Far be it for us to pass judgement on the foods that folks ate during the Great Depression. All manner of ingredients were subbed for more expensive or hard-to-find foods. Some of these dishes have become family favorites that have passed down through the generations (tuna casserole, anyone?). Others though, don’t sound appetizing in the least. Here are 5 of the most unusual recipes we’ve seen from the Great Depression.
5) Spaghetti with Carrots in White Sauce
This dish was promoted by various government agencies (like the Bureau of Home Economics) and even touted by First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, as an economic dish. The bland white sauce, made with milk, did little to flavor the pasta or carrots.
4) Split Pea Pancakes
This World War I recipe was brought out again during the Great Depression as a money-saving dish. With the addition of spices, we can imagine this as a savory dish. Like so many other recipes of the ’30s, this dish might have been served with tomatoes or a savory sauce if the ingredients were on hand.
3) Corned Beef Fritters
Anything can be made into a fritter! But, you just don’t see corned beef fritters much these days. It’s a great way to use up the leftovers and they certainly didn’t waste anything.
2) Meatless Loaf
This loaf was made with peas, oatmeal, peanuts, rice, and/or cottage cheese depending on the recipe. Later incarnations during World War II (smartly) called for beans as the main ingredient.
1) Peanut Butter in Baked Onions
Another economic recipe that was promoted by the Bureau of Home Economics was baked onions stuffed with peanut butter. These two ingredients were both readily available to even the poor. But, we wouldn’t say that we’d ever thought of putting these together!