In my Tuesday mailbox full of supermarket flyers and fast food coupons was a booklet published by local grocery chain (Ralphs, a division of Kroger). That booklet contained an interesting article called “A Look Back: A Long History of Helping Customers Eat and Live Well.”
The 1933 article contained “helpful suggestions in the psychology of training the child to eat his food readily and regularly—which will mean ‘mealtime happiness’ for all. It will help you, too, in laying the foundation of good food habits by which the child may become healthy and remain happy.”
Each year, thousands of customers would write to the newsletter editor (Kroger’s home economist) asking for recipe advice. The result was a periodic mailer containing recipes that appeared on Kroger canned goods, along with other relevant advice. Here are a few items that still hold true today (or do they?):
On Creative Presentation: Try serving the vegetable prepared a different way—spinach with mashed potato, or carrots served on toast and called ‘golden food on a boat.’
On Serving Vegetables: Avoid making too much fuss over it. Even babies become suspicious if we make too much of an event of a new taste.
On Leading by Example: A father, who says frankly that he “hates spinach,” or that “cream sauce tastes like glue,” or that “spaghetti looks like white worms,” will make any child avoid those foods.
On Setting Good Habits: When he does not eat, do you prepare the dessert he likes or cook special foods? If so, you are paying him not to eat foods regularly served at dinner.
I just love the look of these old-time-y booklets, and just wanted to share one last thing from this periodical. Here are sample dinner and supper menus. Enjoy!
Typical dinner menus:
- scrambled eggs, creamed cabbage, peanut butter and chopped celery sandwich, milk, chocolate cornstarch pudding
- broiled meat cakes, creamed potatoes, spinach, bread and butter, milk, junket
- meat and vegetable stew, lettuce, toasted rolls, milk, raw or cooked pears
- liver loaf, buttered carrots, diced apples on lettuce, bread and butter, milk, fruit pudding
Typical supper menus:
- creamed spinach on toast, cottage cheese on lettuce, bread and butter, milk, fruit gelatin
- baked potato, buttered string beans, bread and butter, milk, sliced bananas
- sieved lima beans with bacon, baked tomato, bread and butter, milk, apple sauce
- cream of vegetable soup, toasted rolls, celery strips, milk, baked custard
What’s the common thread here? Milk and bread with butter, plus dessert at every dinner. Supper was a lighter meal and consisted of a vegetable, bread, milk and dessert. How many kids in 1933 were eating lima beans pushed through a sieve? That must have looked terribly appealing.