Yes, I know. The word of the hour is recession but, frankly, I don’t know the difference. Nor do I much care, since I’ve never had much money to lose anyway.

On Tuesday, my cousin Stephanie sent me an odd little collection of cookbooks from the 1930’s– all three of them product-related (Heinz 57, Royal Baking Powder, and Crisco). They made me giddy. And then, out of nowhere, my friend Lyle hands me a book called Cheerio! — a cocktail book from 1930. Published in New York in total contempt for the Volstead Act. If ever there was a time one needed a drink, it was the 1930’s. Unless it was the 1940’s, of course.

On Wednesday, Amy Sherman commented that online traffic to low-cost ingredient recipes has nearly doubled in the past three months.And yesterday? While soaking in a bathtub full of gin before work, I noticed, as I flipped through the pages of Saveur magazine, that this month’s issue is featuring items like Mock Apple Pie, Rabbit Stew, and pasta, pasta, pasta.

In case, you didn’t know, that’s poor people food.

Is the American mindset taking a turn towards the cheap? I think this will be rather fascinating to watch. History repeating itself often is. If one doesn’t mind reruns, of course.

In the meanwhile, I think I’ll just pour myself a Cholera Cocktail, put a little Al Bowlly on the Gramophone, and wait for all this anxiety explode into a delicious panic.

Have a lovely weekend.

Depression (Era) Food 9 April,2008Michael Procopio

  • EB

    What great books! I was reading through cookbooks from the 40’s the other day like MFK Fisher’s How to Cook A Wolf (
    and while the concept of using what little you had was still prevalent there’s a different non-recession feeling of hope in them.

  • Anita

    Michael, if you let me peek at that copy of Cheerio!, I will make you your choice of cocktails from it. 🙂

  • Michael Procopio

    EB– I love How to Cook a Wolf. I’ve read it a couple of times. It has really helped me focus on and appreciate what I have more than what I wish I had.

    Anita– That is a very, very tempting offer!


Michael Procopio

I am terribly fond of martinis, Edward Gorey, and sleeping with many pillows.
You are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter: @procopster

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