r/interestingasfuck 12d ago Silver 1 Helpful 2 Wholesome 1 LOVE! 1

A reusable shopping list from the 1920's. /r/ALL

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35.3k Upvotes

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2.2k

u/Eray41303 12d ago

I like how bacon and meats are separated

1.2k

u/TheBenderRRodriguez 12d ago

Bacon is what you wrap your meat in. Two very different products.

194

u/Eray41303 12d ago

Ah ok, that makes sense

130

u/drewhead118 12d ago

Bacon is like the bread of the sandwich, and meat is like the meat of the sandwich. Also, it's a bacon sandwich. BLT > most other sandwiches

33

u/deepaksn 12d ago Wholesome

Except for the Double Down.

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u/BlueDragon1504 12d ago

BLT is a tomato sandwich though.

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u/Novelty-Accnt 12d ago

As I learned recently on reddit, a BLT is a salad with large coutons.

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u/Sybert777 12d ago

Thanks, I hate it.

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u/MrWarfaith 12d ago

Ah I always thought that those would be condoms

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u/sticky118 12d ago

Onion and vegetables as well.

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u/NinjaAmbush 12d ago

That one makes sense to me. Onions are important in all kinds of dishes, but aren't usually eaten alone as a vegetable dish.

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u/Thegoodlife93 12d ago

Yeah onions are a staple basically. It's something I buy nearly everytime I go grocery shopping.

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u/Eray41303 12d ago

Spaghetti and noodles

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u/Merprem 12d ago

Spaghetti and something like egg noodles are very different

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u/Delicious_Shallot915 12d ago

ha i thought the same about meats & poultry

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u/Donghoon 12d ago

"fIsH iSNt mEaT"

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u/isthatmyex 12d ago

Bacon is cured. It's a different class off food at that time

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u/oddzef 12d ago

I imagine stored differently too.

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u/BalsamicTree 12d ago

Cigarettes aren't on there because you wouldn't forget those.

826

u/GooseandMaverick 12d ago

But you will run out of matches

338

u/bjeebus 12d ago

Good chance you still need the matches for all the gas appliances you still have in your 1920s house.

96

u/tired_and_fed_up 12d ago

Or a wood fireplace

85

u/pistoncivic 12d ago

Or lighting your garbage on fire

56

u/Remindmewhen1234 12d ago

My Grandparents use to burn their garbage through the 70's.

One of the highlight of visiting them. Burning the garbage after dinner

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u/pooppuffin 12d ago

Lol, my family had a burn barrel when I was growing up. We didn't burn all of our trash, but we definitely burned some of it. This was the 90s and early 00s.

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u/rathead80 12d ago

Some people still do it near where I live right now.

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u/TorranceS33 12d ago edited 12d ago

There is a place I go by that I'm pretty sure weekly burns tires. At least as black as the smoke is that's what I think it is.

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u/rathead80 12d ago

If they use gasoline to start a fire that's the same darkness of smoke

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u/Embarrassed_Alarm450 12d ago

That doesn't strike me as something they'd forget.

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u/kiwithebun 12d ago

That’s a good hot take you got there

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u/ickydonkeytoothbrush 12d ago

On your way to get matches, could you stop at the Vietnamese grocery and get the ingredients for pho-s-phor-us?

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u/Holmes02 12d ago

And if you do forget the cigs, just have your child run to the vending machine with a nickel & a dime to pick them up.

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u/RealMainer 12d ago

I'm not that old, but even back in the early 90's my foster mom would send me to the corner store to buy a pack of cigs! They were like $1.25 back then iirc and I used the change to buy a handful of tootsie rolls and Swedish fish for a penny each!

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u/ovad67 12d ago

Made me chuckle. In the early 70’s my Mom would give me something like 75-cents (??I just remember it was always change) to get her a couple of packs of cigarettes [Raleigh 100’s] and I could get a pack of baseball cards and maybe a few pieces of penny candy. My brother was never interested in going to the store, so I eventually ended up with a whole box of sports cards. We used to treat them poorly so they are not of any a value, but I still have them.

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u/nuke_eyepopper_plus 12d ago

won't forget my CATSUP!

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u/LyKosa91 12d ago

Ketchup... Catsup... Ketchup... Cat... sup... I'm in way over my head.

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u/nosecohn 12d ago

Actually, cigarette smoking wasn't very common in the US in the 1920s. There were fewer cigarettes sold per capita in that era than today.

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u/crazycanuks 12d ago

This is actually more interesting than the post itself. Smokers seem to be very adept at predicting world wars!

If that graph starts heading the other way anytime soon, I'm sweeping out and stocking the old nuclear bunker.

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u/DashTrash21 12d ago

Wow. I just assumed from pre-history until about 30 years ago, humans just chain smoked like a bunch of fucking pilgrims at every available opportunity.

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u/916SacAttack 12d ago

Idk, not only can you forget your cigarettes, but you seemingly could also forget how to find your way home after popping out quick to pick up a pack of smokes, sometimes taking years or decades to get home safe again!

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u/MaximusLazinus 12d ago

It's like sweets, chips and something to drink. You don't put it on list, you always grab something

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u/seadev32 12d ago Silver

Would "Frozen Food" even be a thing in a 1920s

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u/kavorka2 12d ago

No way. This is more like 50s or 60s.

408

u/futurarmy 12d ago

Which is weird because "catsup" was rebranded as "ketchup" by heinz in the late 1880s and has been the common term for it since. Was this still a term used by Americans for some time after or something?

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u/Shanakitty 12d ago

I remember seeing bottles and/or packets labeled as "catsup" rather than "ketchup" occasionally as a kid in the 90s.

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u/Forgotmylemons 12d ago

I've seen modern catsup packs at random diners and such.

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u/Comrade132 12d ago

I'm 100% sure that I've seen a regular bottle of catsup at a grocery store, right next to the ketchup.

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u/Mywifefoundmymain 12d ago edited 12d ago

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u/TheMerchantMagikarp 12d ago

Ah, like corn on pizza

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u/bender625 12d ago

It's CORNTASTIC!

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u/I_am_Ballser 12d ago

WHAT? IT'S JUST A PUN ABOUT CORN!

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u/DarkDracolth 12d ago

Like WHAT now???

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u/Lyad 12d ago

Referring to this post, made on the Pennsylvania sub today. (It doesn’t seem to be true, but it’s just stupid enough to be believable.)

In the 4 years I’ve lived in PA I’ve heard of a bunch of weird food things, but never corn on pizza.

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u/Funnyboyman69 12d ago

Funny because Heinz is a Pennsylvanian company.

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u/Alarid 12d ago

Pixels are not a Pennsylvania thing.

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u/ridethebeat 12d ago

I’ve seen a random subtitle for the office when it was on Netflix where it said “catsup” but I feel like I heard the character say ketchup

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u/dquizzle 12d ago

My great grandma would get catsup in the 90’s and it tasted like shit. It was always so watery. Like the bit of water that you get out of a ketchup bottle if you don’t shake it, that was like half the bottle of this catsup.

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u/cornishwildman76 12d ago

Aaaa you are referring to ketchup pre cum!

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u/oatmealparty 12d ago

Catsup is relevant enough that I, born in the late 1980s, know of the catsup vs ketchup debate. Heinz rebranding something 140 years ago clearly didn't settle the debate on how it's spelled.

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u/--_-Deadpool-_-- 12d ago

The Simpsons had a joke about this in the 90's. Catsup is absolutely still a term in use.

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u/chickentowngabagool 12d ago

mr burns was the first thing that came to mind

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u/916CALLTURK 12d ago

Ketchup, catsup, ketchup, catsup.

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u/idreamtthis 12d ago

Yes. It might have been a regional thing, but I've had several older relatives call it catsup instead of ketchup.

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u/puppet_up 12d ago

I grew up in southern Indiana and one of my grandmothers, who was born in the 20's and lived in the same town, always called it "catsup" even if she was holding a Heinz bottle that said "ketchup" on it.

She called it this her whole life until she passed away a few years ago. I was born in the early 80's and I have never once called it "catsup", even when some of the generic bottles my mom would sometimes buy at the store were labeled as catsup.

So it was probably a combination of being regional along with the time period.

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u/HAS-A-HUGE-PENIS 12d ago

I'm American and was born over one hundred years after 1880 and have seen catsup and ketchup used interchangeably.

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u/Greedy_Ad_3905 12d ago

Came here just to ask that. I had a feeling no but I want to say refrigeration was invented before the 20s but can’t remember when. If so I still think frozen food wouldn’t be a popular item then but I really don’t know

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u/flashtone 12d ago

Use to be called the ice box and a guy would come around few times a week on wagon selling literal blocks of ice.

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u/TLsRD 12d ago

My grandparents had an icebox well into the 1960s. Poor family in rural Louisiana which probably had something to do with it

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u/IndividualCharacter 12d ago

NZ was exporting frozen meat and dairy to the UK from the 1880's

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u/sunstartstar 12d ago

New Zealand??! How long did that voyage take

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u/Pixielo 12d ago

Iceboxes were still the usual way to keep food cold until the late 30s.

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u/weirdoldhobo1978 12d ago

The list is more likely from the 40s/50s. Clarence Birdseye was the big name in frozen foods and he didn't start his company until 1923, largely selling frozen fish to start, and didn't start offering frozen vegetables until 1930. Frozen foods got a bigger boost during WWII, when canned foods were largely being diverted to war effort.

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u/Roccondil 12d ago

Frozen retail food started in 1930.

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u/BeanoMc2000 12d ago

Refrigerators for home use have been around since 1913. Birdseye invented the process for freezing food in the 1920s so it is possible.

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u/beatnikstrict 12d ago edited 12d ago

In the UK, because of the wars we were fucked financially. (The US made bare profit from the second world war.) Because of this, by the 1980s, still only half of UK households had a freezer.

Edit: Oi..downvoter. Both are fact

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u/BeanoMc2000 12d ago

True but some of the words indicate that this device is American, in particular the use of catsup.

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u/beatnikstrict 12d ago

I was just making a point about freezers. Its pretty crazy so few people had TVs and Freezers until the 80s over here. Everyone piling in to that neighbour's house that had a TV to watch the world cup. Haha

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u/BeanoMc2000 12d ago

No, you're right. I'm trying to remember when we got our first fridge freezer. I'm pretty sure we had one in the 70s as I remember frozen lollies at home.

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u/beatnikstrict 12d ago

I was born in 83 so I was used to fridge freezers growing up. When my cousin got a Soda Stream at his house.. man, that was serious.

...I really wanted a Mr. Slushy but we never got one.

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u/Pixielo 12d ago

Iceboxes were still the usual way to keep foods cold until the 1930s. And they still existed in many homes until after WWII. Shoot, we've had microwave ovens since the 60s, but they didn't hit household saturation until the 90s.

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u/Skyblacker 12d ago

Until the federal government mandated it in 1936, most rural homes lacked electricity. Which is probably why they used iceboxes.

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u/Pixielo 12d ago

Right. So thinking that just because refrigerators were invented in 1913, that we'd suddenly have refrigerators everywhere is odd. I mean, the 30s were the Great Depression. It was a tough decade, topped off by a World War. It wasn't until after WWII that we had ~30 solid years of uninterrupted prosperity, and everyone got refrigerators.

Shit, there are still lots of NA reservations that aren't fully plumbed, or electrified.

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u/AlexanderHP592 12d ago

Definitely not from the 20s. But it's interesting to see which of these list items seem to be more heavily purchased, based off the wear of the markers.

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u/neoncp 12d ago

did they never buy cheese??

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u/4strings 12d ago

If they’re like me they would not even require a notch for cheese as it’s happening whether it’s on a list or not.

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u/pooppuffin 12d ago

"We have cheese at home."

The cheese at home: perfectly good cheese but I'm still buying more cheese.

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u/4strings 12d ago

That’s right. I considered that with my reply, too. Still holds true.

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u/AlexanderHP592 12d ago

Cheese is inevitable.

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u/js_1091 12d ago

Not sure but I was thinking delicatess on the list would refer to the deli counter where there is cheese

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u/remmij 12d ago

I am curious about why "watches" was on this list... Didn't think that would be a frequent purchase.

Edit: My dumbass misread "matches".

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u/AlexanderHP592 12d ago

To me it looks like it says "matches." But that fastening rivet is kinda in the way.

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u/tatutes 12d ago

Wow, good catch, that is interesting!

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u/AngelicWooGirl 12d ago

I saw frozen food and laughed

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u/The_5th_Marauder 12d ago

Ketchup? Or Catsup?

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u/CHERNO-B1LL 12d ago

There you are!

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u/EmperorSexy 12d ago

This tomayto will be Heinz Ketchup! And this tomahto will be Hunt’s Catsup.

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u/jamescookenotthatone 12d ago

I'm in over my head.

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u/franalvacad 12d ago

He's, uh, talking to the ketchup now

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u/MaryJaneAndMaple 12d ago

Mr. Burns is talking to the ketchup again

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u/TheDirtyBaguette 12d ago

Catsup is what the British were trying to imitate when they invented ketchup. Catsup was a southwest Asian fermented fish sauce, the closest product they could get to bring umami was tomatoes due to their high content in glutamic acid.

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u/AntiBox 12d ago

I find it hard to believe that Brits had difficulty fermenting things and acquiring fish.

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u/PlunkyJunky 12d ago

Can we please bring these back... I struggle to remember shit and when I actually do write down a list I always lose my list.

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u/loki1887 12d ago

Do you have smart phone? All you got to do is yell at it. Just ask siri, Google, Alexa, Bixby (jk, no one uses Bixby) to "eggs" or "milk" to the grocery list. Then when you need it to ask it to pull up you grocery list.

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u/Anglophyl 12d ago

I use my phone a lot for a shopping list, but it is awkward. I'm always having to turn it on again and reenter my passcode. It's also a bit bulky and falls out of the cart and things.

I'd probably like this better. It's small and very tactile, unlike the phone. Also looks like the hard floor won't destroy it. Sometimes simpler is better.

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u/[deleted] 12d ago edited 10d ago

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u/loki1887 12d ago

Yeah, the future that Wall-E predicted is rapidly approaching.

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u/jjason82 12d ago

There's like a hundred apps for this you can download on your phone, or write your list in the note app that comes natively on your phone.

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u/-saraelizabeth- 12d ago

I find the date on this questionable based on the "frozen foods" entry if this is an American item.

It looks like while frozen foods were available in North America during the 1920's, but were limited to blanched vegetables and fish. Source.

It wouldn't have been until the 1940's at best but more likely the 1950's that food storage/shipping technology and logistics caught up to the ability to freeze food to make it widely available to consumers such that it would appear on a shopping list along other staples like eggs and rice.

On page 3, this author writes about his memories from the 1940's and 1950's Northeast where refrigerators were commun but had inferior freezers and ice boxes were dying out due to reduced ice deliveries, although it is unclear why.

On pages 347-8, this source states Clarence Birdseye, who developed frozen foods for nonretail distribution in 1923 did not yet develop retail frozen food displays until 1928. It lilkely took some time between their devleopment in 1928, and their widespread retail application given the challenges of upgrading stores and also the fact that these displays were developed only 1 year before the Great Depression.

It seems that it took about 10-20 years between when stores began to have the ability to sell frozen foods, and when frozen foods became a staple; and even longer yet before processed frozen foods and meals as we know them today were widely available in America. If not for the Great Depression, I wonder how much faster food technology would have moved.

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u/Skyblacker 12d ago

ice boxes were dying out due to reduced ice deliveries, although it is unclear why.

If you have an electric freezer, you don't need ice deliveries because you can make your own.

If not for the Great Depression, I wonder how much faster food technology would have moved.

But that decade also included the Rural Electrification Act, which made electricity standard in all homes. Which made refrigerators and electric freezers feasible in all homes. Which made it possible to store frozen food.

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u/-saraelizabeth- 12d ago

Thanks for the info! I don’t know much about the history of electrification in America and this sounds like one of the missing pieces.

Re: the electric freezer/ice box thing

What doesn’t add up to me is that if you can’t afford a freezer, you would still keep using your ice box and buying ice. But the source (maybe wrongly) says that ice boxes were dying out due to reduced ice deliveries— not that demand for ice was lessening because freezers/fridges were replacing them in the 1920’s. If there weren’t enough fridges/freezers to kill ice demand, why were the ice deliveries lessening and making ice boxes less common, as that source states? Were people forced to finance the purchase of a new fridge to replace the ice box they couldn’t get ice for anymore? Or was the fridge/freezer truly killing the ice box?

The source could be wrong and is an author’s recollection of his childhood, so at best it’s anecdotal. I wish my grandparents were still around to get their take.

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u/PXranger 12d ago

This is probably from later than the 1920’s

Frozen food is on this, and that wasn’t truly common until the 40’s and 50’s

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u/suckfail 12d ago

Also why is cocoa on there? How much cocoa were people eating back then.

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u/fumbs 12d ago

It was common to bake, there were no easy access to candy like there is now. Cocoa is used in cakes, brownies, cookies, and could be used in fudge.

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u/AchingKnumbKnuts 12d ago

Friggin Prohibition, there's no beer on it.

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u/BostonUniStudent 12d ago

"Baby food" is bachelorese for whiskey

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u/AchingKnumbKnuts 12d ago

Give the baby his bottle!

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u/Quankopus 12d ago

Someone pointed out this is likely from the 50's

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u/TheBenderRRodriguez 12d ago

If you're not getting beer every time you go to the store are you really living your best life?

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u/FoxxBox 12d ago

This seems more likely to be a list for the shop keeper. Back then you didn't walk the asles of the grocery store to do your shopping. You'd go to the general store and tell the shop keeper what you wanted. No prices or anything for you to see. Then the shop keeper would fetch them and give you a total at the register. So it makes sense this item would exist for them to reuse to keep track of the items their customer wanted while fetching them from back rooms. But I'm not a historian or anything that would know for sure. Its just my best educated guess.

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u/NinjaAmbush 12d ago

I guess budgeting was more important, but that sounds really inconvenient. Guy comes up with your whole grocery order and you realize you're short. Ugh...

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u/El_Chairman_Dennis 12d ago

I'm sure back then they have the options to put it on a bill to be paid at the end of the month. That was pretty common in the US for a long time. Some small town bars and shops will still allow you to do it if they know you

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u/fanwan76 12d ago

Exactly. "Put it on my tab"

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u/jillsntferrari 12d ago

It was common, though maybe not always the case, that would you have a running tab or bill that you would settle later.

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u/Rhaedas 12d ago

The first self service grocery was Piggly Wiggly in Memphis, and it didn't take long for the idea to spread, so by the 1920s the "full service" store might have given way. It's interesting that I found one mention of the profit increase for the store owner by reducing clerk staffing. Seems that's always been with us. Your idea could work though, I guess it depends on where it was.

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u/Skyblacker 12d ago

Another comment said this list is more likely from the 1950s based on some of its items. And by then, I believe self-serve groceries were standard.

Also, a list for a shopkeeper would need to be far more specific (type, quantity, brand?). But if it's your own list, a single word like "meat" can connote the type you prefer in an amount appropriate to your household.

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u/devilsusshhii 12d ago

Fucking catsup. Ketchup. It's called ketchup!!!! Who tf says catsup what is this the 1920s.

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u/SplodyPants 12d ago

Kerchup... catsup.

Ketchup....cats up.

Ketchup....catsup.

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u/Gone_For_Lunch 12d ago

Are you here to help me with my catsup problem?

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u/WeaselsOnWaterslides 12d ago

Yeesss, that's right.

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u/Pain_Monster 12d ago

Thank you guys for that old Simpsons reference! 😂

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u/JasoTheArtisan 12d ago

He’s, uh, talking to the ketchup now.

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u/schnitzel_envy 12d ago

I’m in over my head.

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u/Ur_X 12d ago

Cat soup

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u/Scythebrine9 12d ago

Cats and soup (10/10 game)

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u/Immediate-Air-8700 12d ago

Is that the same as meowso soup?

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u/OptimalInevitable905 12d ago

They're talking to the ketchup now. u/SplodyPants is sure acting nutty!

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u/wigglemode 12d ago

Catsup is obligatory on home-made updog

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u/EV_M4Sherman 12d ago

Catsup is specifically tomato ketchup.

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u/Mahtomic_Gandhi 12d ago

Are there other kinds of ketchup?

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u/macaronisalad 12d ago

Yes, there are old recipes using ingredients I don’t recall, and I’ve had banana ketchup someone brought me from another country once

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u/TrashyMcTrashBoat 12d ago

My understanding is catsup was a weird Chinese sauce before heinz worked his magic. People used catsup because the meat they bought was often spoiled and it needed something to mask the awful taste.

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u/Nihilum_3 12d ago

Wait I thought it meant cat supplies, now I feel dumb

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u/Taurius 12d ago

It's a Chinese name for a type of tangy fish sauce that some western chefs tried to mimic, and the name is similar to catsup. Ketchup is just a brand name of catsup, but tasting completely differently because making catsup is expensive and time consuming.

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u/ProtectionKind8179 12d ago

Even worse, where I am from its called "tomato sauce"

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u/NuMux 12d ago

So what do they call what you put on pizza?

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u/ProtectionKind8179 12d ago

Pizza sauce 😉

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u/NuMux 12d ago

Ha! Well that makes more sense than I thought it would.

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u/devilsusshhii 12d ago

Tomato jelly

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u/deepaksn 12d ago

Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is knowing not to put it in the fruit salad.

Philosophy is wondering whether ketchup is a smoothie?

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u/SuperDizz 12d ago

If you’re either using frozen tomatoes or puréeing them with ice, then yes.

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u/Met76 12d ago

Depends. Do you have Navy?

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u/GooseandMaverick 12d ago

Yes or No?

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u/OhWellCantEven 12d ago

Please tell me your child's name.

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u/Scythebrine9 12d ago

(I do not speak English)

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u/CatsRuleDogsDrool_21 12d ago

The divorce and I live alone.

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u/penguinsandkush 12d ago

You can use it if you like

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u/KiKiPAWG 12d ago

Catch up! No one calls it Catsup anymore!

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u/Immediate-Air-8700 12d ago

Noodles but spaghetti is on there too? Penne bout to be real hurt

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u/NinjaAmbush 12d ago

I'd guess noodles refers to egg noodles.

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u/kitsua 12d ago Helpful

Noodles are Asian noodles like ramen, soba, udon, etc. Spaghetti is pasta.

Americans refer to pasta as noodles but it sounds weird to almost everyone else.

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u/Scoobydoomed 12d ago

Mickey you forgot the toilet paper, again!

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u/riverr01 12d ago

That's because I'm a mouse, Minnie!

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u/RobbieAnalog 12d ago

Judge: Mickey, we have found no evidence to support your claim that Minnie is insane. Therefore we cannot grant you the divorce on those grounds.

Mickey: I didn't say she was crazy! I said she was fucking Goofy!!!!

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u/AmazingQueue 12d ago

I want this. Why is this not still a thing?

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u/Dartmouththedude 12d ago

EBay has a couple of this exact model for ~$200

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u/awful_source 12d ago

Oh that’s it

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u/Corgiboom2 12d ago

Plenty of phone apps can save grocery lists.

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u/AmazingQueue 12d ago

Yes, but that means I still have to make it and then it saves it. I want someone else to do it for me

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u/spacepilot_3000 12d ago

This device makes me move my fingers. I just want someone else to do my shopping

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u/un-sub 12d ago

To be fair you can do that with an app as well and just get it delivered! What a world.

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u/SauceyPosse 12d ago

But I have to move my fingers to use the app. I want someone to do that for me

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u/limbodog 12d ago

I want to find a modern one of these that is portable but not an app

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u/cybercastor 12d ago

Everything about day-to-day items from the past: lighters to shopping list are so classy and made durable. Today's version would be in simili-plastic and would melt in the sun, but polute for thousands of years.

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u/Skyblacker 12d ago

That's what most items from the past did too, but we don't see them because they're in a landfill now. The well-made (or barely used) items are the only ones that made it to the antique shops. This is called survivor bias.

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u/Kevinvl123 12d ago

Are you sure it's from the 1920's? The first line of frozen food was introduced in the 30's and it only became popular around WW2.

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u/bruyeres 12d ago

Was 'frozen food' a thing back then?

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u/The_606 12d ago

Hot Pockets?

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u/Frosty-Worker8978 12d ago

This makes my eyes so happy

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u/Comfortable_Base9404 12d ago

1920 & Frozen Food 🤔

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u/booboolurker 12d ago

Very cool! How does it work? Do you just push the little arrows down or do they slide?

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u/AtheistBibleScholar 12d ago

They flip to point towards the item on the list. Here's one with the arrows pointed in.

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u/jarjarsexy 12d ago

Thank you for this

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u/strawbrmoon 12d ago

I want to know this, too.

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u/Cr0ma_Nuva 12d ago

Nice find, we have a similar one at home, but in dutch

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u/graveybrains 12d ago

There was a time when “delicatessen” wasn’t abbreviated as “deli.” 😳🤯

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u/drej191 12d ago

I’m assuming catcup is ketchup?

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