First Monday Menu: Feeding Your Family in 1942

Last week I posted a chart put out by the U.S. Bureau of Home Economics in 1942. This chart was to help the home front housewife create healthy meals for her family at a low cost. Woman’s Day magazine created a week’s worth of menu’s that fit with the Plan A chart. You can read more about the charts here:

Meal Planning with the Government

For today’s menu, I’m going to show you the Woman’s Day menus planned for their Saturday. We made the kidney bean dish. The recipe is in the paragraph of text below the menu items.

The magazine also included a complete list of ingredients needed to make the entire week’s worth of recipes for a family of four. They used the average supermarket prices of items to come up with an estimated cost of $11.50. I’ll include the list at the very end of this post. It was a handy grocery list separated into categories and would have made shopping quite easy.


These kidney beans are very good. We used bacon instead of the salt pork. I’m not sure why they are called spicy because there isn’t really anything spicy in them. Notice, too, that this was supposed to be the main dish in this meal and it was made to serve at least four. There is no way this would serve four members of my family–even if two are small children. I can’t imagine having this as a main dish. There are other things meant to be served with it, but wilted lettuce and stewed rhubarb and so forth are not enough to make this a filling meal, especially for an evening meal.

I would, however, make this as a side dish again. If you like kidney beans, this is definitely a great way to add a vintage recipe to an everyday meal.

Here is that list for you. For my American readers–Happy Independence Day!

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