Nut Bowls

Mid-century nut bowl
Mid-century nut bowl

Many of my December memories are linked to food: cut-out cookies, homemade fudge,  fruitcake, and nuts in the shell. Yesterday I saw a display of nuts in the shell at the supermarket and bought a bag. When I got home I dug out my mid-century nut bowl.  Each time I crack a nut, my thoughts go back to chatting with my mother while cracking, and then nibbling on, nuts in the farmhouse kitchen when I was a child.

This morning I browsed through a hundred-year-old issue of Ladies Home Journal and saw an ad for a Parsons Nut Bowl. Nuts in the shell have been a holiday tradition for a long time.

Parsons Nut Bowl Advertisement (Ladies Home Journal, December, 1916)
Parsons Nut Bowl Advertisement (Ladies Home Journal, December, 1916)

1916 Jello Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)
Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)

They sure knew how to package Jell-O a hundred years ago. The “Safety Bag” would keep it “as pure and sweet” as the day it was made for years.

I checked the “best used by” date on a package of Jell-O in my cupboard. The date was November 16, 2014.  Time flies, and I don’t remember when I bought it, but I don’t think that it was real long ago.  In any case, I discarded the package . . .  sigh . . . I wish that modern Jell-O would keep for years like the old-time Jell-O in its Safety Bag.

Hundred-Year-Old Nestle’s Food Advertisement

Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)

Hundred-year-old advertisements that pique my interest generally make me smile. This one didn’t.

I found the ad upsetting., and it raised so many questions:

  • When did companies first start selling commercial products that were advertised for use as a baby formula?
  • What information, other than advertisements, was available to help parents decide how to feed their infants?
  • What was the reaction of new mothers and mothers-to-be to this ad?
  • What percentage of the women breastfed their babies a hundred-years-ago?

I have no answers,  but I  just can’t get this advertisement out of my mind – so I decided to post it.