Role of Potatoes in Diets a Hundred Years Ago

Potatoes were an important part of the diet a hundred years ago. Here’s what a cookbook said:

Housewives are always interested in new ways of preparing the potato as it appears on the average menu 365 times in the year. There are innumerable ways of preparing potatoes for the table.

When potatoes are practically the only vegetable used in the household, they should always be cooked in their skins, so that all the mineral salts may be retained. When salad plants and other vegetables are used freely, the skins may be removed before cooking, although it is not economy to do so. Sometimes convenience and palatability decide in favor of the latter.

Potatoes, combined with milk and cheese, provide a dish fully as nourishing as when combined with meat. This is interesting to know when meat prices are high.

The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

22 thoughts on “Role of Potatoes in Diets a Hundred Years Ago

    1. Thanks for finding and sharing this link. I’m thrilled that you have so enjoyed this recipe. I have a lot of fun doing this blog, and it’s wonderful to hear when someone likes one of the recipes.

    1. We do. French fries may be more popular today than what they were in the early 1900s, and boiled potatoes less popular – but we still eat a lot of potatoes. I wonder how many days a year I eat potatoes.

  1. I’m doing a project this year in which I’m reading books and the news as if I were living in 1918. (You were pretty much my only role model as I was figuring it all out beforehand.) I’ve also noticed the important role of potatoes, and also of bread, both of which were included on menus for people trying to lose weight. Times have changed!

  2. I have to say that what I find most interesting about this is the author’s use of “economy” and “interesting.” Beyond that, it’s also interesting to read that people telling you that potato skins were good for you 100 years ago. I thought that was a more modern discovery.

    1. It’s fascinating how the use of some words changes in subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) ways across the years. I’m never quite sure whether potato skins are good or bad for me. Sometime I think they are good, then I read something about how greenish potato skins are bad and that potatoes should always be peeled just to be on the safe side.

    1. It’s wonderful to hear that this post inspired a post on your blog. I enjoyed reading your post. Potatoes were such an important winter food in days gone by.

      1. They really were.

        Indeed, we’re so used to fresh vegetables now its nearly unimaginable. But for much of the US, mid winter and on into spring just didn’t feature that.

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