Food I’m Pretty Sure You Never Thought Of
First of all, let me say that I am not ignoring the recent string of terrible events, but unlike all the “experts,” I believe that it’s okay not to know what to say about them. I don’t feel qualified or compelled to hand out opinions and advice. So I do my volunteer work, count my blessings, write my emails to my representatives, learn things, and share bright moments. I hope you will find this post to be a bright moment in your day.
As I go through our family archives, I am finding plenty of items related to food, some of them a little unusual.
This family kept all of the children’s school work. Here is a public health poster from about 1937. I like the way it looks like our model student, my future father-in-law, didn’t quite put his usual effort into this poster. He just slapped on two pictures and spent all his time coloring in the letters.
But, being a typical boy, he did find a way to incorporate guards and weapons.
The cow is Carnation Ormsby Butter King, the World’s Champion Cow, on exhibition at the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas, October of 1936. (I have no idea why someone would name a cow “King” instead of “Queen.”)
The concept of a turreted armored car to carry milk around is bizarre. My own grandfather was a milkman, and I know that his real milk delivery “men” were my dad and his brother, at about 5 or 6 years of age, placing the milk on doorsteps every morning before school.
My husband says he vaguely remembers something about milkmen starting to wear military-type uniforms at this time, to build up public confidence in milk. I have found some stories about fears over milk from tubercular cows in the 1920s, but I have not been able to find a particular milk scare around the middle ’30s, so I don’t know what prompted this campaign.
Okay, this next one has got to be the weirdest item in all the many boxes.
This is a marketing magazine for meat retailers. Why we have this, I have no idea. Three generations back, one ancestor did own a store, but he had died a decade before this was published. And normally, if someone subscribed to a magazine, they kept years’ worth of issues. We have just this one lone issue.
Inside the magazine, we learn that the Zippered Chicken is meant to catch customers’ eyes. This paragraph befuddles me: “A zippered chicken is designed primarily to keep the stuffing from tumbling out. However, this particular capon was cut open wider than would ordinarily be needed to secure better picture effect and to make the zipper more apparent.”
This doesn’t clear up anything at all! Was such a thing actually sold? It seems like a zipper right there would actually cause the stuffing to tumble out. I am just as confused as I was before I read the article. And Googling “Zippered Chicken” just gets you a bunch of ads for handbags shaped like chickens.
In the same issue, there is a story about a Lucky Elephant display.
“Scholl tells us that all sorts of amusing and interesting displays can be built around this elephant.” I’m getting a vision of the original potato elephant just standing there, shriveling on its carrot legs as the weeks fly by, while the other parts of the display change around it — bell pepper palm trees on celery stalks, morphing into cabbage cars on bridges made of uncooked spaghetti stuck into cherry tomatoes, morphing into a watermelon mountain with a kale forest…
This next item does not give the exact year, but I am guessing 1942. It is from a meat packing company, explaining that deliveries will have to be cut back, to save equipment and tires. I like #3 — “No truck may call at the same place of business more than once during any one day.” That just seems like common sense, not a wartime hardship.
Family members didn’t systematically collect things pertaining to the war, so I don’t know why this was saved, but I think it shows a good example of rationing.
Going ahead in time, we get a fun recipe from 1951, for “Colorvision Cake.” Maybe you couldn’t afford a television, must less a color set, but your cake could be colorful if only you added some Jell-o to the mix!
I wonder if anyone added multiple flavors of gelatin and got a muddy mess instead of a nice bright color.
Last we have a little recipe booklet from Sealtest. It’s undated but since it was trying to trick all those baby boomer kids into eating cottage cheese by disguising it as fun things like drums and clowns, I would guess it’s from the late ’50s or early ’60s. This recipe is supposed to look like the Big Top, but it looks like a crab to me. The animal crackers in front look like claws.
So! Armored-car Milk, Zippered Chicken, Potato Elephant, Big Top Salad, Colorvision Cake! I think I’ve just provided you with a whole menu and plenty of dinner conversation topics to boot! Bon Appetit!
What a fun post! Two foods I find no use for are “tomato aspic” and “jello molds” These are 1950s treasures I think and not so old as yours, but strange. We do find some amazing ephemera in our folks archived treasures; don’t we? My favorite is one from my Grandpa Beverly for a swamp land estates venture in Florida. He kept the pamphlet and when I found it I couldn’t let it go either.
I used to love jello molds as a child, but you are right, they are not exactly useful foods. We would have been better off just eating spoonfuls of sugar, probably. And tomato aspic just fools you into thinking you are at least going to get some nice fruity jello!
Don’t you wonder if your grandpa ever checked into that swamp land? And whether that particular development was actually built? Another fun slice of American history!
I did check and it was begun. The plans had called for a canal to be built between Miami and the Estates (Poinciana) Seems that a Cat 4 hurricane wiped it all out 1926 or ’27. There was big money in those Florida land schemes and most of them were labelled “Ponzi”.
So I hope he felt relieved he hung on to his money and didn’t get stuck in a hurricane either! 🙂 I love putting these pieces of their lives together.
Thank goodness for the savers from the depression! Otherwise, I would never known about zippered chicken! Interesting post!
Yes, how have we managed without it these many years! I keep wondering how they stuck the zipper to the chicken!
So weird! And interesting! And fascinating. And weird! I don’t know why there would be armored cars for milk. I do know there were big issues with milk in New York in the mid-1800’s, but that wouldn’t explain it. You’ll have to tell us if you find out.
The more I think about that silly milk picture the odder it seems. What would it do to the price of milk to have 5 guys hauling around one little wagon of it? (I assume one is still in the wagon, manning the gun turret, and I think I can see just the tip of the gun from a guard on the side blocked from view.) You are right, weird and weird.
So. Totally. Bizarre. All of it!
That does describe the family pretty well too! 🙂
Hope you are doing alright, Kerry, I know it has been a while since you have been able to post. I think of you often! Like, whenever I am putting away a vintage towel or tablecloth!
Your future father in law cut out and pasted neatly, so I would give him extra points for that. The cottage cheese delight makes my gorge rise, as I remember that classic “diet” dish of a canned peach half and a scoop of cottage cheese served on a lettuce leaf. Since the Galat Packing Co. was located in Akron, I scoped out that address on Google maps. Not much there now except an empty looking loading dock and an empty, weedy street. Kenmore Blvd. used to be the main drag through that part of town. It’s fallen on hard times. BTW, I assume your family members either had large houses or rented storage units. Or were they candidates for that Hoarder show?
Large house with a lot of stuff, but not hoarders. My in-laws built their house over 50 years ago, and it had all the storage anyone could wish for. So everything had its place. The downside was that once something was stored, no one ever looked at it again, because they didn’t need to move it out of the way. It makes for fun discoveries now, though.
I thought the cottage cheese mess was a crab, too! Agreeing with all others, this is just weird stuff. Weird in the first place, and weirder yet to save. 🙂 BUT I am not a saver of stuff, especially not paper, so that’s just my bias. Good thing some people do save it, I suppose!
I try not to keep stuff, but keep more than I need to. But for these silly papers, they have lasted over 70 years! And I can’t be the one to resign them to the trash heap of history, even after digitizing them. Unless they are really crumbly. 🙂
How times have changed…thankfully. An interesting post…