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Eat Like It’s 1899


In 1899, William McKinley was President of the United States, a 50 gallon barrel of maple syrup cost $.89/pound, and the bicycle frame and motor powered vacuum cleaner were patented. But was really interests me about 1899 (and the years following up through the 1940’s) is how people ate. Just think about it for a minute…


  • In 1899 nobody had refrigerators or microwaves. So no Lean Cuisines or Frozen Lasangas for our 19th century friends. 
  • People in rural areas mostly grew their own vegetables. People in cities bought vegetables from the market on a near daily basis (in fact, most of Europe still does this. That might be one reason Europe does food better than America).
  • Most people ate meat from their own livestock or from livestock nearby. Many people probably still hunted their own meat (venison burger anyone?). Although people in large cities did eat meat from factories with some pretty nasty processes (go ahead and check out Upton SinClair’s The Jungle if you don’t believe me).
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