Across the nation, hungry people waited in "soup lines" for a free meal, especially in larger cities. On the farm, growing, tending, preparing, and preserving food took many hours of work. There was no electricity to power refrigerators, so it was difficult to keep milk and other foods fresh, especially during the summer heat.
Yet even during the Depression, many new foods were invented or introduced including:
- Kraft macaroni and cheese
- Toll House chocolate chip cookies
- Good Humor ice cream bars
- Krispy Kreme doughnuts
- Ritz Crackers
- Nestle's chocolate chips.
- And Kool-Aid was invented in Hasting, Nebraska in the late 20s and became a national brand in the 30s.
Also during the 1930s, Colonel Harland Sanders developed a secret formula of spices to flavor the fried chicken at his Sanders Court and Café (motel and restaurant) in Corbin, Kentucky.
Food "disguises" were popular in the 1930s including pigs in blankets, mushrooms made out of cream cheese and "bunny salad" made from a canned pear half. Chicken divan casserole, cherries jubilee, sweet potato-marshmallow surprises, and black bottom pie were very popular during the 1930s.
In towns and cities, some women entertained in their homes, often at an afternoon tea with dainty sandwiches, nut breads, and tiny cookies. Women's clubs met for luncheons of sandwich loaves or creamed meat and vegetables in patty shells. Sugar prices were low, so women created desserts, cakes, cookies, and used marshmallows for the now-favorite Rice Krispie treats.
As more homes were connected to electricity, more people bought refrigerators and freezers. Clarence Birdseye of Massachusetts introduced 26 frozen vegetables, fruits, fish and meats to consumers.
Now, Kool-Aid is an international brand name. How a simple sugar drink became so big is a fascinating story, that you can follow here.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt and Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. First written and published in 2003.