Feeding a Family of Three in 1949














According to a magazine article in 1949, a family of three ate well for $10 a week. With that budget, here are a few of the meals this family might consume:

beef liver                                           carrot-bacon-egg sandwiches

creamed hamburger                   vegetable-bean soup

meatloaf                                             scalloped potatoes

potato soup                                       molasses sweet potatoes

green pepper strips                       macaroni and cheese

beef stew                                             mashed potatoes

I know what you’re thinking … in today’s prices we’re already pushing $100 but read on. You haven’t spent the whole $10 yet. Add these delicacies to the menu:

fish                                                          green beans

egg sandwiches                                bean soup

bologna sandwiches                      cabbage salad

prune whip                                         applesauce

eggs au gratin                                   custard

After buying ingredients for a few more side dishes, you’d have enough money left from the original $10 to buy juice and cereal for every breakfast. You’d also enjoy milk, bread, and margarine at every meal. Whether or not this list appeals to you (and who knows what prune whip is!) it’s a lot of variety for the money.

Wouldn’t you love to visit those old corner stores and fruit and vegetable markets with a $10 bill in your purse? Just for one week to go back to a time when everyone in the community knew each other’s name and the store’s competition was another business of the same size two blocks away.

Who knew $10 could go so far?

-Sandra Merville Hart


Rodack, Jaine. Forgotten Recipes, Wimmer Books, 1981.