From American History si edu. A General Electric Monitor top refrigerator from the 1930s in the museum’s collection. The name comes from its resemblance to the 1860s warship, the USS Monitor. People saw a similarity between the fridge’s exposed compressor and the ship’s cylindrical gun turret.
I only knew one of my grandmother’s that cooked. I loved her dearly, but she vastly over-salted everything she cooked. My engineer mother, who was generous with pepper but not salt, cooked every day with martinis and without enthusiasm. Only years later did I guess she hated cooking preferring architectural constructions to food construction. To compound her cooking failures, she was a product of “the great depression” years.
When I asked my blog readers what their mother’s had cooked, many mom’s cooking also seemed to be a product of the depression. Shop economically, and stretch everything as far as it could be stretched until it yelled. Huffington Post tells us, “The nature of food memories, they aren’t just based on the facts, or our need for survival, but are shaped by the context ― the company, the situation and the emotions involved.”
My grandma Maudie made a truly magic tuna salad. As a child, I paid great attention to how she made this fabulous dish even down to the kind of plate she served it on. Her Thanksgiving stuffing was the best ever too, but how did she get it to taste that good. For years I tried to duplicate her flavors and failed. One year the salt shaker slid out of my hand and the top twisted off dumping all the salt into the unfinished stuffing. I tried hard to get that excess salt out of the dressing. It didn’t work, so I threw up my hands and baked it as it was. When the turkey came out of the oven and I tasted the stuffing, I had one of those emotional, a-ha food moments. It tasted just like Gramma’s.
The 1980 Thanksgiving salty turkey and stuffing backyard picnic.
From ice wells, stone lined ice pits, ice boxes, then electric refrigerators, food storage changed dramatically in the last century. Just prior to WWII, many of the giant department stores like SEARS or Montgomery Wards priced refrigerators within the budget of almost every household. We could now safely store foods for longer periods, and we can use our leftovers rather than discard them. In fact, these new electric refrigerators spawned a new industry of recipes and leftover containers such as the ones from Mr. Tupper.
In the 1950’s, there were giant cold storage plants in many communities. Thinking economy, many housewives bought sides of beef or lamb to feed their families. My mother, thinking very small budget, bought a side of mutton. We ate mutton endlessly that year, alternating with the chicken, duck, and rabbit she raised. She never could kill these small animals, so had the housekeeper do the deed. When they too were gone she never did that again.
We often had “stoop”…split pea soup. We had slow cooked beef stew. By the time I was a teenager stores carried those magical frozen dinners in their aluminum trays. Often my mother and father ate out. Often too we had a tossed green salad. We lived with my grandfather. He was a vegetarian most evenings eating whatever I put in front of him. Most nights, a baked potato and a canned veggie made up his dinner. Sometimes I ate what he did. Sometimes I still do.
Himself: Gaming. Helping me with m7y c3oom7puter.9
Myself: Got a v4irus that sc3rewed up m7y v4irus assoc3iation.9
Reading: M&rs.9 Polifax2 and the C#hinda Station.9
Photo: Top: Am7eric3an History M&useum7.9
Gratitude’s: That G’;s going to restore m7e to default.9