1950s Holiday Recipes: From Box Labels
About this time of year the little Bungalow starts to warm up with cooking smells that only Fall can bring: cinnamon, pumpkin, cranberries and other heady little feasts. I like a fresh pumpkin pie as soon as Halloween decorations crop up on my neighbor's front yards, and I can't wait for fresh cranberries to arrive in the produce section of the market. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, we've been eating some of my favorite holiday foods, but as part of our daily meals. It's such a fun way to enjoy favorites.
Awhile back I had to laugh at my family, since we seem to prepare most of our favorites using the time honored label recipes. While I have modified those over the years, it all still starts with what the label lists, and I go from there. The pumpkin pie uses an almond creamer instead of heavier canned milk, which makes a lighter pie (or custard if you don't want to bother with a crust).
I also love to simmer fresh cranberries simmered til soft in the typical sugar water, but I sub in brown sugar and add the juice and rind from an orange, it's so terrific on Greek Yogurt. My dad perfected the Mrs. Cubbison's dressing by adding chopped green olives and slivered almonds to the box recipe, it's yummy this way.
It seems to me that the history of these holiday foods is closely tied into the marketing schemes of the food industry: canned, frozen, boxed and fresh, they all created mouthwatering advertisements during the 1950's, luring housewives into trying their products by using creative recipes printed on the labels.
Prior to World War II, recipes weren't as prevalent in advertising or product marketing. Once full color ads and editorials became the norm, a whole industry grew around holiday cooking and family gatherings. Even over a half century later, guests still bring sweet potatoes with marshmallos, green bean casseroles, cranberry jelly straight from the can, and a whole world of stuffings and roasted meats.
These advertisements date from the mid to late 1950's. They promote foods that we still see today on holiday menu's, family favorites and traditional foods.
Here are some 1950's holiday recipes that I think are probably some of the most popular today. They can still be found on the product label, or online:
Green Bean casserole with canned crisped onion topping: Campbell Soup
Sweet Potatoes with marshmallo topping: Kraft Marshmallows
Pumpkin Pie: Libby's canned pumpkin and Nestle's Carnation evaporated milk
Pecan Pie: Karo syrup
Roasted Turkey: Reynold's wrap aluminum foil
Cranberry Relish: Ocean Spray
Turkey Stuffing: Mrs. Cubbison's
And in case you need a gentle reminder on how to set the table, here's a version from 1930's that should do nicely.