Could You Stomach These Depression Era Meals?

These meal ideas are certainly creative!

The Great Depression brought out the strength and resiliency of millions of people, as well as their ingenuity and creativity. This impacted every area of life for those living during The Great Depression. From clothing and shoe repair to toys for the little ones. Food, however, is where things got really interesting. There are some things that are still staples today, like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. There are, of course, some other meals that we probably won’t be bringing back anytime soon. Are you brave enough to try one of these recipes?

6. Corned Beef Salad

This might not sound that strange at first, until you realize this “salad” is composed of mayonnaise, jello, horseradish, corned beef, and vegetables, among other things. Mix it all together, plop it in a mold, and let it sit in the fridge to harden up. This would be the equivalent to a crock-pot meal today, only served up cold instead of warm. Yikes!

5. Dandelion Salad

You know times were tough when people had to eat weeds. Nowadays, a dandelion salad might sound like something served at that hip, vegan bistro down the road, but back in the Depression-era, this was a necessity. To make this salad, people would dig up dandelions and discard the roots and flowers. Then, they would soak the leaves in clean water and rinse several times. Finally, they would put the leaves in a bowl and toss with whatever sort of dressing they had – lemon juice, olive oil, etc.

4. Hoover Stew

Hoover Stew, named after the president who took office right before the crash, was a staple for many people who lived in shanty towns or Hoovervilles during the Great Depression. The recipe relied on macaroni, canned tomatoes, and hot dogs. Since meat was such a scarcity, hot dogs were very popular as one of the cheapest forms of meat available at the time. The recipe varies but usually had at least the macaroni, tomatoes, and hot dogs as a base. Then, you could throw whatever canned veggies you had available to spread it out and serve as many people as possible.

3. Peanut Butter Stuffed Onions

All culinary common sense and taste preferences were thrown out the window during the Depression-era. Instead, people opted for things that had high caloric and nutritional value. Thus, the baked onion stuffed with peanut butter was born. People mostly got the ideas for these recipes from reading magazines which were full of recipes pushed by the Bureau of Home Economics. The magazines also encouraged people to get creative and stretch their budget as much as possible.

2. Prune Pudding

As you can imagine, desserts were not a priority during the Depression-era, as just getting enough food to survive often proved to be a difficult task. However, sometimes people just have a hankering for a sweet snack. Chocolate was out of the question, so naturally, people turned to prunes to fill the void. Prune pudding consists of boiled prunes, sugar, and cornstarch. It was served in the White House as an act of solidarity with “the people who are suffering” in the streets.

1. “Sandwiches”

These sandwiches were nothing like the sliced meat and cheese sandwiches we’re used to. It was more of a, “whatever you can find to stick between two slices of bread” type of a sandwich. Some popular choices of the day included onion sandwich, ketchup and mayonnaise sandwich, sugar sandwich, and bacon grease sandwich.

Click Next Page to see 5 Depression-era recipes you can make today!