the depression, it was common to eat meat no more than once a week, if
at all. Some meals were:
bread and baked
beans [recipe below]
bread and gravy
breaded tomatoes (garden tomato sauce on bread - sugar and butter can be
buttered noodles baked with
chicken and dumplings [recipe below]
cornbread in buttermilk
creamed eggs on toast [recipe below]
dropped dumplings in broth
fried cornmeal mush (ash
cakes) [recipe below]
fried egg sandwich (mayo can be added)
fried egg with a slice of
onion [marinated onions recipe below]
fried eggs on toast
gnocci (pasta made with flour
and mashed potatoes)
ketchup egg sandwich
and tomatoes (onions
pasta and bean soup (pasta y fagioli,
pronounced pasta fazool), made
with garden tomatoes
potatoes and gravy
potatoes fried in bacon fat
raw onion sandwich [marinated onions recipe below]
and boiled potatoes
scrambled egg with potato and onion [recipe below]
sour milk pancakes (raw milk
sours and does not go bad like pasteurized
spaghetti and tomatoes
spaghetti and sauerkraut
(dpression era spaghetti -- recipe below)
tomatoes and onions on toast
tomato and cheese sandwich [recipe
The meat once a week
Sunday Dinner: Fried chicken or bacon, blackeyed pea soup, mashed
potatoes and gravy, parsnips. Dessert: bread pudding with cream
The Irish dinner of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage and carrots would
also fit in well, but make the cabbage sauerkraut rather than eating it
boiled. No mention is made of the traditional cheap dessert, but peach
cobbler would be a good choice.
Restaurant meal for
the price of a cup of coffee:
Order a cup of coffee, extra light, and a cup
of hot water (which should be free). Put ketchup in the hot water to
make "tomato soup", and then crumble saltine/crackers into it (assuming
restaurant has cracker packets at the counter). Salt and pepper to
Tear up a slice of bread in a bowl, add sugar and milk.
Many depression-era families had access to raw milk
from a goat or cow-owner in
walking distance who would sell excess milk from the cow inexpensively.
Many families owned the goat or cow themselves.
Pickles and sour
All these carb-heavy menus would be
greatly enhanced nutritionally if a raw, lacto-fermented pickle
were added to them. Cucumber and apples can be made into a pickle
either sweet or salty.[recipe below] and are
inexpensive. All these meals would be better
with "a raw,
lacto-fermented pickle or pickled fruit or veg and some raw, cultured
or clabbered milk or cream."* added to them. (*raw sauerkraut and
yogurt basically, but there are many variations once you learn how to
make pickles/sauerkraut and culture dairy)
Many families grew tomatoes, probably because they preserve so well
which can then be stored through the winter.
Beans were bought in large quantity (25-50 pounds) from a dry goods
store, white flour was bought in 50-pound sacks. White flour doesn't
need refrigeration like whole grain flour, can be kept in a cool
storage area. That much whole grain flour would have to be kept in the
freezer. Whole grains can be kept in a cool storage area if you have a
way to mill them into flour when you are ready to use the flour.
Rice was not popular during the last depression but it would make a
good addition to the list.
Bad as this diet may sound to people used to meat every day, studies
have shown that children fed a depression-era diet were healthier than
children fed a modern diet high in processed foods, and many children
who were fed these depression-era diets loved them, and
grew to have fond food memories when they became prosperous, often
having a favorite comfort food being a food from their impoverished
The best foods to grow for a depression are tomatoes, cabbages and
onions. Buy beans and rice at a dry-goods store, and milk from the
nearest cow or goat.
Bacon should not have nitrates in it. If you butcher the pig, have the
butcher cut the bacon area of the pig into chunks,. It is not necessary
to have bacon long and thin slice. Be sure to include all the fat and
any surrounding areas meat that is otherwise less expensive.
What to expect
If you are a woman with children, you will most likely be living in a
house -- someone will take you in -- but it
may be as a charity case and you will be expected to appreciate it and
contribute to the work of the house.
If you are a man with a family to support, you will be more likely to
keep your job, but you will be paid less money.
If you are a single able-bodied man, you may be living in a tent city.
You won't do much of your own cooking beyond coffee on a communal
campfire, but will get most
of your food from the community your tent city is in. There will
be a campfire going. If it gets really cold, you'll go sleep in a
shelter. At that shelter, if you want coffee and doughnuts in the
morning, you'll either have to do some work beforehand like chopping
wood or you'll have to listen to a religious-oriented lecture while you
get your coffee and doughnuts.
If you live in a house, you will have to provide occasional meals to
hungry beggars. Since you're going to have to do it anyway, you may as
well believe you're doing it out of christian charity rather than for
fear of an unfortunate accident to your property. When your children
are old, they'll fondly reminisce how "Mom could never turn away
Hopefully, you have a home and can save
your mortgage, but, if worse
comes to worst, here are some options to consider.
You can live in a car, so if you have neither job nor income and are
running out of money, consider spending the last of dwindling resources
to invest in a car. If you get a van or a vehicle that can accomodate a
porta-potty, you can "boondock" or camp on any nice-looking land you
find and consider your time of homeless destitution as part of an
extended vacation. If you can afford to drive it south for the winter,
that would be a plus.
In the first Depression, shanty towns were
built with tin and
wood. Because of the prevalence of old cars, it is likely the next
Hoovervilles will inlude a lot of car living. Blue tarps can be spread
over a couple cars to make a home plus sheltered area. Lots of blankets
or sleeping bags in your car will help keep you warm through all but
the coldest (below freezing) temperatures.
Buy in large quantity:
flour, beans, rice, sugar, cornmeal, potatoes,
in garden/front lawn:
tomatoes, cabbages, onions
Get from a farmer:
Raw milk and cream, (make your own butter from the cream.), bacon or pork with fat (fatback/back fat), eggs, soup bones
flour/rice or white?
The human digestive system needs fiber to move
food along. The best source for that tiber is the carcasses of the
bacteria and microbial symbionts that digest the food, making its
nutrients available to us. The second best source is plant fiber, whole
grain flour and brown rice. If you have a superlative digestive system
(unlikely in anyone growing up on a modern diet), you could get away
with white grains. If not, it is probably better to stick to whole
grains. There are some anti-nutrients in the fiber areas of the grains,
so whole grain foods should always be soaked overnight before
consuming. If pre-soaking is not possible due to the particular recipe
involved, then unbleached white is better.
|Recipes For Depression-Era Type Food
Peel apples. Throw away peels and continue
peeling apple with potato
peeler into thin slices. Put in a glass jar. Add whey from a cultured
dairy or liquid from a batch of sauerkraut or previous batch of apple
pickles. Add brine to cover (salt water with a ratio of 1 pint water to
1 teaspoon sea salt or other full array salt). Put water into a plastic
baggie. Tie or knot baggie so water doesn't leak. Put on top of apple
slices to hold apples under water (or see sauerkraut to see how to use
leaves to hold fermenting vegetables under water.) Cover with a piece
of plastic secured with a rubber band and leave overnight at room
temperature (that's about as "instant" as you can get with raw,
lacto-fermented food.) In the morning, eat the apples, drink the
liquid and reserve about a quarter cup of the liquid as your starter
for the next batch. You can also peel and thin slice cucumbers or any
other soft fruit or vegetable that you could eat raw and add them to
the apples. Eat some apple pickles with every meal until your
sauerkraut is ready to be eaten with every meal.
Apple cider vinegar
Peel, chop and core the apples. Put in blender with water and blend on
high. Strain through a flannel jelly bag and save the juice. Add a few
raisins to the apple juice, cover with an airlock and allow to ferment.
When the juice has become an alcoholic/hard cider, put a mother of
vinegar or a mother of kombucha matrix into it. Cover with a cloth to
keep out insects, and then let it set at room temperature for a couple
Cakes or Fried
Mix 1/2 cup of cornmeal and 1 cup of bone broth or water in a glass or
ceramic bowl and let set over night. Pat into a bread loaf pan and
refrigerate. To cook, slice and fry in bacon grease. Instant cornmeal
mush: mix cornmeal and boiling water half and half, shape into patty
and fry in fat.
Soak beans for at least24 hours in water with lemon juice,
whey added. Drain, rinse and drain again. Put in slow cooker, cover
with bone broth and simmer at low temperature for a day or until beans
are soft. Add extra bone broth if needed to keep beans under liquid.
beans are soft, add some tomatoes or tomato sauce, onions and garlic
cloves fried in lard, sea salt, pepper, a little molasses and some
cooked bacon or pork with fat on. Continue to simmer on low heat for
another day or until all ingredients have blended together.
Hollow out some onions and fill with sugar or honey. Bake at medium-low
temperature until soft.
Broiled tomato and cheese
Put a slice of tomato and a slice of cheese under the broiler until the
cheese is melted.
Chicken and dumplings
Get an old chicken that would be too dry and tough for a roast, put in
a pot of water, bring to a boil and then simmer until cooked. Remove
chicken and set aside. Make dumplings and drop into simmering water,
cook for about 15 minutes. Remove dumplings, add more dough and repeat
until you have as many dumplings for however many people you are
feeding. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the chicken, set aside skin
and bones. When all dumplings have been cooked, return to pot with
chicken meat. Use skin and bones to make more broth for more dumplings
during the week, or make into biscuits and gravy. Dumplings: 1 cup
flour, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 2
teaspoons melted butter, 1/4 cup milk. Mix until smooth and drop by
tablespoonfuls in broth. Cook 15 minutes, covered. Do not lift lid
while cooking. Other birds or fowl may be used.
Creamed Eggs on Toast
Take 1 tablespoon butter, lard or tallow, 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, 1/4
teaspoon salt and 1 cup milk. Melt butter in baked enamel or cast iron
saucepan over low heat. Add flour and salt, stirring constantly until
smooth and frothy. Cook about 2 minutes stirring often to prevent
browning. Gradually stir in milk. Increase heat to medium and simmer,
stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth, thick and boiling. Shell
and slice 4 hard-boiled eggs. Gently stir into cream mixture and spoon
of 4 slices of toast.
Creamed Peas on Toast
Make a white sauce (see cream below). Add a cup of peas and cook over
medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over toast.
Boil a pound of spaghetti. Add cabbage slaw or drained sauerkraut when
nearly done. Continue cooking until cabbage slaw is done to your taste
if that is what you used. Drain and add some chopped chicken and
butter. Stir and add some cheese. (If using raw
sauerkraut, drain boiled spaghetti and add sauerkraut, chicken and
butter. No need to cook further except to heat.)
Thinly slice 2 onions and separate into rings. Mix the following
ingredients (amounts can be varied according to taste): 1 ounce of
extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar or extra sour
kombucha, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon sea salt or other full-array
salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, 1 garlic
clove, chopped and crushed.(Hot pepper optional.) Put all in a glass
jar with a cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 day. Liquid
can be re-used to marinate more onions.
Scrambled eggs with fried
potatoes and onions
Slice potatoes and fry in hot lard in a baked enamel or cast iron
skillet. Add onions and continue cooking until both potatoes and onions
are cooked. Scramble some eggs (you can add pieces of bread to the egg
if you want), then add to the potato mix and fry until eggs are cooked.
sauce. To make a creamed
Take 2 tablespoons butter, lard or tallow, 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2
teaspoon salt and 2 cups milk. Melt butter in baked enamel saucepan
over low heat. Add flour and salt, stirring constantly until smooth and
frothy. Cook about 3 minutes stirring often to prevent browning.
Gradually stir in milk. Increase heat to medium and simmer, stirring
constantly, until mixture is smooth, thick and boiling.
Fried egg sandwich
Fry an egg in lard, bacon grease or other animal fat. Place on bread.
Add salt and pepper. Mayonnaise optional.