In the early 20th century, the American diet consisted almost entirely of meat and potatoes, so it is no surprise this meal was a staple in 1915. Immigration was at an all time high, which led to many new flavors and dishes.
During the 1920s, processed food started to become popular. It is also the time when kitchen appliances like toasters, gas stoves and refrigerators began to sell by the thousands. This led to the ability to make a dish like this Chicken a la King.
With the 1930s came the Great Depression, which required people to become frugal with their spending. Meals had to be inexpensive and feed as many mouths as possible. Meat was the most expensive, so people opted for cheaper meats and vegetables to pair it with.
The Great Depression Era also introduced the canned meat, Spam. Soon after the Great Depression, America entered into World War II. The government restricted each person to 28 ounces of meat per week as well as limiting other food items. Families chose Spam due to its long shelf life and potatoes and lima beans were cheap choices.
The 1950s brought about a new era of food, TV dinners. At the time, they were very futuristic. It also saw the rise of processed food companies, like Oscar Meyer, and fast food chains, like McDonald's. Women found it difficult to go back to taking care of the home after working during the war, so quick meals became a staple.
In 1965, home cooking was reborn again. Chicken was a popular meat and played well with Herbert Hoover's promise of "a chicken in every pot." Slowly but surely, food began to make a comeback.
The 1970s brought about our eclectic appetite, willingness to try new things, and indulgence. Brunch became a big thing as well. Americans were soon willing to try different foods and our food palate expanded greatly.
While our love for food continued to grow, we still wanted meals that were easy and simple. Thus, it's no surprise Sloppy Joes and macaroni and cheese were popularized in this era. It was also a great set up for another market crash in 1987.
Our tastebuds began to want more. We became more adventurous with our foods and soon were experimenting with different cultures. The Internet was born, giving us access to many recipes we've never tried before. At this time, there was also a big movement regarding simplicity in the kitchen.
Our adventurous tastebuds didn't stop in 1995. Once shunned ethnic foods, like sushi, continued to gain popularity. People wanted to try food from any and every place in the world. American families brought the flavors of other countries into their home weekly.
Over the past decades, we've come to love food and eating. With that love of food came an epidemic of obesity. 2015 flipped the switch to healthier and fresher ingredients and foods. From kale to quinoa and leaner sources of protein, Americans soon became conscious of their diet, lifestyle and health. Even fast food restaurants began offering healthier choices.
What do you think will be on the menu in 2025?
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