, 11 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Anyone who's followed me for a bit knows I'm pretty amused by appalling mid-century cookery. But there are absolutely reasons food got so bad in the 50s through the 70s, y'know.

The big one? Mechanization.
Food production-- due in part to the natural march of progress, and in part to the demands of supplying troops in WWII-- became more efficient, more productive, and easier. As a result, food was cheaper, and there was a LOT of it. And manufacturers got very good at processing it.
They canned it, boiled it, jarred it, froze it, turned it into convenience foods with long shelf lives, durable food that lasted for years. And when the US Army stopped buying, the decided to sell it to housewives.

This was a literal attempt to phase out home cooking.
Convenience foods were sold as fresher, healthier, more nutritious, easier to make, and easier to convince kids to eat. Manufacturers employed battalions of food scientists to invent recipes and write cookbooks that featured their products as necessary components.
And remember, this was the 50s.

Nowadays, people get cranky if their grocery aisle doesn't have the *right cultivar* of mango. In the mid-century, you would have been STUNNED by the lack of variety in available foods. Cheese-and-7Up lime Jell-O was NEW and EXCITING.
And women who were housewives in the 1940s were the first generation to have refrigerators as kitchen mainstays. In 1950, they were still entertaining parties and family that would have been impressed by any dish that required extended refrigeration to set, like Jell-O salads.
And y'know what? In a way, food manufactures have been pretty successful.

I'd wager most Americans no longer make their own jam, jelly, mayonnaise, salad dressing, pickles, or barbecue sauce. & that a significant percentage have never baked bread, cake, or cookies from scratch.
A generation or two ago, that would have been unheard of. And y'know what? The fact that we don't HAVE to do those things on our own anymore is fine.

I am, in fact, very happy I can buy frozen waffles, ice cream, and salami. I'd rather not spend my time MAKING it.
But now, in the 21st century, from the comfort of the pendulum backswing of artisanal localvore farmer's markets and whatnot, we recognize that funny, regrettable food like the kind that filled 50s supermarkets actually liberated a LOT of homemakers from a LOT of drudgery.
It's agribusiness, it's marketing, it's women's lib, it's food science, it's the supply chain, it's the birth of that very American propensity for caloric overabundance, it's a lot of things.

It is also gross. But only to us, now, decades later. :V
To close: A 1965 tour of the Hormel plant.

Note how the narrator stresses how clean and efficient production is, how tasty the food is. And the idea you could eat chili Monday, ham Tuesday, and beef stew Wednesday!? WHAT LUXURY.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Iron Spike
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls (>4 tweets) are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!