Thursday, February 15, 2018

Delish Depression Desserts

During the depression our ancestors had no choice but to live as frugally as possible,
Many made clothing out of feed sacks and they mended everything.  Hand me downs were common.  Folks often had to do without, and they became masters of stretching the food budgets!
There were a lot of larger families and Moms and Grandmas had to get creative in the kitchen.

They had to come up with recipes that didn't use milk, eggs or butter.  Unless you were a farm family, those items were expensive and rare.  A lot of farm families even got to a point that they did without, as feeding and raising chickens and cows got expensive.

People had soup EVERY week.  Nothing was wasted and bones were turned into broth/stock.
Meat was often replaced with beans - as they were cheaper and filling.
Hunting & fishing were common.  Meat was very expensive and folks took it upon themselves to get their protein.
Gardens and foraging were a must at the time.
Oats, grits and toast/biscuits were a big extender to the food budgets.  They were filling and cheap.

3 1/2 C all purpose flour
2 C sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. & 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C & 2 Tbsp. oil
2 C water
Preheat oven 375*.  Grease 2 - 9" round pans or one 9 x 13.
Blend flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Add in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Whisk till well blended, but do not over beat.
Bake on middle rack for 35 minutes.

2 Tbsp. shortening or lard (could use coconut oil)
3/4 C honey or 1 C sugar
1 - 10 3/4 oz. can of condensed tomato soup
1 tsp. baking soda
2 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 C chopped nuts - optional
**If you don't have individual spices use pumpkin pie spice as substitutes

Mix honey or sugar with shortening.  Add spices and soup and stir until completely blended.  Slowly add flour, b.s, b.p. & nuts.
Preheated oven of 350*
Greased loaf pan.
Bake 1 hour and cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
                                                                Tomato soup loaf cake

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 C sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. white vinegar
5 Tbsp. oil
1 C water.
Preheat oven 350*
Grease an 8" square pan and add first 5 ingredients to the pan.  Make 3 little wells and pour vinegar in one, oil in one, and vinegar in one.  Pour water over entire surface and mix till smooth.
(Just one pan - no dishes!)
Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

**NOTICE none of the recipes have eggs, butter or milk in them.  You could substitute gluten free flour today to aid in the new dietary restrictions many have.

I know my Mom got very creative when I was little, but my siblings (who are older) say it was amazing the things Mom came up with, when they had no money.
I have heard them talk about having corn bread in milk for breakfast (or lunch).  Oats were always on the menu.  Pancakes and waffles were a real treat.
I remember one of my favorite treats was peanut butter & syrup (usually cheaper than honey) mixed together and eaten on homemade bread or with saltine crackers.  Sugar/cinnamon toast was another favorite.  I still love those things!

We would always have some sort of sweet that was homemade.  Popcorn was a staple (made on the stove)!  Another favorite treat was homemade potato chips!

We had very little money, but never felt deprived.  I think the creative depression era women sure knew how to get creative and stretch a budget.
We all need to take lessons.

ENJOY the cake recipes!!


  1. I remember sugar and cinnamon toast and I still love it. Or brown sugar sandwiches.

    1. YUM!!! Never had a brown sugar sandwich - but I would try it!!
      Love me a tomato and onion sandwich in the summer!

    2. I am still a cinnamon toast kind of girl!

  2. Thanks for the recipes. I have made crazy cake before, and it was good. I have never heard of tomato soup cake though. Does it taste tomatoey? :D

  3. We used to eat peanut butter and syrup quite often. It was aunt jemimias. I don't remember when I first tasted real maple syrup. I've never heard of tomato cake though sounds like something good to try. We had chocolate gravy a lot and loved it. My husband know he came from the hills of ky. The way he tells it they thought if they had Bologna they had meat.

    1. Mmmmmm chocolate gravy on biscuits!
      Oh we used Aunt Jemima's as well or homemade syrup. I was an adult before I tasted the real thing.
      I still like a bologna sandwich!

  4. One of my favorite treats growing up was a big bowl of popcorn with salt. My dad taught me how to make it in the big dutch oven pan and it became my job to make it. We did not put butter on it because butter was really expensive. We did have margarine in the house but Dad liked it with just salt so that is how we had it.

    1. Sounds good to me. I think we probably had butter or something on ours, but not sure.
      Isn't it neat how food is one thing that always brings back sweet memories?

  5. I am sure they were much more creative and thrifty than we are now days. We are a spoiled lot! Nancy

    1. Yes mam we are spoiled. Many of the younger generation think if you can't buy it, it can't be had!
      I wish we would all get back to being more creative.

  6. Peanut butter and syrup are very good mixed together. I like to serve that when I make banana pancakes. :)

    1. Oh yummy! That sounds wonderful.
      Will definitely try that one.