a farm so they usually had enough to eat, it was my mother's family that struggled the most.

    I remember eating rivvel soup as a child. My grand parents used to make another soup by browning bread cubes and pouring water over it. That never made it into mom's cooking.

  2. My husband family has a dish like you described - soup over mashed potatoes. I thought it was a strange combination when I first had it (the soup has noodles in it!) but maybe it is a Depression Era throwback. It's actually very tasty!

  3. My grandmother served Chicken and Noodles which was chicken, thickened broth, and thick homemade noodles over a mound of mashed potatoes. She had 7 children and I always figured she was trying to stretch the chicken. They always had a garden and so canned tomatoes were available. My mother tried different recipes to get something that tasted like a dish she called; "Tomato Red" that her mother made. I think Grandma was making tomato gravy out of her canned tomatoes to go over rice or spaghetti.
    We ate sauerkraut and hot dogs with mashed potatoes too.
    There was also bread and milk with fresh green onions and a dish my mother called "Hot Milk toast". It was hot buttered toast in a bowl with hot milk poured over it.