Thursday, September 23, 2010

23 September 1956 “Food Shopping and Kitchen Equipment: The Essentials”

shopping I thought I would share with you today some of the information from my 1950’s homemaker’s guides. Though the information might be dated for some, I find good common sense is timeless.
Here are some good lists to stock your pantry. (Click to enlarge)letsgoshoppingI would add to the diary a different variety of cheese, as I don’t usually like the taste of American cheese, but you could certainly follow this list to a T and be quite fine.
Isn’t it also interesting to note that many ladies had shopping baskets (as in the picture). Another point where we were ‘green’ in the 1950’s without even knowing what green was. A shopping basket or personal cart was rather normal. Paper bags were becoming popular at the large supermarkets, but many women were used to going to the local grocer and only filling their marketing basket. This especially continued in the cities, while in the new suburbs, shopping was not as frequent so you bought more and could carry it in your car as opposed to a bus or walking, so the paper bag became the norm.
Today I carry a vintage 1950’s circus canvas fabric basket from an old 1950’s grocery store. It folds up nicely and is easy to carry with my shopping bags.
I think this is a good way to approach a list. The idea of breaking it into percentage is a good solution and even could easily cater to your own needs. One could break it into any number, though this is a good solid foundation. This, by the way, is basically the formula that I use. I find that by having my marketing list annotated to these various needs it makes shopping simpler and easier to stay on budget.  A calculator (something not available to a 1950’s housewife) is also a good asset to this list. This allows one to tally up their products before reaching the checkout. Then, if something is putting you over your limit (and remember if you are shopping with cash you cannot just say, “Oh, well” because although the debit/credit card doesn’t care, the store will most likely frown on your trying to buy 50 dollars worth of groceries with 40 dollars.)
This is a fun little list to have. It gives a homemaker a good goal to reach for her stocked kitchen. One needn’t have all these things, but perhaps tacked up in the pantry as a sort of ‘wish list’ would certainly help. I have almost all of these things listed, including the deep fat fryer with basket. Mine is a vintage 1950’s variety I bought at a church bazaar for all of one dollar and is similar to this one.fryerad One day I would like a vintage stove that has one built in, like this: fryer A gal can dream, can’t she?
Many of these items can be bought ‘vintage’ and rather inexpensively. And, as I have almost always found, if it has lasted the past 60 years, it is well made.
Well, I hope you enjoy these little tips from my guides and I am sorry for the lateness in my posting today.
Until tomorrow Happy Homemaking.


  1. Great post. I am wondering if you could cite your source for the vintage lists; the book looks interesting and I would like to see if I can ILL it from my local library.


  2. I think I will print these list. :) I would also like to know the source. TY for sharing.

  3. I like that tapioca is a staple. :-) Also...not just any chocolate, but GHIRARDELLI.


  4. Great tips!Thankyou very much:)
    I,too would be interested in the books you used.

  5. I love these types of posts! Thanks for sharing, great information. I too would be interested in the source!

  6. I would love to see a photo of your vintage grocery shopping bag.

  7. The book I used for this is a small paperback simply entitled Home Makers Guide. I have tried to find it a few times on amazon so I could put it in the corner store, but to no avail. It was first published in 1950 and my copy has an intro entitled Home making forty-two years 1913-1955. If I ever do come across more copies, I will snatch them up and put them in an etsy shop (I plan on having a sort of yard sale sort of etsy shop on the new site so anything I have doubles of or don't need can find a new loving vintage home).
    I think I posted a photo of my shopping cart once full of fresh plants bought at our local farm.

  8. The post I made on 25 June of this year has a photo of my shopping basket filled with the bounty of that day: fresh herbs for my culinary herb garden purchased at our local farm. Here is the link

    I will scan the cover of my book to help any of you in case you spot it at any local book shops.

  9. I didn't know they had deep fat fryers for the home back cool!

  10. OK, On the equipment list there are measuring spoons, but NO measuring cups. And what the heck is a Chopping bowl? ;-)
    The staples list is very helpful.
    Great interesting post.
    Julie in WA

  11. A waffle iron that makes 8 waffles at one time? Wow! Mama needed that when we were growing up. It takes *forever* to make waffles for everyone.

  12. Thank you 50sgal for your blog posts. We've been selling our house, buying another, moving towns (which are all huge and different undertakings for us), and staying in temporary accommodation while my husband waits for his transfer. Much of this time internet has not been available but I always had the happy thought of 'conversations' with you and the ladies continuing, giving me so much delicious reading material when I did finally settle and returned to regular computer time. (All that inspiring reading material accumulating while I couldn't access the web. What a treat that was awaiting me.)

    It was particularly heartening to read your writings today after a few jibes from a visitor inferring I could do some typing for her resume for her promotion. (She is very high up on the corporate ladder.) get my mind off my home and onto something important. It is so comforting to know others place a high importance on the running of their homes. It is important and worthwhile and I love it but I did feel hurt by this professional person's digs at my choices in life. I'm happy that she's fulfilling her dreams. I think my are no lesser just because I don't get paid.

    Thanks for being there. Love you 'work'! Linda

  13. Ooops excuse typos.

  14. Thank you, Linda, as always I am always honored and happy whenever anyone appreciates my little 'attempts' here. I love our community and even when we disagree or inadvertantly step on one another's tail, I always come out of it feeling better, a little wiser, and glad for the effort.
    Unfortunately we may always have to deal with others seeing our 'being at home' as either a waste of time or 'mindless', but we know different. We all have different temperments and for those who feel comfortable in the boardroom, may truly be 'bored' in the home and vice versa. Yet, we who choose to be homemakers know there is no more challenging job for us than all that is entailed in running a home. We wear SO MANY hats. I hope your move is alright, I certainly know the pitfalls and annoyance of moving.

  15. I love this post, probably because I adore the lists in vintage homemaking books.

    Gingerella, I think a deep fat fryer back then would have been a large deep saucepan with basket rather than the electrical appliances we have today.


  16. Actually Kate, a deep fat fryer back then was, indeed, a deep fat fryer. Just as the ad I posted and as the fryer I have and use from the early 1950's.

  17. Really appreciate the 'budgeting versus bookkeeping' definition.

  18. Nice blog.
    Gorgeous blog. I liked it.
    its excellent

    Kitchen Equipment


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