Dishes made during the Great Depression…

Our nation right now is going through a tough time. Seeing the toll this has taken on many, I couldn’t help but read up on how others have managed in the past to get through these difficult times. Of course, I came across a lot on how people survived with food during the Great Depression, which I found so interesting!! Instantly, I too decided to try some of these recipes. Some were delicious! Some not quite so…

This was called “Poor Mans Meal” which actually may have been my favorite of all! Pan fried potatoes, sliced hotdogs and a can of tomato soup. The only thing missing was some peppers and then you’ve got yourself an Italian hotdog! Of course I loved this!!

Poor Mans Meal

Depression stew (also called Hoover stew) consisted of really any type of macaroni with stewed tomatoes and then a meat. Usually hotdogs, fried bologna or canned ham, as they were all cheap. I used elbow macaroni, stewed tomatoes, peas and spam. Yes, spam. That was the 1st time I ever opened a can of spam! I much rather would’ve had fried bologna instead. This dish, minus the spam, wasn’t really that bad!

Depression stew.. Pretty good!

Potatoes were cheap and easy to grow so they were used a lot. Cream of potato soup stretched a long way! Literally just boiled a few peeled potatoes in just enough water to cover them, slightly mashed them up right in the water, added a splash of milk, S&P and that was pretty much it! Added scallions and bacon too of course.. So good!!

I have bacon in mine.. Bacon makes everything better. Ok, mine might be a little too fancy..

Applesauce was easily stretched in dishes as well. Applesauce cake being a popular one. Very easy to make and very tasty too!

Stays soft when it’s pre-sliced and placed in a ziplock

Here’s the recipe I used…

Creamed chipped beef and peas.. Apparently, also known as “S*** on a shingle” in the military back then.. Whisk together butter, flour and milk until thickened in a sauce pot. Add a jar of Hormel dried beef. It’ll soften up. Add peas and pour over toast! I must say, this was really not that bad!

Now, I didn’t attempt to make this one… I figured I’d share the recipe for those who may be willing to try! Haha! I give you, peanut butter stuffed onion 🧅 Yikes!!!

Rice was also a budget friendly ingredient that would go a long way. Rice pudding was made often. They called it “sweetened rice” back then..

Not my best rice pudding moment.. Tasty though!

I found this recipe to be interesting because there aren’t many recipes out there that we use with grapes. Grape Pie seemed to be a popular dessert during that Era. Grapes were easily available during that time.

Almost a jelly type consistency. A bit of tartness to it but, not terrible.. Boil about 2 cups of grapes with a little bit of water til they burst, remove from heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 3 tbsp flour and 3 tbsp melted butter. Mix well and pour into pie pan. Bake @425 for 25 minutes. Serve completely chilled

Other things I found interesting… Dandelion salad was made because everyone had dandelions they could pick from their yard. Water pie which was basically pie crust filled with water, flour and sugar and came out as just a “sweet pie”. Plain mayo or just ketchup sandwiches would be eaten as well.

Looking at these survival recipes, I have nothing but admiration for those who have managed to get through those difficult times. In the end, we will all survive. Stay strong and you too will get through this! God Bless 🇺🇸

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    This sounds better than what I ate as a kid and I grew up in the 60’s 😂

    1. tmartino says:

      Thx! I even tried to go as least fancy as possible 😂

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