During the Great Depression and the wartime food rationing that followed, Americans tried to stretch their supply of meat with dishes like “liver loaf”. Savvy cooks economized by replacing scarce apples with cheaper, shelf-stable Ritz crackers in the national desert, apple pie.

The Menu

Liver Loaf

Baked Beans

Creamed Spinach

Steamed Brown Bread

“Mock Apple Pie” filled with Ritz Crackers

Los Alamos National Laboratory Flickr Stream
Los Alamos National Laboratory Flickr Stream

1940s-Dinner-1Liver Loaf

liver load

Liver loaf, also known as liver cheese, is thought to have originated in 1776 in Germany. Although it is sometimes referred to as liver cheese in English, it contains no cheese. Liver loaf is known as “leberkase” in German, and the literal translation into English is “liver cheese”!  It is made by grinding up all of the ingredients (pork, bacon, corned beef, and onions) and then baking it in loaf form. Traditionally, liver loaf is served on a flour roll.

Want to make your own? We’ve got you covered.

 Baked Beans

Did you know the baked navy bean is the official state bean of Massachusetts?

How Boston Became “Bean Town” – but we still don’t know the origins of “Boston Baked Beans” the candy!

And, of course, there’s everyone’s favorite playground song…“Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit.”

Creamed Spinach

spinachThe “Only Creamed Spinach Recipe You’ll Ever Need”

Some spinach facts and history!

The Origin & History of Spinach – with a Jewish connection! “Mediterranean Jews, the Sephardim, were also fond of spinach and prepare dishes such asshpongous, a savory baked dish of sheep’s cheese and spinach that was customary as a dairy dish served on Shavuot, the holiday fifty days after Passover celebrating the Palestinian harvest and the anniversary of the giving of the Law.”

Spinach Bulemas

Boyus with Spinach and Cheese

Cheese and Spinach Blintzes

What is it about Popeye and Spinach, anyway? And a different take on the relationship. Skip to 3:50 for some real spinach action!


Brown Bread is named for its color, and refers to breads that contain whole grain flour, or dark ingredients like molasses. In New England, brown bread is commonly sold in a can!

Boston Brown Bread

One cup of sweet milk,

One cup of sour,

One cup of corn meal,

One cup of flour.

Teaspoon of soda,

Molasses one cup;

Steam for three hours,

Then eat it all up.

— Old Yankee Cookbook, published in “American Food: The Gastronomic Story” (1975) by Evan Jones



Mock Apple Pie: “It is certainly true that Nabisco popularized the notion of a mock apple pie. However, the company did not invent the recipe. Although Nabisco Ritz crackers were introduced during the Depression, in 1934, and became very popular, it wasn’t until the Second World War that the company began printing the Ritz mock apple pie recipe on the packages. Cookbooks had been printing mock apple pie recipes long before then.” – Did Nabisco Invent Mock Apple Pie?


A frontier recipe that got popular when it wasn’t necessary anymore.

Why do we think it tastes like apples?

Where did the phrase As American as Apple Pie” even come from, anyway?

Why do we say “An Apple A Day” keeps the doctor away? And does it actually work? 

Nabisco's recipe for "Mock Apple Pie" featuring Ritz crackers. No date.
Nabisco’s recipe for “Mock Apple Pie” featuring Ritz crackers. No date.

Ritz Crackers Come to Baltimore! “Nabisco introduced Ritz crackers to the Philadelphia and Baltimore markets November 21, 1934.”

Fads of the 40s:

The Master Cleanse aka “The Lemonade Diet”: this liquid diet was developed by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s but saw a brief rise in the 2000s!

A 1940s fad that most Jews weren’t taking part in? The rise of SPAM! http://www.eater.com/2014/7/9/6191681/a-brief-history-of-spam-an-american-meat-icon


Read More:

Dining Out in the 1940s: http://restaurant-ingthroughhistory.com/2009/06/12/taste-of-a-decade-1940s-restaurants/

The Rise of Tupperware:

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