Holiday meals can be expensive to prepare, so I’m always looking for budget-friendly recipes and meals that I can use to keep my food expenditures in check. A classified ad in a hundred-year-old issue of Good Housekeeping offers a solution – serve meals that only cost seven cents. I’d be willing to pay a dime to learn how to make seven-cent meals (or I might even consider telling a white lie and claiming that I’m interested in Domestic Science so that I can get the book for free).
33 thoughts on “Seven-Cent Meals”
I laughed that you’d pay a dime for knowledge of seven-cent meals. Wonder how much the old seven cents would be worth today????
I think that a dollar in 1919 would be worth about $15 today, so a $.07 meal back then would be the equivalent of approximately a $1 meal today – which wouldn’t get you much.
Thanks for finding the info and doing the math. A dollar wouldn’t go far these days.
I don’t know… Wouldn’t anyone who experiments in the kitchen as much as we do qualify as a domestic scientist? No lying needed!
hmm. . . maybe you’re right. I think that I may be a domestic scientist.
That’s so cool! I would love to see that booklet!
So would I. I wonder if something like that would ever turn up on Ebay.
I think people are still coming up with drastic ways to save on food. It is interesting that you could pay 10 cents or get the booklet for free. Choices…
It’s good to have choices. 🙂
One course, or more? In just a decade most would be needing that advice, quite unable to afford the magazine.
How true . . . the great depression was on the horizon.
I love “How To” books…even today.
So do I.
What is Domestic Science? But I would pay a dime for it. And today so families eat out or pick up fast food which can blow a food budget.
I think that it is an old-fashioned term for home economics. I agree – it’s generally much less expensive to prepare food at home.
I don’t think you would have to tell a white lie, all your cooking and experimenting with those old recipes would probably fall into that category. I can imagine that to some folks. .07 probably was a lot ,for food prices I believe were high at that time because of the war. Be interesting to see that book though.
Good point – I think you’re right that I’m interested in domestic science.
Sheryl, with all your wonderful posts and research, I think you qualify as being interested in Domestic Science. I can’t wait to hear about your free 10-cent book!
Whew, I could have qualified to get the book for free without lying. 🙂
I wonder what those recipes were.
I found a booklet from 1914 for five cent meals https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.aa0004814083&view=1up&seq=1
Wow, I’m amazed that you found this booklet. It’s fun to look at it. Some of the meals sound like very thrifty meals. For example, the Wednesday lunch or supper menu for:
Split Pea Loaf
Bread with Oleo
Tea – Milk
sounds fairly healthy – but very inexpensive.
While the Sunday breakfast menu for:
Graham Biscuits with Date and Prune Jam
Coffee for Adults – Cocoa for Children
just plain sounds tasty – and I won’t have realized that it was a thrifty meal, if I hadn’t seen it in the booklet.
There apparently was inflation between 1914 and 1919, if the meal cost in the title increased from 5 cents to 7 cents across those years.
When I was a young mother in 1977 with very little money I used a contemporary of this booklet issued by a coop in Berkeley. I actually picked up a lot of very helpful tips. I think a book like that would be useful right about now for many strapped families.
It’s interesting how you picked up helpful tips at a time when money was short that made you a better cook in the long run – though now that I think about it, that makes a lot of sense. I find that I do some of my best, creative cooking when I only have limited ingredients in the house (and I don’t want to go to the store).
It allowed me to feed us very well on food stamps despite people saying it was impossible.
When I was in Home Ec. we had to figure the cost of each recipe and divide by the number of servings. You can still get a good meal for ~ 75 cents… Spaghetti and bean soup is even cheaper! Of course eating pasta and beans every meal isn’t healthy but there are definitely money saving meals/recipes out there!
You’re absolutely right, there are some really good inexpensive dishes out there. Oatmeal is another tasty inexpensive food (if you don’t put too many toppings on it).
I love it Sheryl! 🙂
It’s nice to hear that you enjoyed this post.
Wow! I wonder what 7 cents would be worth today. That has to be a very cheap meal. I enjoy reading your posts about 100 years ago – that would have been when my mom and dad were born! It gives me insight into the world of their childhood.
You’re right – it would have been a very inexpensive meal. I think that with inflation that a 7 cent meal a hundred years ago would be the equivalent of a meal today that costs approximately $1. It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoy this blog. I have a lot of fun doing it, and it’s nice to know that others enjoy it.
How fabulous! Wish I could see the recipe’s! xxx