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Golden era food.

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Wild Root, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. "Oleomargarine" and "margarine" are the same thing -- "oleo" as a regional dialect word turns up in a lot of places. My grandmother always called it "oleo" and my mother still does.

    The ban on dyed margarine was common in states with a strong dairy industry and lasted in some areas into the sixties. Nucoa brand margarine, put out by the Hellmans-Best Foods people, used to advertise that you should only use the dye pellet for "table use," and leave it white if you were just going to use it for cooking. If you've ever used Crisco shortening in stick form, that's exactly what uncolored oleo looked like.
  2. I remember seeing this sold in grocery stores with a small coloring 'bag' to mix with the stuff.
  3. emigran

    emigran Practically Family

    Just read this fabulous thread...
    I grew up in the NE of Newark NJ, Jersey City,New York and later Brooklyn... so I've been fortunate to have visited and tasted the likes of Juniors, Peter lugers, Katz's, Del Faro's ( and even Famous Ray's). It feels like I have been to all the places you folks have btought to light here wether it be through Norman Rockwell or just cultural infusion...
    We had a large cardboard "D" that we would put in the window if we wanted bread from the Dugan's truck to be delivered that day and an "O" for O'Dowd's Dairy for milk and cheese.
    Alas the America depicted on these pages is no more... I feel fortunate to be pushing 70 yrs old and having seen what happened in our time.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned one familiar GE food... LIMA BEANS...!!!
  4. Lima beans were the thing I liked most in Campbell's Vegetable Soup. I hated and feared the grains of barley, but I loved the lima beans, and would search them out and eat them first.
  5. Like you as a kid growing up in the NY metro area and, then, having lived most of my adult life in NYC, I've been to all of the above as well:

    Di Fara: absolutely awesome pizza, but - and I hate to say this - the wait and then, literally, having no where to eat it but standing on the street corner (as most of the time the tiny shop is packed) has discouraged me from going here. But the pizza is stupid, ridiculous good.

    Peter Lugars: before food became a show and a thing, this place was doing fantastic steak in a old German Beerhall style place dating back over 100 years. No fuss, not fancy, but quality food and simple, good (not fawning) service. I'd put the original Palm (which just closed on 45th and 2nd) in the same category.

    Famous Ray's (and my favorite - John's Pizza in the village) - just incredible pizza

    Juniors - still buy the cakes (now from the Grand Central outlet).

    Katz's - the whole NY deli thing doesn't really work for me - I get the throw-back, Jewish-style immigrant place concept, but I don't want a sandwich that could feed three (priced to feed three - just cut the portion and price in thirds) and I don't enjoy the "schtick" that the waiters give. That said, I do appreciate the original decor most of these places have.
  6. What's better than lima bean succotash?
  7. ingineer

    ingineer One Too Many

    Roasted bone marrow on pumpernickel
  8. emigran

    emigran Practically Family

    My mom would make plain buttered lima beans as a side dish... their flavor is exquisite... a few weeks ago I remembered and actually bought a package of Birdseye Frozen... Happy to hear some of you all have enjoyed them as well...
  9. Down here, butter beans -as they're called- were and are a staple. Not the baby green ones (we eat those too, sometimes) but the big, full grown ones. The dried beans are simmered all day with a big hunk of smoked pork until they sort of disintegrate into a delicious gravy, then served with cornbread. Black eyed or other varieties of field peas were/are also cooked and served in this manner.

    Two popular entrees I remember well from growing up, and can't recall when the last time I've seen on a menu, were veal cutlet and trout almondine. As for the trout....seems that these days unless you are in a proper seafood restaurant (and even there, trout is not a popular item) the ONLY option is tilapia. It has even squeezed out catfish from the top spot around here. The tilapia growers association really cozied up tight with the boys from marketing.
    Bamaboots likes this.
  10. Breaded veal cutlets served with tomato sauce were a staple of my childhood. You could get them in any cheap lunchroom, or frozen. You still see the frozen ones around here in the "cheap frozen food" section, next to the Banquet fried chicken, Morton pot pies, and bagged tortellini, and I enjoy having them from time to time.

    But the only veal you ever see in restaurants anymore is spelled "veau" and they nick you for $18 for a piece about the size of a half dollar. Nertz to that.
  11. Yes...with tomato sauce, or more commonly brown gravy around these parts. I haven't even seen the crappy frozen ones in ages. As far as restaurants that would be nicking me $18 for a piece.....one of the upsides of having a bunch of kids is that I NEVER eat in places like that anymore. Never even entertain the thought of it. I do, however, relish the occasional greasy spoon diner repast. Not that there are too many of those left around anymore, that particular need of society being unfortunately filled by fast food joints these days.
  12. We had those breaded veal cutlet things growing up as well - cheap, easy dinner. Sometimes my mom or later when I helped with the cooking would put a piece of cheese on them as well. It wasn't until I started working and going to restaurants that I learned that veal was an "expensive" food - that really surprised me.
  13. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

    For breakfast, are there rolled oats with milk (boiled or not) known, in old-times of the USA? Rolled oats-soup, with sugar and milk, maybe?
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  14. Oh yes, Quaker Oats -- the most common US brand -- go back to the 19th century. Boil them up in salt water, and it's just the thing for a hot breakfast on a cold day, and the cost is still dirt cheap.

    Even cheaper is corn meal mush, which is simply meal boiled in salt water. We ate a lot of that growing up, and if there was any left over it was good for frying up in left over bacon fat.
  15. emigran

    emigran Practically Family

    Veal cutlets have certainly been replaced by the ubiquitous CHICKEN cutlet...
  16. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up


    "CHICKEN cutlet..."

    Oh, that sounds like a chicken-McNuggets-thing. :confused:;)
  17. Ever wonder what a "nice lunch" was like in the Era? Not a one-arm lunchroom lunch or a drugstore soda-fountain lunch, but a Fine Business lunch? Well, if you were lunching at the Hotel Bossert in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 16, 1938, I can tell you exactly what your options were.

    The Bossert, at the corner of Montague and Hicks Streets in downown Brooklyn, was considered the most elegant hotel in the borough -- "Brooklyn's Waldorf" -- and was very much the place where the movers and the shakers met to move and shake, dancing to the music of top orchestras at the Bossert's famous Marine Roof, or dining in style in the hotel restaurant. The menu for the date cited -- which inexplicably bears a photograph of the Hayden Planetarium on the front cover -- offers options for a "Club Luncheon" and a variety of a la carte choices.

    The Club Luncheon menu is a big deal -- you start with clam juice cocktail, tunafish ravigote, consomme, jellied Madriline, or cold chicken broth, and then move on to your choice of entree. This is not a "light lunch" by any stretch -- you can have a fried fillet of flounder at 65 cents, minced cream chicken with noodles au gratin at 65 cents, a poached egg a la Riene at 75 cents, a halibut salad, sliced egg, and tomato for 75 cents, calf's liver smothered in onions for 85 cents, a breaded pork tenderloin in charcutiere sauce for 80 cents, chopped sirloin steak on toast with cole slaw for 85 cents, or if you're prepared to pop a full dollar, cold roast lamb with potato salad. Each entree comes with your choice of broiled tomatoes, new Persille or home fried potatoes, or new string beans, along with a dessert -- a variety of pies, pastries, puddings, or ice cream -- bread rolls and butter, and your choice of coffee, tea or milk. If you want to spend an extra quarter you can get any Club Luncheon thru room service.

    A la carte choices are extensive -- appetizers include cherrystone or littleneck clams, shrimp, crabmeat or lobster cocktail, marinated herring, clam juice, celery hearts, ripe or green olives, fruit cocktails or various fruit juices. Soups range from cream of tomato and chicken broth to green turtle and oyster stew. Seafood choices include broiled shad roe, baked Alaska salmon, shrimp Newburgh and Lobster Thermidor, or if you prefer something from the Grill, enjoy a broiled fresh half-chicken, a lamb chop, broiled fresh mushrooms, or a Whole Lobster (at $1.75.) If you crave a steak, a sirloin for one will run you $2, or a Filet Mignon at $1.90. And if you're Walter F. O'Malley trying to impress a client go all out with the planked Chateau Briand with Bearnaise sauce for two at $3.25. But please note this selection requires twenty minutes preparation time.

    Sandwiches include a simple ham and egg at 40 cents, sardines at 35 cents, baked ham at 30 cents, American cheese at 25 cents, tongue at 35 cents, corned beef with cole slaw at 35 cents, sliced chicken at 55 cents, a three-decker Club sandwich at 70 cents, or steak with onions at a $1.25.

    Salad choices include a simple lettuce salad at 30 cents, sliced tomato at 40 cents, "combination" at 45 cents, the Chef's Salad at 40 cents, Alligator Pear salad at 40 cents, chicken salad at $1.10 and lobster salad at $1.25.

    If you're drinking, the featured cocktail of the afternoon is the Old Fashioned -- rye, bitters, sugar, orange, cherry, and lemon peel at a quorter. Or the Bossert's original "Velvet Rhythm Cocktail" made up of apple brandy, apricot, French Vermouth, and absinthe at 35 cents.

    If you abstain, your beverage choices are coffee, tea, demitasse, Certified Sheffield's milk, buttermilk, or Kaffee Hag -- which was Kellogg's brand of decaffeinated coffee. You will not order a Coke or any other soft drink, because fine restaurants in 1938 do not offer such beverages.

    A nickel an item charge will be levied on all a la carte room service orders.

    I'll have the breaded pork tenderloin a la carte for 55 cents and a cup of tea and I'll get change back from my dollar.

    The Bossert is still standing, and is in the process of a renovation with an eye towards reeopening as a "boutique" hotel some time next year. But I doubt fried flounder or sardine sandwiches will be on the menu.
    vitanola likes this.
  18. Cool - that stuff is always fun to read about.

    Surprised that the Filet Mignon is less expensive than the steak as, today, Filet is always (in my experience) more expensive than the basic steak (in the last years, all sorts of variations of steak are popping up, but prior to that, Filet Mignon was always the most expensive choice of meat).

    Two things I am glad have faded away from the Golden Era - smoking and organ meats.

    Were there no desserts offered - was that not something people had with lunch then?

    Me, I'm all about the chopped steak - sad that it has disappeared from most (not all) menus today.
  19. Desserts were rather pedestrian given the tone of the rest of the menu -- an assortment of pies, "French pastries" and ice cream. Only three flavors of ice cream were available - chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. If you want more, go to Howard Johnson's.

    The way "French pastries" were generally offered in such restaurants was that the waiter wheeled a cart laden with such items to your table and you selected the one you wanted. The cart would then wheel back to the kitchen to await the next customer. You could take as many as you wanted, but you'd pay the standard "French pastry" price for each one.

    As far as items you don't see anymore are concerned, every single prewar restaurant menu I've ever seen offers a "tongue sandwich," but no restaurant or deli I know of today offers one. I worked in a Czechoslovakian deli in California for a short time in 1983, and tongue was definitely still on the menu then -- as I found when I pried the lid off a five gallon pail to see a dozen tongues sticking out at me. I thought it was rather rude, and stuck mine out back.
    vitanola likes this.
  20. NYC still has a lot of old-school "Jewish style" delis going strong. They are not my thing, but I had a feeling they'd still have tongue on the menu so I pulled up the Second Avenue Deli (one of the old-school ones) menu and saw this under sandwiches:

    Tip Tongue (extra lean)..............................24.95 Center Cut Tongue ..................................24.95

    So you have your choice of what part of the tongue you want (ugh - but to each his own).

    As to price, just an fyi, the sandwiches in these places usually serve two or more as they are gigantic sandwiches (it's some crazy NYC Jewish deli thing).
    LizzieMaine likes this.

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