Monday, January 23, 2012

23 January 1933 “1930’s, Here I Come…again. Yummy Spiced Coffee Cake, Breakfast Cereal, Twentieth Amendment to U.S. Constitution and our President Roosevelt talks about Foreclosures.”

30swomankitchen Well, as usual, all your lovely thoughts put things into perspective. And I find myself again thankful for our little community. Though we are not actual neighbors, as virtual neighbors you are all gems. You sat me down and made me feel good, as if we were gabbing over a cuppa and some coffee cake in the kitchen or over the fence. I thank you.

I see by the poll that a large majority are happy for me to continue onwards in the 1930’s. And to those few of you who have voted for my return to 1950’s know that I shall, in time, return there. In many ways it is a sort of normal living for me. And, at the year’s end, may happily move to simply a state of 1950’s stasis. I do think, however, that the 1950’s fans will find some fun and excitement in the 1930’s as well. Remember, this is living history to those 50’s homemakers, either in their own childhood or simply lessons learned from Mother. It would have played a major role in their development. And so, in true deeper investigative form that I so love, find it really adds to my understanding of the 1950’s. And, how much more will I appreciate my 1950’s things after my sojourn through the 30’s and into the beginning of the War in Europe?

Therefore, I shall get back to it, as it were, and focus more on what I am doing and learning and worrying less about comments. But, do know it was for you and because I do care about who reads my little scribblings. You have all come to mean so much to me, even those who merely read and don’t comment, in your well wishing or even casual interest, it spurs a gal onward to try harder and to be truer to herself and her project. I also think I may include more polls in the future as they are sort of fun. Most likely dealing with things pertaining to the 1930’s of course.

Now, how about a lovely 1930’s recipe.

spicedcoffeecakerecipeThis morning I made hubby and I a lovely coffee cake from my 1930’s Better Home’s and Gardens Cookbook. I checked again in my 1950’s version and could not find a coffee cake recipe in there. I have a few I used in the 1950’s, my favorite being the Fanny Farmer version. But, wanting to compare the 30’s recipe with the same book in the 50’s could not find the recipe at all, odd. If I have simply overlooked it, do let me know readers and tell us page number and such if you have a copy of the 1950’s version of the cook book. spicedcoffeecake1 Here it is fresh from the oven, I wish I could impart the smell to you! It was heavenly. And our having had snow recently made the warm spicy aroma even more enticing as one wants to simply curl up with a slice and a warm cup of tea or coffee in front of the fire.

I served it with hot coffee for our breakfast. Hubby loved it. I was worried it would be too spicy, as I find many modern palates do not appreciate the more deeper spices I find in older recipes. I often peruse Victorian recipes and see such things as candied fruits and heavily spiced foods were more normal, mainly due to their lack of refrigeration as well as taste.

I am finding, thus far, that the recipes I have encountered do have a bit more chemistry or work in them than some of the 1950’s versions. I am glad to have done the 1950’s earlier. I also noted that this cookbook has, as does the 1950’s variety, much use of shortening over butter. I have since found out that this was mainly part of the push to get homemakers to switch to it, but in fact many would be using butter or lard in lieu of shortening as I did. I chose butter as the recipe begins with your mixing the flours and spices with the fat as you would a pastry. I always use ice cold butter for pastry so did so here.

If you would like to follow this recipe here are some things you can do. If you do not have cake flour, as I never do, simply make it by replaces 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in each cup used in a recipe. And if you do not have buttermilk, I usually do when I make my own butter, you simply add one tsp white vinegar to your one cup measuring cup, then fill to full with milk (at least 2% milkfat or higher) and let stand 15 minutes. I did that today and it worked fine.

spicedcoffeecake2 This cake is so dense and rich. It rises a treat and has such warm and hearty fragrances. When I was making it I thought, “my this is quite a bit of butter for that little 8 x 8 pan” but it is so dense and rich that one small piece and hubby and I were more than full. It has an almost softer note of a gingerbread but a bit lighter overall. I highly recommend it and it really gives one a taste of what was considered a treat in 1930’s.

wheatiesadI thought for fun, I would share this wheaties ad from one of my 1933 magazines. It is interesting as it involves the use of a sports here, Babe Ruth, as a means to lure one into buying the product. One is also able to collect a prize by mailing in a box top. I thought the drawing also fun to see the 1930’s women and the look of the children as well. Certainly eggs and bacon and oatmeal are more likely to be found on that breakfast table, but the move towards prepared cereals are growing.

Now, for some news:

Today, 23 January 1933, the 2oth Amendment to our U.S. Constitution is ratified, changing Inauguration Day from March 4 to January 20, starting in 1937.

This process was meant to put an end to lame duck congress or government. That is to say, with the length of time to March, an outgoing President and his administration may not have the ability or support to act quickly enough to various circumstances. It also dealt with the situation were there no president elect. If the president were to be killed or die and there were no vice president in line of succession, that line was now laid out. This same instance of who is next in line was dealt with again in the Succession Act of 1947.

Many felt that during Lincolns election, this stalemate of waiting until March affected greatly his dealing with the Civil War and was used as the argument for the 20th Amendment.

Here we see the new President Roosevelt discussing the current plans to recover from the Depression. His talk about halting foreclosures of farms and homes until solutions are found would be greatly appreciated today, as well, I am certain. I know many seem to think it odd for me to compare today with the Depression, but in so doing I am not belittling the struggles of those who suffered through it, but only drawing parallels so that we might, today, not repeat such history.

We are not currently as bad off as those in the 1930’s, but we must remember MANY now are being saved by policies invented during that time. Unemployment, Healthcare, Social Security and the like are readily available today, but were only being created then. Were we not to have them I am certain we would feel it much harder. I know, as someone who gets no government money, has to pay very high prices for healthcare and property and income taxes, that with the rise in grocery bills and the relative inflation in our current dollar, we personally have had a pay loss. Just the increase in fuel and food costs over the past three years (the last time hubby received a raise) has made it seem as if he has lost at least a $2 an hour pay cut. 

Our current unemployment rate of 8% would also be closer to 20% if we used the same system as they did in the Depression rather than our new system. Also our current inflationary figures do NOT count food or fuel costs, which seems rather odd when those are the greatest factors affecting the poor and middle classes.

We do need to respect those who have gone, but let us not, for one instance, think that we might not ever find ourselves in dire straights again. As I always say, “Forewarned is Forearmed”.

Happy Homemaking.

Now, to our President:




  1. I love the recipe for the cake. It looks so yummy I really want to try it.
    The pictures are wonderful. I'm so looking forward what you will write about during this year. I don't know a lot about the thirties and I would love to learn more.
    Have a wonderful day.

  2. I have noticed that several of my older cook books (pre 1950s) have a section at the beginning of the book that explains what they intended for use of each ingredient. A couple of these books explain that when they say shortening, they mean lard, butter or veg. shortening. They use the word shortening to encompass all three.
    Amy F.

  3. That cake looks scrumptious! I noticed too as you said that the food is spicier in the olden days. I haven't minded too much so far except for one recipe I made that was not good. It's fun trying all these old recipes! You have really inspired me! For that I thank you! And I am with Monique - I am interested in learning more about the '30s too and will be following your blog closely!

  4. Hello! I tried a couple times (both unsuccessful) to leave a comment on your previous post. I wanted to encourage you in your 1930's living, despite the disappointment some of your readers might be feeling. Wanted to take part in the poll too! As well, I'd like to say that I appreciated reading your thoughtful analysis of the naysayers' comments. You may have hit upon the truth when you remarked that the disappointment for these readers might be because they viewed your 1950's blog as a "little oasis", I think you said. That could very well be the truth of the matter, & they feel a sort of homesickness now.

    Nevertheless, your time travel, these experiments in living as a homemaker from another decade, should be viewed as a live, ongoing project. We can't, any of us, purge the reality of the here & now completely from our lives. But we can happily visit you as you treat us to this year-long tutorial of 1930's America. Maybe you'll like it so much you'll do a second year! Or maybe you'll move back to the 50's.

    Whatever you decide to do, I so enjoy visiting you here, poking around, & learning whatever interesting little bits of information you've gleaned for us, your readers. Thanks!


  5. I am very glad that you have decided to stay in the 30's this year. I've loved and studied that decade since I was in high school, which was over 35 years ago, and have decorated my house in the 30's style as much as possible. I use my Depression glass to serve food often and have a collection of cookbooks from then. I've looked for a blog about the 30's for a while but haven't found many. I've followed your 50's blog for a long time so imagine my delight when you decided to go back to the 30's. I look forward to 1933!

    Julia H.

  6. I was looking for a blog about living in an earlier decade tonight, primarily because I have lost interest in living in the current decade. It's just too shallow. I found this. I've been reading here for about four hours. Wonderful stuff.

    Thank you.

  7. Yum! I'm going to try that coffee cake this week!

  8. I am LOVING your venture into the 1930s. It's always been a decade where I feel most at home, and as you point out, one that a 50s housewife would know all too well!

    Thank you for sharing all of it with us!

  9. I love your blog, I too tried to leave comments prior but I was unable. I have been following your blog for quite some time and I really do enjoy it!

    You are doing a wonderful job, enjoy your foray into the 1930's!!

  10. I commented on my own blog at the beginning of this month, when I worked out our 2012 budget, that I was much surprised to see that we actually made more this year than last...but we received less of it! Add in, as you point out, the rising costs of gasoline and groceries and goods in general, no raise in four years and the new 'budget', lol.

    I agree with you that there are parallels between today's 'recession' and the depression of the 1930's. It was, to an extent glossed over in media reports but nonetheless it has occurred. And it continues, let there be no mistake about that! It continues.

    I would also note here that my Granny who came of marriage age in the 1930's and experienced firsthand the effects of depression upon her rather large family and extended family, fretted mightily over the news and the things she saw over the last five years. She would frequently ask, "What are people going to do?" As you pointed out, there are systems put into effect during those days that protect the majority from the losses many experienced in the depression era, but I found it worrisome that she, in her experience saw a repeat of that era arriving in this day and age.

  11. I'm seconding Anon's comment about older recipes that called for shortening meant for the cook to choose her preference or use whatever was available, butter, oil, lard, or veg. shortening. My mother explained this to me when she was first teaching me to cook MANY years ago. I've noticed other younger bloggers trying vintage recipes have been confused by this older terminology also.

  12. Happy to see comments are now working! Some old cook books especially Mennonite or Amish will have a recipe for Crumb Cake that is basically a coffee cake.

  13. I am happy to see you are back to domestic joys and life is good again... I just wanted to add something rather off subject. I just found a new blog that shows lots of 1930s fashions etc that you might not know about. She also doe 40s things but has lots of photos of her wearing or stars etc wearing 1930s clothes and hair styles. More inspiration. I enjoy your blog better though I might add. Sarah

  14. I ams so sorry...I wrote the wrong address to the blog above!! :( I left out a word. It is Sarah

  15. The 1930's were a desperate time for many, unfortunately where i live we still are struggling with high unemployment, my husband is finally working steady for the first time in four years, it's been a long haul, if we hadn't paid off our house a long time ago i don't know what would have become of us.

    Sure there is a safety net now we have EI here but unemployment insurance is only 400 dollars a week, a family cannot get by on that alone especially if there is only one breadwinner as is the case of my husband.

    But every week we face with him being laid off, because it's cheaper to find labour in mexico, china etc., unlike the depression our manufacturing sector has taken a hit, jobs have disappeared, good paying jobs replaced by minimum wage.

    This is not the future i want for my boys, we have some money set aside for post secondary education, college would be covered but university not by a long shot, here one semester is five thousand dollars, this has changed me I'm less optimistic now, and more realistic, i've always been frugal and it has served us well, but i struggle to feed a family of four here in canada on 170.00 a week (this includes meat, fresh produce, fruit etc).......

    I worry alot and this has been a stressful time for us, i'm so tired of corporations posting massive profits, yeah not maintain decent levels of wage minimum wage is 10.25 no way can you support a family in canada on that.

    keep up the good work in the 30's

    Mom in Canada

  16. Thanks for the coffee, news and recipe. I found a few thing i wanted to share with you. I was looking at one of my farming magazines and it had a ad for Homestead general store. I looked it up on the internet and they sell shampoo in a bar. They also have bar dish soap and laundry soap. I will not give up my Fels-Naptha but it might be fun to it a try. Also, to give us a needed lift, check out Annette Hanshaw singing "When I'm housekeeping for you." on you tube.I thought this would be a cute song for 1930's housewives.

  17. I dug through some of my old magazines to see if I had anything from the 1930's. Farmers Wife, March 1931-60 pages. Advertisements for Listerine, Cream of Wheat, Smith Brothers cough drops, Swans Down cake flour, Lsne Bryant (!!!)Lux Toilet soap (bar, 10 cents)("The years can make any girl more alluring if she keeps Youth!"), Wrigley's spearment gum, Fels Naptha, Pepsodent, Lux Laundering soap, Sears and Roebuck, Oxydol, Vicks Vapor Rub, Rinso (laundry soap), Shredded Wheat, Frenches Mustard, Royal Baking powder. Kirks Hardwater Castile Soap, Dr. Scholl's pads (corns), Mentholatum. Lava soap, and Pillsbury's Best Baking Flour. And a lot of ads for seeds, feed etc for the farm. It was intersting to see so many familiar products. If you can afford it, Fortune magazines from the 1930's are real gems. The ads are lovely, and there is a wealth of world news and social commentary. Very different from Fortune magazine of today.


  18. deb-I shall be on the look out for said magazine. And thank you all for your help. Not knowing much about the 1930's makes it more exciting for me. I always was fascinated by the 1950's while the 30's didn't draw as much. I feel this will give me a fresher approach and be less biased one way or the other. That is I have no agenda to prove the 30's is really good or bad. Though, I didn't really in the 1950's either, but I had some preconceived notions and ideas going in. It shall be an adventure and I hope all who voted for 1958 will happily still come along and find they might enjoy it as well.

  19. I am not sure if you'll see this comment, since it is coming 3 years late! But that coffee cake reminded me of one I rec'd from a friend's mother back in the '90s. She called it Cowboy Coffee Cake, but told me it was from either The BH&G one or Betty Crocker's cookbooks that she cooked from starting in the late '50s. I have later versions of both of these books and the recipe does not appear in them. Hers is a double batch which she suggested to bake in 2 single pans and then to freeze one of them. But when I learned of it, I had 3 teenaged boys and their friends to feed, so one 13"x9" pan was what I used. I recently made it for my coworkers and the raved about it. Mine has you mix up the flour, spices and shortening (I use butter, too) and reserve some of the resulting crumbs. Then mix the leavening with the buttermilk and eggs, pour the batter into the pan and top with the streusel you've reserved. Fantastic in every way, except the part where I can't have any! Carbs, don'tchaknow?

  20. Forgot to mention the brown sugar which is part of the first step.


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