I have vague childhood memories of people telling me that Puffed Rice was good for me because it was made by shooting the rice grains from a cannon – though I was clueless as to why shooting the grain made it more nutritious. Well, now I know; it’s easier to digest. The cannon (or gun) promotion for Puffed Rice has been around for a long time. I found this ad in a hundred-year-old magazine.
Sometimes I’m in awe of (or perhaps a better wording is “shocked by”) some of the things I find in advertisements from a hundred years ago. This 1916 advertisement for saccharin appeared in a trade magazine for food processors.
Saccharin was banned in 1911 by the Pure Food Referee Board in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to an article in National Food Magazine called “The Passing of Saccharin”:
It has a preservative power and is very cheap. But the Referee Board, which has been investigating Saccharin, has found it guilty of causing indigestion and otherwise injuring the system. Therefore, the government has issued a ruling entirely prohibiting its use after July 1.
National Food Magazine (June, 1911)
In 1912, the government reversed the decision and again allowed the use of saccharin, but it remained controversial – thus the advertisement in the trade magazine explaining why saccharin “won”.
Are branded goods that are promoted with advertising of higher quality than similar “no-brand” items? That’s a question that has been around for at least a hundred years. Here’s a 1917 National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) ad which argues that consumers should, “Buy advertised goods – Do not accept substitutes.”
I was surprised when I saw this hundred-year-old advertisement for candy thermometers. Sometimes I think that making homemade candy is becoming a lost art – but I thought that this a a relatively recent phenomena. I was wrong. People have been concerned about the decline in candy making for at least a hundred years.
For some reason, beans – baked, canned, whatever – are one of my favorite winter comfort foods. Earlier this week I posted a hundred-year-old recipe for Bean Chowder. And, when browsing though old magazines I was drawn to this hundred-year-old ad for canned Heinz Baked Beans. I wonder if the beans tasted the same back then as what they do now – or if Heinz has changed their recipe across the years.
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.