Evolution, Revolution . . . Women & FoodBy Arlene Marshall (TwinLakesChef) on July 1, 2010
|I have fond memories of my Swedish grandmother working in her farm kitchen, always wearing an apron, and a long wooden spoon in hand. Her hands were never idle and she shared many cozy visits with me as she labored. At the age of 10, I was sent to stay with her to help her out. She had broken both of her wrists and could do nothing. I learned from her how to cook, do laundry, clean house and pick eggs.
Working in the kitchen was my grandmother’s job.
Women have always worked, especially those women who are in the minority and those of lower economic levels. In the early years of our country, there weren’t many jobs easily available to women, except domestic positions.
It was the first half of the 40’s and America went to war. Our men joined in battle on foreign lands, and our women went to work in factories. Our nation pulled together, but our women never looked back at the kitchen, or their role in it, the same way again.
Memories of the hard times faced during the Depression faded. That had been a time when most Americans were against women working; they saw it only as women taking jobs from unemployed men. With the advent of World War II when women were needed in the war-related industries, it was still considered only a temporary role for women. Half the women who took war jobs were minority and of a lower economic class who had already been in the workforce. They switched from lower-paying traditionally female jobs to higher-paying factory jobs. The demand for even more women workers eventually pulled in women from all walks of life, a truly amazing experience for women of the time to be working shoulder-to-shoulder with such a diverse group of women.
What kinds of food were available prior to the war?
Armour Meats, Carnation Milk, JELL-O, Fig Newtons, Minute Tapioca, Morton Salt, Post (including Grape Nuts, Post Toasties, & the hot cereal beverage-Postum, Quaker Oatmeal, Shredded Wheat, Welch's Grape Juice, Oreos, Animal Crackers, and how about a stick of Wrigley gum?
When the war was over, women, having experienced a way of life outside the kitchen jumped for convenience foods & convenient appliances. The food manufacturers had these foods in place. Victory Gardens were also abandoned for convenience.
1930 -The Sloppy Joe was born in a Sioux City, Iowa cafe as a "loose meat sandwich", the creation of a cook named Joe...
Remembering the lean pantries of the war years, belly-filling simple meals prepared from pre-packaged goods were popular in the 1950’s. The "typical" American homemaker was convinced to purchase time-saving appliances and serve her family new convenience foods.
Pushing the cart through the market with Tanya & Jennifer riding in the basket became a challenge. TV commercials pumped them up for the trip. "Oh! . . How was I to protect my babies from this junk?!"
And, of course, the food industries are right there to answer our needs if we are willing to spend the money. Mother’s Market, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes, Fresh & Simple. . . are all markets popping up all over our country, rising to the demand for better quality food that doesn’t necessarily require elaborate and laborious preparation.
Eating is a choice and we best be careful about what we choose. Everyday eating should be healthy, sensible and well balanced, so that we can occasionally splurge on something really decadent and over the top.
For your listening enjoyment
|1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, baby boomer, battle, casseroles, cooking school, factories, family, fighting, food, foreign, General Mills, grandmother, industrialization, Jell-O, kitchen, men, pantry, Quaker Oats, Tang, women, World War II|
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Comments and discussion:
|Subject||Thread Starter||Last Reply||Replies|
|Icebox Cookies||TwinLakesChef||Jul 22, 2010 11:51 AM||0|
|Thank you.....||Sharon||Jul 4, 2010 8:45 AM||3|
|You hit the nail on the head||rucky||Jul 4, 2010 8:23 AM||16|
|Did You Know?||TwinLakesChef||Jul 3, 2010 5:20 PM||6|
|You sent me to school!||Maridell||Jul 2, 2010 4:07 PM||8|
|Great article!||Zanymuse||Jul 2, 2010 11:01 AM||2|
|Tripped down Memory Lane||Poochella||Jul 2, 2010 10:40 AM||3|
|Can I Stump YOU?||TwinLakesChef||Jul 2, 2010 7:37 AM||12|
|Wonderful.||Ridesredmule||Jul 2, 2010 7:35 AM||11|
|Thanks for memory timeline!||weeds||Jul 2, 2010 12:59 AM||4|
|Fun Memories!||Boopaints||Jul 1, 2010 7:03 PM||5|