Well, I’m a couple of days late with this last post covering food ads from the June 1945 issue of Ladies Home Journal. But then who’s counting?
First let me say, food ads back then were a far cry from the type you see today in the likes of Bon Appetit , Saveur and even Good Housekeeping. When you see a food ad today, it whets your appetite. These ads, not so much.
In 1945, food rationing was still going on because of World War II. So food advertisements often did double duty as public service announcements. This ad for the the infamous mystery cheese food “Velveeta” includes a recipe along with a little pep talk about helping out with the war effort by growing your own food.
The recipe is incredibly unimaginative. Just melt a 1/2 lb of Velveeta and pour it over your cooked vegetables, top with pimiento. Can’t get much easier than that, except to maybe peel off the wrapper and just gnaw away at it in its pre-melted state. Though I don’t really recommend this. Really, the color of the stuff is not found anywhere in nature. That’s a good indication you shouldn’t be eating it.
Ok, moving on. Even though Kraft is advertising their incredible spreadable edible, they also make sure to tell you to “Make your garden thrive in 45” because “with many farm workers in the armed forces, it’s important for all of us who can, to have a Victory Garden. Vegetables and fruits may be in short supply in markets. Play it safe and grow your own.”
With the abundance of supermarkets and restaurants to satisfy our every culinary whim nowadays, can you imagine what it would be like if all of a sudden we were told that because of a war the government was going to start rationing our food and we had to start growing our own produce? Heck, just think of how many people practically subsist on just Micky D’s and BK. I’m thinking things could get really ugly, really fast if people couldn’t get their fast food fixes anymore.
Here’s an ad for some delectable grilled hamburgers in a can. This is a public service ad from the American Meat Institute that lets you know that the reason you can’t get any meat in 1945 is because it is being used for combat rations. “Men don’ t stop hankering for good American hamburgers when they put on a uniform. Remember, a lot of the meat you are not getting now is making eating brighter and more nutritious for about 12,000,000 Americans in uniform.” If this is the kind of meal that could make eating brighter, I shudder to think of what those poor unfortunate soldiers had to eat before they came up with these creepy canned meat patties.
And my favorite food ad. The next time someone guilts you into bringing a dish to some pot luck dinner that you were dreading going to in the first place, just whip up this little culinary catastrophe. They won’t be asking you again. Unless, of course, you live in Hawaii, in which case you’ll be a star. Yep, cause it’s made with Spam, that weird pink stuff in the can with all the slimy gelatin around it. Or as some like to call it “Spare Parts Animal Meat”. Hawaiians love it. Whatever.
The ad explains that is it fun and festive to make “Spam Upside Down Pie”. The recipe instructs you to line a well greased ring mold with spam slices,(as if there isn’t enough grease in the stuff already) add biscuit mix and yet more Spam, then fill the center with Tart Cheese Sauce. You can probably use Velveeta. I’m sorry, just typing that made me feel queasy.