A hundred years ago meat was expensive, and in short supply, because much of it was needed to feed the soldiers fighting in World War I. Here’s what a magazine article said:
With meat at war prices, every housewife should learn to make tasty and nourishing meals with wholesome substitutes to be had at half the price of meat. One of the best substitutes for meat is cheese, and there are so many ways of preparing dishes of cheese that the housewife should learn to make use of this very wholesome food.
Another wholesome substitute is baked beans.
Roast beef— An average helping or portion, weighing 3 1/2 ounces, contains 360 food units, supplies 4/5 ounces protein, and costs 8 cents.
American pale cheese—An average helping weighing 2 3/4 ounces, contains 360 food units, supplies 4/5 ounce protein, and costs 4 cents.
Baked beans (as purchased in can)– An average portion, about 9 ounces, contains 360 food units, supplies 5/6 ounces protein, and costs 5 cents.
Other inexpensive foods rich in protein and therefore capable for building up the body are fish, eggs, oatmeal, lentils, dried peas and peanuts. Vary your diet and cut down your butcher bill!
National Food Magazine (November, 1914)