Wednesday, January 25, 2023

What we ate Back in the Day!

 I guess this kind of goes along with yesterday's post of finding new ways to use what you have.
When I was growing up, my folks didn't have a lot of money, so we didn't get a lot of specialty store bought stuff.  I came along 10 years after the other kids - so they really had it rougher.  Mom had a lot more to feed then!!!!
Mom's grocery budget was $15 from my first memory.  Then at some point (I think in my teens) it got raised to $25!  She sure did a good job of shopping wisely and feeding us all well.
There never a Sunday that I can remember that there wasn't a lot of extended family that just SHOWED UP right at dinner time!  They all got fed - even if mom didn't. She would just say, "I'm not hungry".

We had a lot of basic meals.  I also have heard the stories of my siblings about some of the super BUDGET meals.  We ate what there was and we were always full.

I remember that most Sundays the meal was fried chicken and all the sides.
Saturday evenings was always hamburgers, homemade French fries or homemade baked beans.

My siblings remember when things were at the end of the groceries and they ate simply.  Bowls of cornbread topped with milk, was an end of the month food.  A big pot of beans also was kept going on the wood stove. (I don't remember the wood stove).  They ate simply, but never went hungry.
When the siblings were growing up - there were chickens and rabbits and a couple goats.  I missed all that!!!!!
We can do the same - but people seem to think they are being deprived today.  I find that kind of sad.

Click on picture to enlarge.  Cake - no eggs, milk or butter needed.  Called depression cake.

What we ate a lot of:
Spaghetti - homemade sauce (not always w/meat)
Tomato soup (homemade) and a sandwich
Chipped beef gravy over toast or biscuits/scones - I still love that
Oatmeal (a lot) - I think why I don't like it today
Rice pudding
PBJ - sandwiches used homemade bread
Tuna casserole
Soup beans
Veggie soup or potato soup
Potato pancakes w/leftover potatoes
Fish - daddy would catch
Lots of biscuits/scones
We ate many a tomato or cucumber or onion sandwiches (still a fav) in the summer
ALL things that were grown in the 1/4 acre garden. Mom froze and canned
We had grapes, raspberries and fruit trees
Chicken and noodles was a real treat - mom made the noodles from scratch (Mmmmm)  I miss those
Fried cornmeal mush

ALL sweets were homemade.  I truly think I was in my teens before I had store bought cookies!
Mom made cake, pie, cookies, candy, popcorn balls, cobblers, you name it!!!!!!  We LOVED it!
Popcorn was an evening snack (dad grew it in the garden).  If mom was in the mood, she made homemade potato chips.  They were such a wonderful treat.

Bologna was cheap back then - so once in a while there would be bologna sandwiches and daddy loved fried bologna.  A treat.
Baking goods and meat was about the extent of what mom bought at the store.  NO canned soups or veggies or fruit.  We used what we grew.  The meals were often very heavy on veggies, with just a small serving of meat.
When I was little we didn't have chickens (they did with the other kids), but we had a neighbor who raised chickens - there was always trades for meat and eggs.
There was NO fast food or restaurants - maybe a drink if we were on a trip.  We took food with us.  No junk food, other than homemade things.  No soda pop on a regular basis (that was a treat).

Life was simple - we were well fed - and we never complained or really knew any different.  That was how most people around us ate as well.
MAYBE if people could let go of their ego's, they would see that one can survive and survive well on a whole lot less.  
I think if many people cut out the junk food, the convenience foods and all those specialty drinks, they could save a bundle.

Even when funds were slim - we had a good life.  I am so glad I was raised the way I was.  It made me appreciate a lot of the simpler things in life.  
I like simple and slow paced.
Just a step back in time.

There are many beautiful reasons to smile and be thankful.


  1. Your comments really reminded me of my childhood as well. When I was in high school I lived with my grandmother and great aunt. And food was home cooked and simple, I also don’t remember store bought cookies or chips unless I went to a friends home ;). I think the home cooked meals weren’t due to a lack of money, they were from a lifetime of frugal living that started during the depression. Now when I check out at the grocery store, I am astonished at the prevalence of packaged meals and snacks and the lack of ingredients. A different way to spend money indeed. So much spending behavior is unconscious, I don’t think people perceive the real cost of eating out versus packaged dinners versus cooking, it is just a lifestyle (just like I grew up eating and cooking at home). Hilogene in Az

    1. I know we lacked a lot of money - but, yes, there was just a sense of being frugal and using all things up. Be responsible with what you have.
      I see the same at the groceries. So many convenience foods and pop and chips and junk. These are, I guarantee you, the same people moaning about not having enough money!!!!!! It amazes me. I am glad we look at it differently - as we all eat so much better than those other folks.

  2. Cheryl, so many people today have entitlitis. I've heard of food pantry recipients insisting that they get only brand name stuff, toy drive fits over the color of a bike, etc. My brother commented that the food pantry recipients were driving way nicer cars than the volunteers.
    I think that if we ever fall into another Depression, it's gonna be too ugly to imagine. Most people on aid live way fancier than we do. When I tell my brother what we don't have (like cable or a flat screen), or how much we pay for healthcare, he's gobsmacked!!

    Anyway, my quilting group had some 90 yr. olds when I started and we all talked regularly about the old days, WW2, etc. One talked of how they grew their own potatoes and ate them every single day. Eggs for breakfast every morning. And that meat was a huge cause for excitement! The meat? A single hot dog. She said her mom would slice it razor thin and cook it in pancakes. Another said that they received a wedding gift of a box of unlabeled can goods! Some would pick some wheat stalks and eat the seeds? on the walk home from the school bus. I loved listening to their tales of yore. And they could all relate to the stories from each other.

    1. I believe you have hit on the WORD! It just amazes me - how did this happen? How did people get the feeling that they are so special? I don't understand. I am happy and humbled to have a roof over my head, and any food to eat.
      I have no smart phone or smart TV. My TV is flat - but older and it works fine. I have a flip phone. I don 't want the other crap.
      I find myself to be so fortunate - and would never think I deserve what others have. I just all baffles me.

  3. My parents refused to get into debt, so my dad drove an older car (my siblings got much grief about that but I never did), we ate simply, my mum made A LOT of our clothes, even though she worked full time and there was nothing spare. They did pay cash for the house though.
    We only had a bottle of fruit squash if we were ill! Otherwise we drank water, desserts were practically never served, maybe a rice pudding very occasionally, no chocolates or sweets, no fancy breakfast cereals. My mum did sometimes make crisps (potato chips) and we loved them, but they were a rarity. We did eat lots of stews, soups, always a roast dinner on Sunday and we HAD to eat everything, no excuses, no separate meals for anyone. I never felt deprived.
    My dad kept chickens, so we had plenty of eggs and chicken (funnily my mum was not fond of chicken).
    Simpler times and definitely better.

    1. Our parents sound much the same. Daddy applied for a CC when I was 18 - they were going to finely take a vacation and wanted a little cushion for any emergency. He was declined 3 times - because he had paid cash for everything all his life!
      Yes, you ate what was on the table or you didn't. No special meals at all. No fancy foods or cereals. It was eggs, oats, or maybe pancakes for a treat at breakfast.
      It is amazing how well we all turned out - because folks today would think we were so deprived.
      We thrived and did well!

  4. Homemade food, even simple dishes, is ever so much better than anything that comes from a box or a restaurant. I remember my dad giving my mom $5 for groceries. They had a big garden and she canned and froze the harvest. Sodas were unheard of except for ginger ale or 7-Up (back before the formula was changed and ruined) for tummy upsets. There was no wasting food and throwing it out. I probably have told this story before but maybe someone hasn't heard it. ha! When I worked in an elementary school, I would have lunch room duty and the kids will talk about how "Daddy got drunk", dad's boat and other toys and watching shows on cable TV. As I was the school secretary I knew that everyone of those children were on free lunch and free books. The school served breakfast also and come to find out some of the children didn't eat breakfast at home because they didn't like what was was served. I can just imagine how it is now. It is a matter of priorities.

    I'm watching the snow pick up again. It stopped for a brief while. The libraries are all closed today and I imagine the schools too. Was hoping we could skate by with little or no snow. Stay warm, my friend!

    1. Grrrr - isn't that something about the kids and their parents. You know I don't think there was such a thing as 'free' lunches for some when I was in school. The meals were pretty cheap for the week and milk at recess was 4 cents! If you couldn't afford the meal plan, you took your lunch. That is how it was - but if someone had nothing, they still ate. They were never turned away.
      Yes mam - priorities!

      The snow has slowed quite a bit here - it came down pretty hard for a while. It is so sloppy and slushy out. More slush than snow. I figured it would be that way - just too warm.

  5. Soda pop and chips were a special treat we sometimes had on camping trips. Family parties they always made a big punch bowl of punch, grandma would make homemade candy and cookies and store them in coffee tins as party treats but somewhere in the 1980s it started to change. My little cousins wanted soda instead of punch. My friends would stop and buy bottles of Pepsi or Coke on our way to church as their breakfast drink. Store bought/processed foods just became more common. Mom went to work and didn't have time to can up the garden anymore. Everyone started wanting the KFC instead of the homemade.. and it's progressed to today where our shelves are full of processed foods and less basic ingredients.

    1. I can see that happening. Things were more available and things changed.
      Mom never did buy much processed food even when alone. She made a big dinner on Sunday for all of us - and then ate on that most of the week. I do have some store canned goods and chips around - but try to still stick to from scratch.

  6. Sweet (and timely) post, Cheryl. Over the years I've come to realize it can be an emotional issue and, in many cases, a reaction to what you grew up with. While my grandmothers lived through both the Depression and WWII rationing, stretching food throughout their lives and relying on frugal habits, my parents didn't. The same is true of Hub's family. We never had spaghetti without meat, for example, during our childhoods. Or a supper of beans. Our mothers never canned anything and grew flowers rather than produce in the garden.

    When my parents divorced, though, and mom moved from one coast to another, we were broke. Enough that one of my older cousins moved in with us to help pay the rent. That's when I had to quickly learn how to cook on a tight budget. I was 13. My maternal grandmother's frugality was invaluable to me at the time. We were walking distance to both the bank and a grocery store; sometimes I'd deposit my mom's paycheck for her, with instructions for cash to be used for the groceries for the week. It was "basic training" for the rest of my life. There wasn't any soda or chips or other unnecessary stuff when I went shopping; $25 had to get as many basic foods as possible. Bread. Eggs. Milk. Peanut butter. Jelly. Fruit. Meat. 4/$1 store brand mac-n-cheese. Rice and/or potatoes. Cereal for my younger brother. Coffee. Mom didn't eat breakfast, and I stopped eating it myself at that time. Eventually I learned to make pancakes on the weekends. Where before we'd eaten out regularly, pizza delivery became a treat and dinner out was reserved for birthdays or special occasions. When she remarried (I had a job by then), it went back to what it was, but we ate out much more often. I still cooked dinner on nights I was home. Pop didn't like budget meals of Spam, though, so I learned to cook bigger.

    I guess my point is many folks today didn't grow up with a "frugal in the kitchen" mindset. Many of my sons' peers grew up eating out more often than they ate at home. Cooking skills weren't passed down, either, since most moms were working full time. 2020 was a shock to millions who'd never *had* to eat exclusively at home, let alone shop for food with a tight budget. It's why your blog is so important! There may be silent readers here learning for the first time how to eat well and make ends meet, without any stigmas attached. What a true blessing! It warms my heart. --Elise

    1. First - thank you for your kind words.
      I cooked when mom went back to work (I was in junior high/high school). Didn't have to every night - but often. It was good training.
      I realize things changed over the years - it is just sad. I cannot imagine living any other way. If I won the lottery tomorrow - I would live the same - except I would gift more.
      Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. I grew up on a farm, though other than chickens for a couple of years, we didn't have livestock. Mom had a huge garden and she continued that trend even when we kids had grown and moved away. She just gave away the excess. We picked berries, wild and tame, and she canned or frozen mounds of vegetables and fruit.
    Fried bologna was about the only thing Dad knew how to cook, so when Mom had to be away occasionally, we had that.
    Sundays at our house were like yours, extended and friends showing up for a meal. Mom could stretch a roast further than anyone I ever met. The veg always came from the canned/frozen items, except for creamed corn which we had once in awhile. She did eat though, unlike your Mom.
    We didn't have pasta often as Dad didn't like it, though he would occasionally eat mac and cheese. He was the same way with rice. AND there had to be bread and butter at every meal for him. Casseroles weren't his fave either, and he could spot a piece of chopped celery in one a from a mile away. A slight exaggeration...but his pickiness made things more difficult for Mom.
    Some of my favorite meals were Mom's baked beans (done in the bean pot), she made a wonderful potato salad, homemade burgers, fresh corn from the garden, and baked apples.
    Saturday was grocery/errands/library day in the nearby town. In the summer we'd get a Revel or soft icream for a treat on the way home. Dinner was either fish and chips or pancakes (the latter, my Mom wouldn't eat).
    Your post has brought back so many memories for me. Thanks!

    1. Glad you got to reminisce some.
      Dad liked everything, as he grew up with basically nothing. So he ate everything. Good thing he liked spaghetti - that became my specialty! LOL
      The bean pot - I remember that. Sure made some great beans.
      Thanks for sharing.

  8. Didn't mean to write a book here, but to offer encouragement to anyone reading, those skills learned during my lean teen years made 2007-2011 much easier to handle. Grass came out and a vegetable garden went in. I learned to can, making all of our own jam. It was an invaluable opportunity, too, to teach my sons. Some of our favorite family meals--like sausage, potato, apple and cabbage skillet dinner--were "invented" at that time, just using what was on hand. Eggs were $5+ per dozen then (yes, they were where we lived), and both sons learned to make a quiche with 4 eggs, canned milk and hand shredded cheese. Veggies of choice. Not only can it be done, it can be FUN. --Elise

    1. Love it. It sounds like your boys had a good roll model. I have gone through very lean years a few times, and they sure were beneficial! Sounds nuts - but those times definitely made we stronger and wiser.

  9. Same here. We weren't poor, per se, but dad would pay the bills and anything left could be used for groceries. Mom would make a meatloaf for 4 with 1/4 lb ground beef. Soda? Are you kidding???? On Saturday nights sometimes Dad would bring a coke out from the wooden case they came in and have some on ice. Such a treat for me and my sister to get a juice glass of it that he would share from the bottle with us! Just occurred to me, Mom never had any.
    After school snacks are between meal snacks were very limited, but we sure didn't go hungry, just had to eat our meals, and we were not good eaters, so that probably affected lack of between meal snacks too.
    Never felt deprived or insecure. Food was food and it served a purpose and Mom was a very good cook.

    1. I love your last sentence - that says everything in my book!
      One time a year daddy would get a wooden case of Nehi drinks at the hardware store. He would let me help pick the flavors - boy was that process. It had to last all summer and fall. Dad's favorite was grape - and it became mine too. Still is.
      I bet that coke was the best thing!!!! Such a wonderful treat!

  10. I took my mother grocery shopping last night. I was waiting my turn at the deli counter to get something she wanted. The man in front of me was getting sliced roast beef. It was $15.99 a pound!!! He got a pound and a half. I wanted to ask "Are you rich"? LOL.

    I read a book in December I borrowed from the library titled Home Sweet Maison by Danielle Postel-Vinay. The subtitle is the French way of making a home. It's very interesting. She says the French don't understand the concept of snacking between meals. They are horrified if someone snacks because when they gather at the table the expectations is that everyone comes together the same--hungry and ready to enjoy and appreciate the meal.

    She quotes her mother which I think you readers would appreciate: "It is an art to spend like a miser and live like a queen."

    That is what I strive to do. But I don't hide my efforts and my kids and I enjoy swapping tales of our bargaining shopping and frugal efforts. My daughter told me the other day that she feels she has a responsibility to use her resources wisely.


    1. LOVE the quote! That is perfect. It sure can be done with a little forethought. WOW - 15.99 lb. that is crazy. I cannot even fathom spending on anything per lb.
      That makes sense not to eat between meals - yep, everyone would be equally hungry. Makes a lot of sense.
      Your daughter has a wise head on her shoulders!

    2. $16 or about £12.50 would be cheap here! 3 or 4 slices of roast beef would easily cost well over £3. The last time I bought a piece of beef to roast, well over 10 years ago, it cost me about £35. I love roast beef, but I never have it, too dear.

    3. SU - WOW!
      Deli meat is expensive - but 15.99 a lb. is nuts around here. I can get a whole roast for that price - not that I do very often. Beef is pricey.

  11. I don't do much canning any longer, my gardening in this place is poor. So I eat what I grow when I pick it. :) Most of my grocery purchases are basic ingredients - and I've cut *way* back on meat: smaller and fewer servings. But I will not give up milk if I can avoid it, nor eggs, though I'll make those a treat for Sunday breakfast.

    My dad loved to plant a little garden (we didn't have space for anything big) and I remember his fights with the birds for the blueberries! *Always* there would be a bird under the netting! :D

    Soda pop was a rare treat or a medicine for sickness, that's all. I still don't buy the stuff. Nor do I buy cookies and cakes, but I sure see them flying off the shelves. If I need a sweet, a piece of toast with jam is sufficient as a dessert.

    I don't recall having to pay for school lunch. We all ate with the teachers at big tables, family style, big bowls of food to pass around and *fresh hot biscuits* from the kitchen! Oh, that food was so good. That was a little public school out in the sticks in the south. Nobody had money but we sure had great food. Many folks were farmers. Maybe they supplied the school and all the other parents put in money? I don't know.

    At the big school up north, I usually brought my lunch in a paper bag. I bet we were supposed to buy lunch there, but I don't recall ever doing so.


    1. I love toast and jam as a treat. Or a piece of fruit.
      We all got trays with divider plates for our food. It sounds like your lunches would have been wonderful. I bet many a country lady worked on those. I took lunch a lot or walked home in grade school. I lived one block away.
      Love these stories.

  12. I really enjoyed reading today’s post. I love hearing about other people’s childhoods. There was a lot of wisdom and inspiration to be gleaned from it. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. I don’t remember a lot about what we ate before my mom went back to work when I was ten, but I know we ate mostly processed food after. I had good parents and I know they did the best they knew how to do, but looking back, I can’t believe how we ate-very little fruits and veg, frozen pizzas, hot dogs, pop tarts, frozen entrees like Salisbury steaks, lunch meat, tater tots, packaged cookies and so on. While we occasionally eat some of those things now, I try very hard to cook from scratch most of the time for my own kids. I hope that someday, they have the good memories you do of your mom! And some better habits ( I still struggle here unfortunately)! -Andrea

    1. It is fun to learn about other lifestyles and cultures.
      I think we all have that occasional processed food - it is OK.
      Sounds like you figured out home cooking was better! I hope your kids watch and learn. I hope they remember the special things as well. The past is what keeps me going on some days! Good memories are priceless.

  13. I'm so enjoying reading the comments here. My parents always paid cash for a sensible car and truck and drove them til they literally fell apart. Our home was a small little home from the 20s or 30s and paid for. We lived in an older area of course and I was one of the few children from the older neighborhood...My neighborhood was sweet and clean though and now I see that I was the blessed one with a bigger yard, trees and peace and quiet.

    I always remember the Walton episode when the kids came home from school, Mary Ellen and the younger ones and the mom said there was vegetable soup on the stove. The kids went and got themselves a little cup of soup from the woodburning stove top. No packaged stuff!

    We weren't big on fad foods at all, just real food, maybe some ice cream or koolaid. My closet in my room was a coat sized closet and I had a few pair of shoes. They were nice decent shoes, tennis shoes, school shoes and maybe church shoes. A pair of sandals and Easter shoes come spring but I consider myself fortunate. We didn't do name brands either way, whether it was Sakowitz or KMart, we just bought what we needed. I remember in junior high I had a beautiful pair of high waisted pleated navy slacks from I think Joskes or Sakowitz, I wore those same pair of pants so much the seat became faded! lol I still long for another pair of those pants!

    My mom would cut carrots up in l skinny little sticks and put them in water in the fridge (icebox!) and that was a nice healthy snack. I'm always a little surprised when women act as if cutting vegetables to even make dinner is such a hassle...Or they buy nothing but packaged stuff. We don't have to be rocket scientists to see the gimmick with all of that kind of thing right? It is shocking this culture we are in.

    One of our married daughters just put their townhome for sale and you could so see which realtors were spoiled and which were not by comments they left on the little home. It should have been scooped up quickly (my husband is a realtor/broker and thought it would sell very, very quickly) but people are deluded, it's scary, it is being leased now and the realtor who leased it was so shocked that no one grabbed the pretty little home for the great price too...The other realtor who showed interest was also a young lady from a single income family with a stay at home mommy who saved pennies (I knew her mom) We both homeschooled. It's concerning...Many people are just spoiled now-a-days. It's so very sad to me...Is it any wonder people like me have a lack of fellowship?

    Thank you for the cake recipe! I used to make one similar to that, maybe the same one and it always came out soooooo good! Good reading here! : ) Hugs to you, thank you for a wonderful entry.

    1. I loved the Walton's and I remember seeing those episodes. Just good wholesome food.
      Yes, now people spend big money to get carrots and celery and any other number of veggies and fruits all cut up. My goodness, they are expensive. A tiny little tub of watermelon cost more than a whole one (even in winter).
      Greed and dollar signs is what the stores see - and people - well, you got me.
      THIS group and my FB is my main fellowship. I have family and a couple friends from high school that I connect with now and then - but I am mainly a loner. There is a reason for that!
      Glad you enjoyed and shared.

    2. I know how you feel exactly Cheryl...I'm the same way. I think you're wise. Sometimes I hear people talk and share freely what is important to them and I say to myself...Oh dear me... I always get along much better with the WWII generation, I've lost many friends.

      I was tickled once on all the gimick stuff...A woman told me she couldn't cook rice because she didn't own a rice cooker! : O (Not that a rice cooker is necessarily a gimmick but you get me!) lol

      On my neighborhood growing up? Not only did we have WWII vets around but we had a WWI vet we knew, he and his wife were sooo sweet. She knitted me little slipper socks with pom pom balls at the top, made me a popcorn ball and he made me two ballerina plaques that I still have with a Christmas poem. I still have all of it (except the popcorn ball) . Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. A darling silver curly haired man who wore corduroy house shoes and his happy plump little wife would wear her house dresses...So precious. There is a Union soldier buried in the little cemetery there in Seabrook, Texas, you can see a youtube of the cemetery, it's very touching and beautiful. A beautiful waterfront town that nasa moved into and things were not the same because of the "new". A different mentality althogether. We were accepting, but they were not many times. Sad.

      I so get what you are saying! : ) Don't mean to get off on a bunny trail on the vets and the town but oh how I miss that generation who did cook from scratch and all of that...Beautiful hearts, most of them.

    3. That is funny on the rice cooker. Last summer I got rid of a steamer and a rice cooker - because I have pans that do both and even cooks veggies and all kinds of other things!!!!!! LOL
      Less stuff.
      Love the story about the vet and his wife. SO neat that you still have those things.

    4. My brother was a WW2 vet. I miss those folks so much. Many people younger than me are so darn different in outlook and attitude I cannot understand them. Many of my old friends have died, and the remaining ones I love best are pushing 90 years old now. Sometimes it feels a bit lonesome.



    5. MaryB and Cheryl, If you would like to see our family, our daughters ministering to the WWII Greatest Generation, Here is a blog post with 3 links, 2 on our eldest at Pearl Harbor on the anniversary, and our second born at the local store, we love those vets. Cheryl, I hope this is okay? Here is the link you can copy and paste if anyone would like to see the Greatest Generation. I feel a bit lonesome too sometimes MaryB. I hear your heart. Here is my blog with the links:

  14. Great post! Love all the comments, too! I think it’s interesting that my Mom grew up on a farm, but we lived in the suburbs and never had a vegetable garden! My Dad did all the yard work and she did the housework! Typical rolls in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s! However, most meals were cooked from scratch. I do remember having pot pies or fish sticks for dinner on rare occasions and thinking they were a treat! LOL!! Soda pop and potato chips were a rare treat as well, as were hamburgers from a local hamburger stand. I remember having box Mac and cheese for the first time at a friend’s house in the late ‘60s! I always took a sack lunch to school, usually a bologna sandwich. When I got married in the mid ‘70’s and was working full time, I always made dinner, even after being on my feet all day! Going out for dinner was a special treat for “date nights” and not every week! I’d never heard of “take out” food back then! How times have changed! My hubby still likes basic homemade meals like pot roast and homemade soups, etc, so that is how I still cook. We enjoy the leftovers too! (and that way I don’t have to cook every night!)
    It’s been fun and interesting to read everyone’s comments and experiences! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, there were some typical roles in the 50's and 60's - young people today would cringe! I was the same in the mid 70's when I married. My ex thought I was crazy because I ironed EVERYTHING! Mom did - so did I. His mom did not! It truly didn't take a lot of persuasion to get me to stop a lot of that! I did cook supper every night and worked all day too. Those were the times and what we learned.
      Admittedly, I still had supper every night for G when we both worked. Once in a while he would get off early and come home and fix dinner - what a huge treat that was. The crockpot became my friend back then.
      Love the basics - good old comfort food.
      This has been fun reading everyone's responses.

  15. Every few years one of us 4 kids would get it in our heads we wanted to buy the school lunch when school started up in the fall instead of taking a bagged lunch. Well I can tell you that lasted about 2 or 3 days before that kid was telling mom they wanted to go back to her lunches! Mom didn't waste money but she did give us the few coins it cost to try it. I guess she knew we had to experience for ourselves. Mom often used leftovers for our lunches so we'd have meatloaf sandwiches or chicken sandwiches from Sunday's fried chicken stuff like that. She'd buy bologna (I hated it) or boiled ham from the deli but that was it from the deli and that had to be on sale. Our school friends were always a little jealous of our lunches! Besides the sandwich there was always 2 or 3 other things in the bag.

    We went out to eat at a restaurant so infrequently I probably could still name every time we did as it was that unusual! I still prefer to eat at home with my food! LOL...


    1. That is funny about wanting the homemade lunches instead of school lunches. Yours do sound better!!! I bet the kids were jealous!
      I hear ya - I can eat out whenever I want - yet I choose home.

  16. We ate so much like your family and we were not picky. If there was any gravy leftover it was reheated and went on bread for gravy bread at lunch time. Mom could take the most inexpensive ingredients and make a wonderful meal. She had the most delicious way of breading and deep frying inexpensive fish. A few years ago one of our sons took us out to a gourmet seafood restaurant and it was very expensive. Guess how the fish was breaded? Just like my Mom's!

    1. I was a little picky as a kid - but not much. Funny, now I love the things I didn't want back then.
      Isn't that just wonderful that you can say your mom took inexpensive ingredients, and make a wonderful meal. That is a tremendous testimony to her. That is neat.
      Oh my on the fish! Just added verification that your moms was good!

  17. We lived in the city so couldn't have chickens. I do remember Mom going late shopping on a Saturday (stores were closed on Sunday) and buying bread for five cents a loaf and putting it in the freezer.

    We ate what was put in front of us with no complaints, that's for sure.

    God bless.

    1. Can you imagine - stores closed on Sunday! I remember that too. I wish we could go back to that.
      5 cent bread - wow. The good old days.

  18. Cheryl, I was raised the same way, we ate simply but well. I still cook this way although I am also a baker and mom was not, I make bread but mom just didn't have time or the knack for it. I taught myself because yeast baking was just so interesting to me.
    The only time we had soda was on holidays or rare occasions.
    On the 4th of July at my grandparents house it was "anything goes" we could have as much soda, ice cream and watermelon as we could hold.
    I miss those times, I have tried to make the same good memories for my own family.

    1. I love that you live basically the same way as you were raised.
      Oh I bet you loved grandparents house! Sounds fun.
      The good old days. Love that you are making those good memories with your family.

  19. My parents were young adults during the Depression. They were the ultimate recyclers before recycle was a word. The older kids lived on the farm, me mostly in town. I'm the youngest like you, Cheryl. I grew up much the same. We ate a lot of toast and I still love toast. I vowed that when I grew up, I would not wash and reuse the give away plastic bags from the produce department, like my mom did. I do save them, but don't wash and resuse. I save that habit for Ziplocs. Ha! I laugh at myself! Habits learned by Depression era parents are ingrained. The rubber bands from broccoli, newspapers, empty toilet paper rolls, are all saved. I saved the meat trays yesterday for when the chickadees (Grands) paint. Riding bikes, Board games and jigsaw puzzles were our entertainment.
    Central Az

    1. Good phrase - habits learned are ingrained. That they are. It just is good sense. Don't throw things away to the dump - figure out a new use. Just SMART!
      I have so many rubber bands! They sure do come in handy too.
      You are teaching the grands good lessons.

  20. I remember always having roast beef with carrots an potatos after church on Sundays. Mom put it on before we left for services. I remember pots of pinto beans, black eye or purple hull peas that were grown in our garden. There were fried potatos, corn bread and biscuits. Some times there was fried chicken. I do not remember an overload of meats, we had them, just not every meal. Breakfast during the week, oatmeal or cream of wheat, toast. Weekends were for bacon, eggs, pancakes. Nothing fancy, just tasty, stick to your ribs meals. I do know if I could go back and do it over again, I would be happy. These days seems like so many do not know how to feed themselves, cook tasty simple meals. The children these days are living on fast food take out and processed foods. I always cooked from scratch, my son grew up on a well rounded diet. Not to say he never went to McDonalds but fast food was not a go to. You would think that with the state of the economy people would realize it is better to cook at home. No those drive thrus are packed everyday. At least I can sleep at night, knowing the pantry and freezer is full and I have money in the bank.

    1. Lots of stick to your ribs meals!!!!! Comfort food in my book.
      I too, could go back and do it again, and be just as happy.
      Fast food is so expensive and has been for a long time - it is not nutritious - and it is junk for the most part. yet, it is the go to because it is easy. Makes me shake my head.
      It is so nice to have food security right at your finger tips!

  21. I also grew up mainly across the 80's, 5 years in the 70s and a few in the 90s. Small town, NEPA. My mom cooked daily. No restaurant food ever. When my parents divorced and mom worked we were latchkey kids from about age 11 on. We still never ate out. I cooked, I baked also. Mom remarried and I still remember the morning my stepdad wanted to take us to McDonald's for breakfast. Wait!?!? McDonald's does breakfast?? We never knew this as we didn't eat out.

    I got my first job In high school in fast food. I was shocked at how many regulars came in. I went to college in the early 90s and learned there was instant oatmeal and instant potatoes! I had never had anything instant. Mom cooked fresh. My grandparents too.

    I'm soooo fortunate to have grown up this way. My kids are now 16-22 years old. They cook and bake. The pandemic was easy for us in terms of stay home and's what we normally do! They were shocked a bit by friends who had parents who didn't know what to do. How to cook etc. They often say thank you mom for teaching me!

    It is so expensive to eat out. We find a recipe and look it up and make it! Restaurant meals we had once and loved, bread we like, etc.

    Sorry I've written a book here! Jackie

    1. I love to hear someone younger than many of us say the same things! That makes me happy. You learned wonderful lessons and are passing them on.
      I think the pandemic was nuts for many reasons - and you mentioned a great one. People had to learn a bunch of new things or eat junk. I never worried about a thing, because I didn't live differently at all. I never worried about TP! I always have more than enough!
      When I hear people say "I can't cook" - I ask if they can read. If you can read and follow instructions, you can cook.
      Thanks for a younger perspective.

  22. One more addition, my grandparents and mostly my paternal grandma, grew up smack in the depression. She was born in 1926. I was lucky to care for her her last 10 years of life and the many stories and history she passed on to me is invaluable. She passed a few yrs ago at 94. The irony of it all is she hated cooking and didn't cook a thing after her kids left the house in the 70s! She worked until age 85! She was one of the most progressive, Down to earth thinkers I may ever meet. I'm trying very hard to be her :)

    1. She sounds like a wonderful woman. What a great role model. I am glad you got to have such a close relationship with her. That is worth more than gold!