If there is one time period that I absolutely adore for its menus, its the 1940s through the 1960s. These menus are considered “vintage” and “retro”. But if we take a deeper look, they can really teach us a lot!
The vintage housewife took pride in creating meals for her family and making sure they were healthy. Putting three square meals on the table every day was important and expected. During these years, many of our modern conveniences were just appearing on the market. Woman’s magazines of the day were full of tips, tricks, menus and ideas to help the housewife make the most of these new inventions. The vintage housewife didn’t always make everything from scratch, but she made it all with love.
Nutrition was becoming a popular field of study during these years. The idea of proper nutrition really came into its own during the ration years of World War II as everyone wanted to make sure they were nourishing their bodies even with the scarcity of some food items. Vitamins and minerals and how they affected our bodies were just beginning to be studied. When the 50s and 60s rolled around, this was reflected in the carefully planned menus you will find. Often they included all the food groups at every meal or at least every day. And very often too, they were guided by the seasons and the produce and different foods available at those times.
It’s interesting to see how times have changed. Instead of how to put dinner on the table in 30 minutes like today, the vintage housewife was encouraged to make a full meal complete with dessert! Leftovers were reused, lunches were almost always packed at home, people valued good food and nothing was wasted. Any one of these “vintage” kitchen values should be welcomed again into the modern kitchen!