Depression era food

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A friend and I were having a conversation last week about depression era foods; although I was not born until after the depression, my grandmother lived through it and the foods that her family ate during that lean period spanned generations because she fed it to her children, her child fed it to me, and I have served it to my own offspring.

Creamed dried beef was a staple of my early childhood. There is another name for it, but this is a family newspaper and besides, it doesn’t sound near as tasty when you call it that bad name. I never knew it was a meal- prepped when there was slim pickins; I just thought it was good. Salmon patties were prepared often during my grandmother’s childhood and mine as well.

Have you ever heard of a tomato soup cake? Sounds odd, tastes delicious. The tomato soup takes the place of eggs, milk and oil in a cake, resulting in a moist, rich crumb.

My favorite depression era food is a butterscotch pudding. This is the recipe that was given to me by my grandmother.

Combine ¾ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and ½ cup chopped walnuts in a heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 ¼ cup scalded milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Beat 4 egg yolks slightly. Add some of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Then stir the egg yolk mixture into remaining hot mixture. Cook, stirring constantly about one minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool well.

Do you have a favorite depression era recipe? I’d love to hear about it. You can email me at

That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week.

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Lindy Sellers
Lover of Home Arts, Home Schooling Mama, Married to my High School Sweetheart, Pioneer Wannabe, Author, Entrepreneur, Podcaster & Blogger. We live on a 12 acre hobby farm in Stanfield, where we are always trying out new things. Home brewing and spinning wool are some of our newest projects. Sometimes we succeed - a lot of times, we don't. Happily sharing my experiences of living this beautiful life!