Some preparedness lessons from the 1930's



The practice of leaving the food out for a noon snack also would lead to what was referred to as “Summer Complaint”, or as we would call it, diarrhea… which was probably a low level of food poisoning. The attitude was ‘So you have summer complaint? Don’t we all. Keep working.’ I’ll say it now, those were some tough people.

Foods were stored in bug proof containers. The most popular was fifteen pound capacity metal coffee cans with tight lids. These were for day to day use in the kitchen. (I still have one of them. It’s a family heirloom.) The next were barrels to hold the bulk foods like flour, sugar, corn meal, and rice. Everything was sealed or the vermin would get to it. The vermin was also why people sifted flour in particular. There was always at least one, preferably two, months of food on hand. If the fall cash allowed, they would stock up for the entire winter before the first snowfall.

Homestead: Preparedness Lessons from the 1930s

Homestead: Preparedness Lessons from the 1930s
Interesting read, thanks for sharing. The idea of prepping interests me more and more these days. I know I’m woefully underprepared in terms of tools, supplies and knowledge.

I think the hardest part for me would be getting used to the food conditions. I’m a fairly picky eater, don’t even like eating something if it’s “expired”, so I can’t imagine having to eat most of the things described in the article:

The hygiene part was difficult to achieve when you consider the somewhat crude conditions, location of Bossie’s tail to the milk pail and the fact that warm fresh milk is great for growing any number of organisms.

Of course the implications of scarcity, hunger, and maybe even the threat of starvation back then are not lost on me. I’m sure under these conditions I would be quickly cured of my food disorder.
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Good link with stuff missing. In particular, preservation of food stuff. Certainly root cellars and salt kept many folks alive, and they don't appear to note them in the article. For root cellars, Cabbages, for instance, like to be plopped down in dirt thinking they are growing in the winter. Carrots, on the other hand, need to be layed on sand in rows and not touching each other. Potatoes need to be put in a stable semi cool space with high humidity to toughen the skins before putting them in a root cellar, otherwise, they easily go bad. Then for the richer or more fortunate folks, canning was de rigur for most fruits and vegetables. Maybe that's another search.

As far as noon diarrhea, meh, if you go to Germany to this day right now. Many small town cafes have brotchens out in a uncooled display case. The particular ones for our discussion have raw hamburger on top of a piece of bread roll. In the morning - they taste great, about noon after being left in 90 degree weather refrigerated all morning, the fat in the hamburger has all but melted off and made an unctuous slick looking mass...which is still eaten in summertime by hungry locals.
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Thank you very much. Excellent links and articles. My Grandmother was a mid-thirties housewife of two boys during the Great Depression living and doing quite well in the hills of South Western Virginia. Blue Ridge?.

Granddad was a stoker on an old beater road switcher for the Northfork and Western RR. The coal augur was busted and not fixed. He had the only paying job in the entire extended nuclear family. Many mouths to feed.

They did have to move to Uncle Frank's truck farm outside Lynchburg, (SP?) VA along the James River. No electricity. Most folks back then lived in the country and not towns or cities? Lucky but no money.

Lots of do's and don'ts, particularly with food preservation and cooking. Everything was "put up" to last through the winters. My family was lucky. Also remember that ALL the game in the woods was quickly shot out.

Enter the underground economy. Moonshine. The worst enemies were the "honest" county Sheriff and the no good lousy Banks. They pretty much called ALL the notes. Barter was King. Only 1942-1943 changed things.

What was learned was that only you and your family could be counted upon. Sometimes not even then. The Sheriff and the Banks were the bad guys. Lots of horror stories. They learned "Govmt" was not your friend at all.


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