“Most housewives have no idea what to serve in place of meat, potatoes, gravy, pie and coffee.”
-Jack LaLanne, “Your Health Cookbook,” 1954
A New Decade in American Kitchens
The 1950s were a turbulent period for America. Emerging from the refuge of WW2, the growing Superpower was faced with new economic, social and political demands. For the average citizen, this meant new pressures but also new innovations. In the culinary world, Americans were gaining their first exposure of ‘ethnic’ restaurants, TV dinners and new forms of sugary treats.
Cookbooks and magazines from the era were laden with recipes using pre-packaged meals. Advertisements aimed at the housewife convincingly argued that new appliances and convenience foods would help save her time and money and meal plans were adhered to the three square meals a day rule. The food of choice soon became prepackaged foods, fatty cuts of meat, canned fruit and vegetables and of course refined sugar. Whilst brands such as Betty Crocker presented this way of eating as nutritious, others had different ideas, notably a physical culturist by the name of Jack Lalanne.