24 Classic Great Depression Era Recipes
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The Great Depression caused many hardships, but the cuisine of the time certainly didn't suffer! These 24 Classic Great Depression Era Recipes are proof that food from the 1930s is worth bringing back again. People at the time were forced to discover creative ways to use food efficiently, resulting in some very delicious and cheap dishes. Rice, beans, and cheese were major sources of protein, instead of meat, which was much more expensive. Of course, people didn't go entirely without meat. Oftentimes substitutes for popular meats like spam or bologna were used instead. When families did get their hands on their favorite meats, it was a real treat, and they would prepare the meat extraordinarily well.
Check out the video below for a delicious applesauce cake dessert that would have been a true hit and classic great depression recipe!
Table of Contents
Side Dish Ideas
These side dishes are packed with protein and flavor, so your whole family will love eating them. You could even serve some of the recipes as a hearty lunch, like Amish Church Soup and Hungry Hobo Beans. Make sure to try Grandma's Zucchini Squares, too - they're a great way to use up your leftover zucchini, and they serve as both the vegetable and the bread components of your dinner.
For more vintage recipes you'll remember, try our collection: 30 Charming Old Fashioned Recipes
Old-Fashioned Dinner Recipes
These are some of the best frugal dinner recipes out there. All of the dishes are filling, easy to make, and delicious. Even if they use meat, it's in the most efficient way. You'll love eating these classic meals after a long day. Your family will ask for them again and again!
Traditional Dessert Recipes
I have a well-kept secret for you: the best Depression-era recipes are actually the desserts. Egg-less cakes are the big draw of this era (don't worry - they taste fantastic without eggs!). But, the 1930s Banana Cake is definitely the best, with mashed bananas and buttermilk in the recipe to make the cake ultra moist.
Great Depression Era Food Facts
1. Milk was considered a highly nutrient-rich food source and was either incorporated into most dishes or served as a beverage.
2. Italian immigrants were said to have eaten Dandelion greens, sauteing them with olive oil, during this time and were, in hindsight, one of the healthiest classes of people. They didn't eat much meat, because of how expensive it was at this time, and instead, filled up on delicious pasta dishes, which happened to be quite nutrient rich.
3. Relief meals were purposely made bland in an effort to force people to get jobs in order to become "excited about food" again. The thought was, if people were not excited about their meals, they would work harder in order to buy the spices and condiments that would make eating something to look forward to again.
4. Preparing one-dish suppers and attending potlucks were how people during the Great Depression were able to have fun and share food.
5. Some women were known to use the wrappers on margarine to butter their baking pans.
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