Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Thrifty Acres: Favorite Foods Of 1958

Hello! I love the series of cookbooks that Betty Crocker put out several decades ago.  I don't know how many are in the series, nor the range of years in which they were published. All are small in size - about 5 3/4"x7 3/4" - but all are big are vintage charm. The oldest one I own dates from 1957 and the newest one came out in 1960. 

Here's the latest one I acquired, from a thrift store trip over the weekend:

This volume came out in 1958. It's worthy of its own blog post sometime, but for today I want to call attention to its survey of favorite American foods. The list of results is shown on page 5 of the cookbook. 

The folks at Betty Crocker explained how the survey data was collected: "A leading magazine recently asked this question of a great number of people in various walks of life..." These people, by the way, included "the governors of forty-eight states". 

That number of states looks funny to us today, of course, but that would all change the very next year with the additions of Alaska and Hawaii. 

Betty Crocker adds: "We, too, over a period of years have asked this question of thousands of homemakers throughout many parts of the United States."

And here is their list, in order of popularity:

I liked the appearance of #8 on the list, as that was what we'd for dessert after dinner! But braised pork chops? Beef stew? Are those still as popular today? 

I also noticed what wasn't on the list, and discussed with my husband as to what might be today's most popular American foods. Pizza and tacos were what immediately came to mind. 

Decided to look online for a current list of popular American foods. It was easy to find results based on opinion pieces, with commenters chiming in on their favorites, but I wanted something more "scientific" in nature. 

Found what I was looking for in Oxfam's Grow Campaign 2011. (I figured that year was current enough.) The name "Oxfam" may be familiar due to its wide-ranging charitable efforts. As Wikipedia explains: "Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approximately 94 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and what it considers as injustice around the world". 

According to this survey's results, when asked in the US, "What is your favorite food?", the answers were:

1. Pizza
2. Steak
3. Chicken
4. Mexican
5. Pasta
6. Italian
7. Seafood
8. Burger
9. Ice Cream
10. Sushi/Sashimi
11. Chocolate
12. Chinese
13. Tacos
14. Salad
15. Spaghetti (tie)
15. Beef (tie)

Not surprisingly, pizza and tacos made the 2011 list, and not only that, pizza was at the top. There were a few foods that made both lists, like ice cream and hamburgers. But poor braised pork chops, baked ham, strawberry shortcake and a few other goodies - they've fallen out of favor today. Or so the Oxfam data suggests.

Well, in regards to strawberry shortcake, that's never fallen out of favor with me! I consider it a must-have every year when local strawberries are in - which is why we had it for dessert last night. 

If you'd liked to read the entire Grow Campaign 2011 report, you can find it HERE.

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