The Food Value of Peanuts

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, January 15, 1913: Don’t know hardly what to write today. 

Source: Good Housekeeping (December, 1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to go off on a tangent.

Sometimes I read a magazine article from a hundred years ago—and I’m absolutely floored by how it could have been written in 2013 instead of so long ago

For example, I recently came across an article in the December 1912 issue of Good Housekeeping titled “The Food Value of a Peanut.”  <<Yawn>>.

Then I read,

As a result of the growing popularity of vegetarianism, the demand for nuts is increasing.

Really? . . .  There were vegetarians a hundred years ago?

And, I continued reading:

Another reason for the increasing demand for nuts, and more especially for peanuts, is their relative cheapness as sources of nourishment and energy. Even compared with such staple foods as bread and beans, peanuts supply protein and energy very cheaply.

Sounds about like today. Both then and now people worry about the high cost of food–though I don’t think that peanuts are particularly inexpensive now.

13 Responses

  1. That’s really interesting how concerns 100 years apart seem to be similar regarding food. I’m amazed that there were vegetarians too…as there probably weren’t too many summer fruits & vegetables available in January..around here anyways.

    • In January it seems like the main fruit would have been apples; the main vegetables probably were squash and the winter root crops (potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips)–though there was good rail transportation by the early 1900s, so I think that people were able to get some citrus fruits from the South throughout the winter.

  2. This was the era of taking the cures, etc. at mineral baths and also brought to mind a book “The Road to Wellness” which touches on John Harvey Kellogg, originator of the cereal.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harvey_Kellogg

    • Interesting . . . Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t thought about the popularity of hot springs and mineral baths, etc. back then. I guess people have always tried to find ways to improve their health.

  3. I have a sort of quirky vegetarian cookbook (from a phase in my teens :) ) that says George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and Franz Kafka (1883-1924), among others, all espoused vegetarianism. It also gives a quick overview of the American Vegetarian Society, founded in NYC in 1850 (of which Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott’s father, was a member).

    You’re right, it’s so funny to see articles and advertisements in old newspapers and magazines that seem like they could have come from the current newsstand! (One wonders if carbs were in or out of favor in 1913!)

    • Wow, I had no idea how famous people in the 1800s were vegetarians.

      I also have a few quirky books from my teens–and my children love to read them (and sometimes laugh at them). :)

  4. Fascinating as always! There are always lessons from the past and some of them seem to stick. :)

  5. Very interesting that they could afford to be vegan. I was always under the impression that like me, growing up not very wealthy, you kind of ate what was put in front of you! Most stuff as I remember was vegan by default, rice, beans and pasta! ;-) Cool Tangent!

    • I think that fruits and vegetables weren’t very expensive back then. Many people had gardens or lived in rural areas. Neighbors probably shared surplus fruits and vegetables with each other.

  6. Yes there were vegetarians a 100 years ago! Many artistic communities practiced vegetarianism. I think the some of the Shaker communities practiced it as well. There was a bit of movement in the 19th century with the movements to practice healthier living. Did you know Hitler was a vegetarian?

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