Mid Century Cooking

Upon moving back to PA, I had a chance to unpack the many cookbooks I’ve collected from days passed. My collection is mostly first editions from the 60’s and 70’s, and I’m amazed at the things I find in them, and what they tell me about the grocery stores of the era.

A standard preamble in almost all these books details the lack of choice cuts of beef, or butchered chicken, or pork. The meat department of grocery stores back in the day just didn’t have the choices we have now. Cooking with fresh herbs, or even fresh veggies, was nonexistent in the 70’s books!

A fellow author on Facebook (Jason Thompson) posted his thoughts on the insane lack of anything fresh in his mother’s 60’s cookbooks. It turned into a crazy informative thread that brought up things that I hadn’t considered. Women joining workforce meant less time to shop and prepare; lack of safe national food transit kept most fresh goods seasonal; the need to cook with food products developed during WWII–this lead to mention of aspic and gelatin. The best part of the night was discovering the 70’s Dinner Party.

Good times.

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