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Friday, March 31, 2023

25 Recipes from the Great Depression we’ve Lost to History

 Original Article

Do you ever wonder what people ate during the Great Depression? It was a time of great hardship, and food was often scarce.

white kidney beans soup

However, people still had to eat, and they found ways to make do with what they had.

With resources scarce and money often scarcer, the bountiful pantries and kitchens of previous eras were only fond memories for most who lived through this time.

Preppers might be well served to memorialize some of these recipes and reboot them for our modern era.

Whether you are trying to pad a post-collapse menu with decidedly limited ingredients or just stave off boredom from the same old dish every meal, these recipes still have some life in them.

In this article, we will explore 25 recipes from the Great Depression that have been lost to history. Some of them may sound Spartan, strange or unappetizing, but they were all popular during that time period!

Bacon Grease Cornbread

Bacon Grease-Fried Cornbread

A time-honored favorite that persists to this day! This was a popular dish among sharecroppers and rural families.It was simple to make and filling. You can still find versions of it all over the American South.

Kentucky Burgoo (What is That?)


This is a stew made with whatever meat and vegetables were available. Anything goes, and it was often served at church socials or community gatherings.

BEST Fish Chowder Recipe

Fish Chowder

This was a popular dish among coastal and riverine communities. It was hearty and filling, and could be made with whatever fish were caught that day along with, you guessed it, common veggie leftovers.

How to Make Chipped Beef on Toast~SOS | It's Only Food w/ Chef John Politte

Chipped Beef on Toast

Also known as SOS or “S*** on a Shingle”, this dish was common in the military and among truck drivers.

It consists of dried beef that is rehydrated and then sauteed, usually with onions. It is served over toast or biscuits.

How to Make Dandelion Wine | FERMENTED

Dandelion Wine

Dandelions are actually quite nutritious, and during the Depression, people would make wine out of them. It is still possible to find recipes for dandelion wine online.

Martha Stewart’s Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie | Martha Bakes Recipes

Hoosier Cream Pie

This pie is a Hoosier tradition that dates back to the 1800s. It is made with a layer of sugar cream, followed by a layer of custard, and then topped with meringue if you wanted to get really fancy.

Back in the Great Depression, you would often find this pie made with a crushed cracker crust.

Navy Bean Soup Recipe | Ham and Bean Soup

Navy Bean Soup

This soup was a staple among Navy sailors, and was also popular in the Great Depression because it was cheap and filling.

It is made with navy beans, ham, and potatoes. Perfect for replicating with typical survival staples.


Fried Squirrel

Cute and plentiful, these fuzzy tailed rats make for good small game-eating. This was a common dish in the rural south, where squirrels were bountiful. It is not as common today, but you can still find recipes for it online.

How to nixtamalize corn - turning it into healthy hominy and hominy grits.

Hominy Grits

A staple of southern cooking, hominy grits are made from dried and hulled corn kernels. They can be boiled and eaten as is or ground into flour.

1943 Caramel Junket Dessert Recipe


Junket was a popular dessert during the Depression. It is made with milk and rennet, and has a pudding-like consistency.

Depression Era Potato Soup Recipe

Depression-era Potato Soup

This soup was created during the Great Depression, but it became popular again during World War II. It is made with potatoes and whatever vegetables are available, and sometimes includes meat.

Molasses Cookies

Molasses Cookies

Molasses was a common sweetener during the Depression, as it was relatively inexpensive compared to pricey, scarce sugar. These cookies are still popular today in various parts of the nation.

PIGS IN A BLANKET | Easy Mini Crescent Dogs Recipe

Pigs in a Blanket

Hot dogs were a staple meat item for most poor Americans during the Great Depression.

This dish consists of hot dogs wrapped in biscuit dough and then fried or baked. It was popular among children and adults during the Great Depression, and persists today as a cheap-if-tacky appetizer.

The Best Rabbit Stew Ever. Rabbit Stew Recipe. Rabbit Casserole. #SRP #rabbitrecipe #rabbitstew

Rabbit Stew

Rabbit was a common source of protein during the Great Depression, and far easier to come by or afford than larger fare like pigs, cows or lamb.

They were easy to catch when hunted and did not require as much feed as cattle or pigs to raise.

This stew is still popular in some parts of the country, thought the appeal of cute little rabbits has greatly diminished the popularity of rabbit meat.

Red Flannel Hash

Red Flannel Hash

This dish is made with beets, potatoes and onions. It gets its name from the fact that it is bears a striking resemblance to a red flannel shirt pattern when served in a skillet.

This is one of the better vegetarian options among our recipes here.

How To Make The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut


Sauerkraut was a popular dish during the Great Depression, as it was a cheap way to get vitamins from cabbage. It is still highly popular today, especially in Germany where it hails from.

Sauerkraut is a great recipe for preppers since it is a useful method of preserving a staple food item.

Classic Shepherd's Pie | Gordon Ramsay

Shepherd’s Pie

This dish hails from Ireland (or else is thought to!) and is made with lamb or mutton, potatoes and other vegetables, sometimes with cheese.

In the U.S. it is often made with beef instead of lamb, and is a great way to maximize leftover portions.

Though it originated somewhere in Europe it became popular in the United States during the Great Depression.

Slumgullion Stew! A Leftover Makeover Meal!


This is another stew or goulash made with whatever meat and vegetables are available. The name comes from the fact that it is often made with insubstantial leftovers or “slums”.



This dish is made with corn and beans, and sometimes includes tomatoes and bacon. It is popular in the United States and Canada, and has been eaten by Native Americans for centuries.

Fried Cabbage With Spaghetti Sunday Dinner | Eat Healthy Live Longer | How To Make Fried Cabbage!!

Fried Cabbage Pasta

This dish is a great way to use up leftover cabbage, and can be made with or without meat. Another hearty dish that is easy to prepare with minimal ingredients.

It is popular today in the southern United States and parts of Appalachia. Another good vegetarian option if you are into that sort of thing!

Pickled Watermelon Rind! (Sweet, Spicy, and Crunchy)

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelons were often grown in home gardens during the Great Depression, as they did not require much care or attention.

In keeping with the notion of minimizing waste while maximizing calorie output the rinds were often pickled and served as a side dish.

Easy Beef Stuffed Potato Pancakes | Potato Recipes | asmr food

Meat and Potato Patties

Meat was a borderline luxury during the Great Depression, and many folks took pains to stretch the quantity they had by any means necessary.

Bulking up a meat dish with bread, flour, or ground or mashed veggies was a popular method that gave rise to several popular recipes. Meat and potato patties are one such recipe.


Wayside Beans

This dish is made with navy beans, molasses and bacon. It was popular among sailors and truck drivers during the Great Depression. High calorie, filling, and easy to prepare in quantity this was a blue collar staple.


West Virginia Peanut Soup

Another soup dish, and a particularly filling one packed with protein. This soup is made with peanut butter, onions and sometimes potatoes.

It was created during the Great Depression, when peanuts were plentiful and cheap.

Yankee Pot Roast

Yankee Pot Roast

This is a roasted beef dish that is popular in the northeastern United States. It is often cooked in a Dutch oven or slow cooker, and can be served with vegetables.

This dish was considered high dining during the Great Depression, and often served on special occasions like weddings.

How to Make Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake

This cake is made without butter, eggs or milk, and was popular during the Great Depression when such ingredients were scarce and expensive. It is a chocolate cake that is often served with frosting.

Eating Good Despite the Depression

Have you ever tried any of these recipes? What are some other recipes from the Great Depression that you know of?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below! And don’t forget to check out our other articles for more interesting content.

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