“No Longer Does the Holiday Table Groan Under the Weight of Food”

April 30, 2011

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Crown of Frankfurters

This presentation looks at holiday meals during the Great Depression. What traditions were upheld and which were altered to fit the family budget? Many components of holiday meals were simply produced on a smaller scale. But as processed foods like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Spam entered the marketplace, they were incorporated into holiday meals. What did they replace?

Radio shows, cookbooks, and newspaper columns all advised families on ways to trim the budget while still enjoying the festivity of their favorite meals. These media outlets focused on putting your best foot forward while entertaining (even if the crown roast was made of frankfurters).

Whitney Lingle holds a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She has published a chapter on Vietnamese cuisine for a middle school social studies textbook and researches food and culture with a focus on economic and environmental sustainability.

This event was recorded as part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Fourth Annual Symposium “Midwest Eats! Foodways of the Great Depression,” which focuses on the Great Depression’s impact on our culinary traditions.  Other events from this symposium recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:

Midwest Eats!  Foodways of the Great Depression
Nightclubs and Bread Lines: Depression Era Foodways On Film
Templeton Rye of Iowa: Its History During and Just After the Prohibition
This Land is Whose land?
John Drury, Ace Chicago Restaurant Reporter of the 1930s
Community Canning in the Depression: A Case Study
Co-Eds at the Co-op: Student Depression-Era Foodways at Old Normal
Greater Midwest Foodways Heirloom Recipe Competition
No Longer does the Holiday Table Groan Under the Weight of Food
Steaks and Shakes and the Great Depression
Beer Production after Prohibition: Setting the Stage for the Rise of the Mega-breweries
The American (Bad) Dream: Soup Kitchens and European Immigrants in Chicago in the 1930s
Chicago’s Maxwell Street

Recorded Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Kendall College.