1918 Quaker Oats Advertisement

Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1918)

Food is expensive – both a hundred years ago and now. It’s interesting to see how a 1918 advertisement for Quaker Oats framed the cost of meals around calories. Back then, apparently getting more calories per amount spent was considered a good thing.Β  Today, are people willing to spend more to get fewer calories?

29 thoughts on “1918 Quaker Oats Advertisement

  1. The claim that oatmeal is ten times as rich as meat in ‘lime’ intrigued me. I wonder what that refers to? I can’t remember ever seeing ‘lime’ mentioned in any list of nutrients. I may have missed it, or we may call it something else now.

    1. Lime is calcium oxide. I’m not completely certain, but I think that this refers to the quantity of calcium in the respective foods.

      Having said that, I’ve never seen it referred to that way either.

      1. Thanks, for the info. I generally think of lime (when, it’s not a fruit) as something that people put on their lawns or fields – and had no idea what the ad might be referring to.

    2. I have no idea what lime is in this context. In the early 1900s they were beginning to analyze foods for nutrient content, calories, etc. – but the findings were described in such different ways back then that I generally have little idea what they are talking about. For example, in some books and magazines I’ve seen references to “ash” in food. I think “ash” is what we’d today call minerals, but am not positive.

      1. I’ve only heard ‘ash’ in terms of potash. I found that potash refers to chemicals that are related to potassium, so that’s probably related somehow to what we see on food labels today as ‘potassium’.

        1. It’s fun to try to figure out nutrition terminology from a hundred-year-ago in this string of comments. Over the years, I’ve tended to shy away from doing detailed nutrition posts because I struggle to understand the relationship between the old terminology and modern terminology. But maybe I’ll have to look at that stuff again. πŸ™‚

          1. Why not? I got into plant genetics with my current post on Lagniappe, and what I know about genetics would fill a thimble — if I’m lucky! But I figure if I don’t get something right, someone will give me a clue, and it’s sure a great way to learn!

            1. I worry about boring people – but, I think you’re right; it would be a great way to share information and learn from one another.

  2. I have to say, the gentleman in the ad does not appear to be thrilled by his morning food options.

    The comparison between meat and oatmeal is secretly amusing to me as when my kids were younger, if they complained about a dinner entry of any type, I’d always suggest that we had, as an alternative, oatmeal. Indeed, we really do always have oatmeal.

    1. It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed this ad. I like how you put it within the context of your mother as a young bride. I wonder how much of what is in the ads that we read when we are young affect our purchases and beliefs when we are older.

  3. Times have changed on how we eat. There was a time that many of us were under weight and eating as much as we could was a good thing. It finally caught up. Oatmeal can be added to breads, cookies, meatloaf, etc.

    1. Yes, times have definitely changed. πŸ™‚ Your comment reminds me that my mother used to always add oatmeal (instead of bread crumbs) to meatloaf. She called it filler – I guess because it was less expensive than the meat.

  4. Back then I would think the norm would have been people were much more active then today so would need the calories. I also use oatmeal in meatloaf and soups to make it a bit heartier. I wonder what they would think about our lifestyle of today?

    1. It would be fun if we could get in a time machine – and go back a hundred years; and likewise, it would be fun if they could come forward a hundred years.

    1. Yes, I think you’re right. When we prioritize what we consider when purchasing food, I think that we care more about “eating healthy” than about price, and that a component of eating healthy is eating low-calorie food.

  5. How interesting and what an enjoyable read! They were trying to make it more economical and nutritions. I did have to laugh at the simple idea that calories were the general unit of nutrition. How far we’ve come in breaking down nutritional values and requirements, although it is way to complex for most of us to comprehend!

    1. It’s wonderful to hear that you liked this post. I also enjoyed it. They definitely thought about nutrition differently a hundred-years-ago than what we do now.

  6. This ad makes me smile as I realize that somethings don’t change with advertisers.. they add a little more than what the item really is… that said, I do love a bowl of hot oatmeal.

  7. When I read books from 100 years ago, they seem to eat the meat, the eggs, the potatoes, the toast and the oatmeal. And a nice cup of coffee. With real cream and lots of butter.

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