Monday, February 2, 2009

2 February 1955 "TV, Coke, Nutrition, and Interiors"

2 February 1955: First Presidential news conference on network TV - Dwight Eisenhower on ABC.

Until 1955, Coca-Cola was available only as a soda fountain drink and in 6 1/2-ounce glass contour bottles.
1955 saw the debut of the King Size (10- and 12-ounce) and Family Size (26-ounce) glass contour bottles in the U.S., marking an important step in giving people more options to meet their needs.
I just bought the 8 oz. glass bottle 6 packs they have at our local grocery store. Unfortunately there is not diet soda until TAB in 1962, but with only 8 oz. of soda (1 cup) not too many calories. I love the feel and weight of the small bottle. It seems appropriate to my year, however the 8 oz. is even bigger than the original bottle.

Here is a real swell video showing the evolution of the coke can from 1955 to present:

I had decided to include some of the dietary information in one of the main cookbooks I use, then someone had commented on my last blog that they would like to see this, so here it is. This is only a small portion of the info, but I will include more in the future.

I really find it interesting that the daily amount of calories seems quite high and yet I don't think we had the obesity problem we have today in this country. Of course, after rationing in WWII I guess we were heading towards the eventual outcome as we began to stuff ourselves on the overabundance of food.

In post-WWII USA, the diet industry took off like a rocket. Diet books muliplied and monopolized the bestseller list. Metracal and other good substitute products were introduced very successfully as were national weight-reducing chains. Women were the primary targets of these marketing strategies.
Here we even see advertising giving various options for the low-calorie lifestyle.

With this new concern over calories and eating properly comes exercise. And, if you are a housewife in middle america that can only mean one thing. Jack Lalanne. Here he is talking about a diet plan:

Here is a great site that has most of his shows. This is the site I am using to start my 1950's exercise program:
"Between 1951 and 1985, LaLanne presented fitness and exercise advice on television. "The Jack LaLanne Show" was the longest running television exercise program. It began as a local program on San Francisco's ABC television station, KGO-TV, and was eventually carried on the ABC network nationwide. Critics said the show would last less than six weeks, but it ended up lasting 34 years. In 1959, LaLanne recorded Glamour Stretcher Time, a workout album which provided phonograph-based instruction for exercising with an elastic cord called the Glamour Stretcher."

Here he is in 1954. In 1955 (age 41): Jack swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. He is still alive today at 94.
I have been a good girl this week, and here is this mornings breakfast: black coffee and dry toast. It is hard to cook bacon, eggs, and pancakes, as I did this morning for hubby, and not want to snack. I am determined, however, as the fashions of 1955 have really inspired me to finally drop those pounds I have been chasing around for the past few years.

Now, speaking of food, I am still cooking using recipes in my book, no modern meals of bulger wheat etc. Last night I made a really good Vegetable au gratin dish. My cookbook tells you how to make vegetables au gratin and then it is up to you WHAT vegetables. I did green beans, potatos, and peas. They were SO yummy.
Here is what it looked like before I dished it up. The bread crumbs were quite tasty mixed into it.

Today was a Gussie day. As it is washday, I did (am still doing) the laundry. In the America's Housekeeping Book under the Household Employees chapter it suggests: "Experienced homemakers will tell you that if the employee does the washing and ironing, the homemaker must assume a major share of the other housekeeping jobs on laundry days." I, in fact, did the reverse. I did the laundry while 'Gussie' cleaned, shopped for the meal, prepared it and cleaned up afterwards. I have to say I am getting used to having the help. I am hoping that the interest 'Gussie' has in the project will last the year out.
With no dishes to do and a wonderful warm meal to be served up, I even had time to 'dress for dinner'.
Having had the freedom to go out shopping, I did.
I found this wonderful vintage metal step stool at one of my antique haunts. It is so perfect for the kitchen redo. Obviously I have to repaint the seat, but I am hoping I can find a matching red to this color as I believe it is the original paint. I want splashes of red to go along with my robins egg blue and touches of yellow. I can't wait until this and the 'new ice box' get to dwell in the kitchen. Do any of you have vintage kitchens?

I also stopped at our local Sherwin Williams paint store. I love it as it seems very 1950's to go to a store dedicated to paint and wallpaper instead of HomeDepot. They have a nice line of vintage paint colors. So, I nabbed these two great brouchures fot the 1950's. I think the cover artwork is so nice.

This scan is not completely true to one of the palletes in the brouchere, but you can get the general idea. I am thinking of this pink as the main color of my new sewing/laundry room. I think a very girly pink confectionary room would be fun in a smaller space and one in which I will only use sometimes. What do any of you think?
I also bought five of these boxes. I know they are not vitage, but I think they definitely have a vintage feel. I can see them on a shelf to hold patterns and ribbon and zippors etc. They have great little metal tag holders on the front. Don't you love the image on the top of the box? I hope it isn't too modern. I have some wonderful vintage wallpaper I found today that is too delicate to actually cover walls, but I think I will use it for hat boxes for my closet as well as some for my sewing room and some in the kitchen redo maybe on some tins or maybe to line the back of a cabinet. The color in the scan is not very true to the real color, but you get the idea.
I also found a wonderfrul vintage repro new plaid wallpaper in taupe and soft blues and greens that I might use in the living room which is going to become the library. There will be pics when I get to that. I really want to do wallpaper. It is making a comeback today and would be quite normal to use in the 1950s.
Well, I need to post this as I have to get back to my laundry. I think I have done far too much galavanting about today. I won't take the time to edit, so you will excuse me I hope. Have a great day.


  1. hi there, this is courtney from You commented on my page about giving the awards... i'd assume it would be alright to just copy and save the award image and then post it on your blog to award others. I dont think there is a rule that you have to be given an award first... try googling blog awards perhaps you can find customized ones that fit what kind of award you want to give.

    Im glad you contacted me though, Ive enjoyed reading your posts! Thanks!

  2. OOOH I wish I could time warop back to when soda was made with sugar! and NOt high fructose corn syrup.

    You can get cola from mexico in old time bottles with sugar instead of HFCS, its so yummy. we have a store here that sells over 300 types of soda in a bottle!

  3. I had a nice long comment about how I am loving your blog and that, yes, I do have a vintage kitchen but your commenting software ate it (twice) because it won't let me comment using my Wordpress ID. :(

    I looked for contact information for you so that I could suggest that you adjust your comments but couldn't find one. I wonder how many others are running into the same problem.


    A Modern Retro Woman

  4. I really like the yellow and aqua paint colours with that soft sugary pink, imagine how lovely they would be in a striped cotton summer dress! I think wallpaper would be a very authentic touch, when I was watching Mad Men that was one of the things which really stood out in Betty's house, the tartan wallpaper in the kitchen, and I think floral in the living room.

  5. My great-aunt has that very same red step stool!

    I don't have a vintage kitchen as I am a renter. My mother has promised to give me some of her "treasures" when DH and I buy a house. :)

    She found an old icebox in horrid condition years ago and she repaired and refinished it. It looks very similar to this but she used a darker stain on it.

  6. My mother had the pink, yellow and aqua in her kitchen with a grey and white lino tiles on the floor with an occasional accent of the pink, yellow and aqua.

  7. I love your breakfast dishes!
    About the calorie thing-I wonder if it was based on how active people were back then as compared with today?

    Thanks for the comment, Britain has its ups and downs. While it wouldn't be a place I'd settle long term, it has been a nice experience at times. (That sounds so negative! It just gets overwhelming at times!)

  8. 50sgal,

    Are those nutrition pictures from Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens, or some other book? Those pictures don't look anything like the page in my Better Crocker book, and in my Betty Crocker book there are seven food groups recommended. Are you interested in me typing up what the seven foods groups are that are in my book? Thanks for posting those pictures. Either way it's very interesting.

    In regards to the meal planning and nutrition, I asked my elderly neighbor if people really did eat as they depicted in the magazines, etc. of the 1950s, with 3 full meals a day, cookies and milk after school, etc. She said that people really did eat that way. I'm amazed. I don't know how they didn't gain a lot of weight. She said that she thinks people just moved more. They were not sitting behind a computer all day, and more people walked places then, etc. In general they just moved more. Come to think of it, they were living life instead of sitting (tv, computer, play station, etc.) and existing through it. What a huge difference between our time and theirs, and it wasn't even that long ago! Anyhow, I just thought you would find our conversation interesting. I had always wondered if those images of well feed families were just an "image" or if people really did eat that way. Now I know.

  9. PL that would be great if you could post those images. My nutrition infromation is from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I think maybe they didnt have all the food groups yet, in mine. I would love to see them.
    The hubby and I were just talking about the amount of food I now prepare and he thinks actually it is healthy and that with exercise you would be rather healthy. I mean all those people that were young in 1950 are the old healthy long-living generations of elderly we now have. But, not just sitting in front of a computer and tv etc. I notice now, that I am constantly 'doing'. I have to force myself to have computer time somtime during the day to get my posts and research it, but I am always felling the need to go and do. I think I will talk about this today in my post.

  10. Oh, PL do you have a blog? Whenever I try to follow your link it says private and must be invited or somthing, so if you do post let us see them somehow or just list them here on my blog I suppose! Thank you so much!

  11. -->> .. o the cleaning power of coca-cola.

    I use it to degrease all my engines and i douse the toilet bowl with a nice, cool refreshing bottle every week to get rid of those awful hard-water stains.


  12. I forgot this earlier! I have a '50s Betty Crocker cookbook ( not sure of the exact year) and on the page about how to make gravy, one of the bulletin points says:

    "Remember gravy contains some of the precious vitamins and minerals from the meat. Bread and gravy is a nutritious dish we can profitably enjoy."

    Everybody be sure and eat enough gravy today!!

  13. I collect vintage cook books and recipes and love that you include recipes on your posts. Would you be interested in swapping recipes? We could do it via snail mail to fit in accordance with your project.

  14. Quick "ad" here! I FINISHED my 30-day challenge of cooking only from my pantry!

    Please come and celebrate with me and leave an entry to win a lovely book about tea. It's not vintage, but it does take you back to a more restful time.


  15. Gravy IS important, almost as important as Bacon fat!
    16_sparrows: What a lovely idea! I would be glad to do a snailmail of recipes. Since starting my project I have rekindled my love affair with old writing tools and now keep a daily 1955 journal with my grandfather's fountain pen. I would love an excuse to use it for letter writing. Let me know how we could exchange addresses?

  16. Dearest,

    I found your blog recently and you are just so charming. I am very much enjoying your 1950's experience.

    I live in a restored Victorian home that has been in my husband's family for over 100 years. I too "time warp" as I go about my day. Of course, we are not in the same era, but I find that I also am "jarred" when I return to the "normal" world.

    I dress in Victorian inspired fashions and try to look feminine everyday. I do think it makes you feel differently and I enjoy the lovely comments I receive when I am out in public.

    If you ever do visit blogs....I think I remember you saying that you don't as it obviously wouldn't be very 50's, please visit me at
    I would love to share my day with you!

    Yours so kindredly,
    Honey Hill Farm

  17. 50sgal,

    I don't have a profile set because I don't have a blog, or any other useful information to share. Honestly, your blog is the only blog I follow because I try not to spend much time on the computer. I came across the blog originally when Marzipan was here after I did a search on the 1950s. Thankfully, you picked up the blog spot and happened to be doing the same sort of thing, which, by the way, I'm loving how you are doing this project and blogging about it, so I stayed. I love so many things about the 1950s, and because it applies to how I look at life and live my own life, the time that I do spend on the computer usually relates to that in some way.

    I would love to scan those pictures, but I don't know how to do that. Maybe my husband can help me figure out how to do it tonight.

    16_sparrows, I collect vintage cookbooks also. Just recently I donated some of them to our church book sale. I really needed to clear my bookshelves, so I kept my favorite ones and donated the ones that I liked but didn't find interesting enough to continually take off the shelf, or ones that I had duplicates of. After you mentioned collecting vintage cookbooks, I have the urge to go to all the thrift stores to see if I can find any of the cookbooks that didn't sale (making their way to the thrift store) and mail them to any of you that would have liked to have them. Oh well, some other vintage cookbook loving person will get to treasure them.

    Hairball and 50sgal, you had me gut laughing with your gravy and bacon fat comments. We grew up eating bread and gravy. My Dad especially loves bread and gravy, and still eats it to this day. It's been a long time since I've had bread and gravy. I have so many memories of these types of things, not because I grew up in the 50s (I'm only 35) but because my Dad and Mom still did those things when I was growing up (using metal ice cube trays, bread and gravy, cup of bacon fat on the back of the stove (even to this day) etc.) Also, the interior of my Grandma's house was still painted and decorated 50s style my entire life. She passed away several years ago and my older brother got her vintage stove. I absolutely love it and am secretly jealous that I don't have it, but I know he treasures it and will take care of it, so that makes me feel better. I did get several of her embroidered hankies, which are sweet little hankies, and her old Willow patterned Thanksgiving platter, but most of her things went to her children. I was offered to take some of her knick knacks (porcelain birds, etc.), but not being a knick knack person, I passed on those and just stuck with the hankies, and her Thanksgiving platter.

    50sgal, is there a way for me to get a hold of you if I want to e-mail/contact you privately?

  18. I have tried to figure out how to have an 'email me' button, as I have seen them on other blogger blogs, but cannot. IF anyone knows how let me know as I would like to enable it so people could email me directly if they would like to. Thank you so much.

  19. you also have to remeber that portion sizes were smaller back then... often when I cook one of Mrs B's recipes for 4-5 people... it barely looks enough for 3-4 people

  20. That could be. My neighbor didn't mention anything about portion sizes being smaller then. Yes, restaurant sizes are known to be bigger now, but I wonder how many people actually ate smaller portions than we do now. I mean, if they ate well rounded meals... meat, potatoes, several sides, bread, salad, etc. serving sizes for each dish would be smaller because more food/dishes overall would be on the table. Picnics are a good example of this. When more food is available, I take tiny samples of the things present, and I still end up with an overflowing plate, so the overall portion is not smaller, just the individual portions are smaller.

    Like I said, my neighbor said that most people did serve well rounded, full meals for each meal, including desserts after dinner on a regular basis, just like you see in the magazines of the time. Even when I was growing up, my Mom, still having those types of meals as a part of her past, on most nights would make meals consisting of a meat dish, a starch, at least two sides of vegetables w/ butter, and a loaf of bread for whoever wanted bread and gravy, on our table, and dessert EVERY night. We also had the common casseroles that included all of those things in it as well. So, I'm not sure what the difference really is. I tend to agree with my neighbor that it has more to do with how little we move nowadays. Not to say that what you said isn't true in some way, but I just wonder how much of it is that vs. activity levels. I mean, a recipe in a book may say a certain serving amount, but there's no way for us to know that that was how much a person put on their plate, or how many other dishes were at the table that they were serving themselves from which could have something to do with why cookbooks had smaller portions for the serving sizes. Anyhow, I'm not outright discounting what you are saying, I'm just wondering out loud and hoping other might have something to add to this topic because it's something that has puzzled me for a long time.

  21. I have two thoughts to share regarding the issue of calories then and now.

    The first is I don't believe they "snacked." They ate 3 squares and the dessert. I tend to graze all day on things that are SO very available to us in aisle after aisle (and on the corner at the fast-food place).

    The other is that "low-fat" and "fat-free" are actually NOT good for you. I won't go into it here, but an excellent place to research about that is

    You'll find in reading their info that fats in dairy products and foods made from PROPERLY raised animals are extremely good for you.

    The synthetic, sterlized, growth-hormone infused foods we usually consume aren't doing much for us and could be contributing to our country having so many more overweight people than ever before.


  22. I know that now I serve more for a meal, but I think I do eat less. In fact I know I eat less, as I am sticking to a 'diet-plan' for the housewife. However, saying that I have to say that I don't have time to feel hungry or to snack really. You see, I am so busy doing things all day it doesn't occur to me to cheat. For example, today was ironing day and I also had bathrooms to clean and I did the floors on the first floor. I have two sets of stairs to run up and down and three floors to clean, so I am constantly moving. I know tonight I made a honey glazed ham (pic in tomorrows blog I even put in the cloves!) and potatoes as well as a veg side and a dessert. Hubby (who is thin) had two helpings of ham and one of vegs and potatos. I forget to put bread on, so I should start doing that. But on my own plate I sort of do the 'picnic' plan PL talked about, where I just but a little of the things I have made and honestly I feel quite full afterwards and I skipped dessert. I also agree that non-fat and etc is not good for you. I think that bacon fat, cream and lard are all good in moderation and are certainly more natural than some chemically made item. Yet, skim milk was availavble in 1955 and many 'low-calorie' items were becoming available. I do think, and hubby and I have talked of this often of late, that the meals I know make seem healthy somehow. I am using fairly natural ingredients. He also finds himeself with so much more energy in the morning (he has a commute to the city to face every day!) and that his lunches are always a treat as well as saving money on his buying lunch. He also has complimented me on my lunches being better than he had ever bought before. I think a study on eating habits of then and now would be very interesting. They certainly had chips but not like we do now and I don't think a kid would have ate bags of chips and he would have been out running around the neighborhood NOT playing video games and watching tv non-stop. Portions that u purchased were smaller. Coke came in a 6 1/2 oz bottle! Cups of coffee were tea cup size. I Mean think of the calories in our Venti Lattes with Vanilla etc. It is very interesting, that is for sure.

  23. 50sgal,

    Well, we got the pages scanned to our computer, but I don't think I can post them to the blog since it's not my blog; I have no idea how I could do it. I can e-mail the pictures to you so that you could upload them once you figure out how we can contact you directly.

    I have read Weston A. Price's work and I completely agree with his finding, which is why I try hard, according to budget, to eat natural, whole foods. We don't completely avoid refined/processed foods, but we don't have it on a regular basis either. The majority of our food is healthy, made from scratch meals, which I think provides cushion room for the slice of cake or pie, even though it's not the healthiest food. My gut instinct tells me that it is a combination of moving less, and food not being made from scratch, using healthy ingredients.

    50sgal, I'm so glad you mentioned the difference that your husband has experienced. I think he's a good example of how eating healthier helps the body to function better even while eating more. For myself, over the past couple of years I lost 65 lbs., gaining some of it back over the holidays from eating more junk food, but I lost the weight by slowing changing my diet over time to a healthier whole food diet. I've always made my meals from scratch/homemade, but before I did not pay as much attention to the health factor, whereas health/nutrition (thanks, in part, to Mr. Price) is my primary focus now. I find that when I'm eating healthy, real foods, I can easily maintain my weight and eat more, but when I start eating too much junk food (like I did during the holidays) the pounds just fly on...really. I easily maintained my 65 lb. loss for a year continuing to eat healthy food. I learned a good lesson though...when the holidays come around again, I'm not going to be so free with the junk food. At that point, I had thought that since I had no problem maintaining my weight loss that splurging during the holidays would not affect me much, but it did. I gained weight and bloated up 15 lbs. before I could blink. Anyhow, I'm just rambling now, but I just wanted to share from my own experience recently what a difference there is in how my body reacts to different foods. Oh, and I lost my weight without exercising because I just don't care for it much and I wasn't going to wait until I learned to like exercising before I started eating healthier. Well, I lost the weight before learning to like exercise. :) I mention that to point out that just changing how I ate caused me to lose the weight, and I didn't gain weight during the holidays because I wasn't exercising as much; nothing changed except the foods I was eating. Now I need to work on learning to enjoy exercise more...I like walking, but that's about it.

  24. 50sGal,
    hey, I really have been enjoying your blog, in part because I was there, that's right, a real 'oldy but a goody' as we would have said then.
    All of the comments about "they" regarding anyone living in the 50's is kinda wierd to me, since I know tons of people who were there and remember it well (and aren't in rest homes, but passing as middle-aged people today).
    For us, it doesn't seem that long ago.
    Ok, I admit, I was a kid then, but one thing I do remember is the food! A few of my observations from then--
    portions--boy did we eat less!!! I mean I don't ever remember being full after a meal. Money was still scare in a post WW2 way, so these mommies were into dollar stretching. When you don't have tons to eat, you stay pretty thin.
    variety--food was very seasonal, and lots of things were canned, while frozen was slowly moving in(frozen peas, corn or spinach, and not much more). Yes, we ate that canned stuff, what choice did we have? And those mommies loved their mazazine recipes too, especially promoted by canned products (how many things could we make with Campbell's tomato soup? how about cake, for starters). Fresh veggies were seasonal, and local, so use your imagination on that one.
    monotony: yup, alot of repetition with meal variety
    meat 'n potatoes? of course, but in small portions, like I'm guessing 1/4 lb. max per person of meat. And then there was meatloaf, whatta way to stretch ground beef.
    weight gain: I am a big believer in the harm we have brought thru our chemically enginereed meat and dairy products, you can be sure that hormones and preservatives are going to affect the consumer's body. Also, we did move alot. What mom today says "go outside and play', or simply locks the kids out side for the day!
    gosh, I'm boring you already.
    but seriously, try the food, it won't hurt.

  25. Jen, I'm so glad you responded. 1/4 lb. of meat is a good serving size. It sounds like serving sizes may be quite similar. I'm not referring to super sized portions that people sometimes eat. Either way, it seems that there was definitely a more well-rounded layout of food for many people. I assume that what was on the table had some to do with the area a family lived, and the abundance of food, or lack thereof, produced in that particular area, and how well/quickly a family recovered from the challenges of WWII. Of course, the further away society got from WWII and became more prosperous would reflect what was being served, which is more the time period I'm thinking about, when things were not quite as tough. My parents were married in 1955, and they weren't facing their new married life with the challenges that their parents faced in raising them. As a side note, I recently put my Mom's wedding dress on (which had been her prom dress...a story in itself) and it fit me perfectly. It was so much fun being able to put her dress on and have it fit. I have a picture of myself in the dress, which will be a treasured photo.

  26. Wow, this is a great topic! I should discuss diet more! Jen, u were there?! That is great. I actually have been trying to only use what fresh vegetables I figure we would have trucked in from california (which I know was happening in 1955) and I have been using canned goods. It is an aisle I never really contemplated before, much like the baking aisle, but I do buy canned food now, as I know it would be a normal part of my shopping in 1955. Honestly, I think I am in love with canned green beans. They taste quite yummy, I think. Of course, we still take our vitamins (which I know were just becoming available). I say I am preparing smaller portions. Actually I cook large but then we eat some for dinner, some goes into hubbys lunch (which he loves a 'dinner' for lunch instead of just a sandwich) and then some get saved for a potpie later in the week etc. It seems I am buying so much more and yet spending so much less at the checkout! Also food is MUCH cheaper now then it was in 1955. People see the old prices and think "O only 30 cents a pound!" but when you use the inflation calculator I use, you see alot of food is much cheaper today. I also do not have to feed a whole family, just myself and my husband and occasionally Gussie (it's part of her job after all to recieve meals) How lovely for you to have that dress! My husbands paternal grandmother who is very old and lives in Seattle is almost exactly the age I would have been at this experiment. She is getting on, but I really want to start writing her for advice and questions. She was married in the 40's and houseife in 50's with children. She is a great vast field of knowledge. I love all the dialogue we have opened up!

  27. 50s gal - I guess we should exchange addresses via email for this first time (or maybe your husband can email for you). My email is: 16sparrows (at) gmail (dot) com

  28. That breakfast will bore you to death I'm sure! How about adding a boiled egg and some fruit? Both were available in the fifties and I'm sure a clever housewife would have done so too. :)

    PS: I LOVE the boxes, wish I could buy such ones in Denmark. :)

  29. Sanne-if I can find anymore at the store, I'd be happy to send you a couple, not sure how expenisve it is to ship to Denmark though.

  30. There was virtually no fast-food then, and people only went out to restaurants on special occasions. Restaurant and "fast" food is loaded with calories. Not nearly as many snack foods available at the store, either.


 Search The Apron Revolution