Written by Samuel Phineas Upham
American food from the 1950s was all about hearty portions and pre-packaged meals. This was the reaction of a generation raised on World War II era rations, who spent their childhoods in the Great Depression. It was also a good time for marketing companies to hock appliances to house wives looking to save time.
Cookbooks were quite popular during this time, and casseroles reigned supreme. Green bean casserole found a permanent home on American tables during this era, right alongside mashed potatoes and heaps of red meat. Burgers, steaks and anything grilled were extremely popular during those days.
Family meals were prepared with mountains of sauce, and heaps of butter. This was for taste, obviously not for health. Canned soup was also prevelant throughout this era, which explains the popularity of the casserole to a degree.
So-called Americanized food also began to make appearances. Dishes like chow mein, pizza and lasagna all received American twists designed to let house wives prepare delicious meals without a lot of prep time. Polynesian and Hawaiian dishes also became popular during this time.
The 1950s was like the era of barbecues. It was all protein and not many vegetables outside of a few staples that gained popularity. Peas and corn were big ones, but the American diet of the 1950s was largely meat and potatoes. One of the largest shifts occurred in the field of sweets, where soda became even more popular. Entire establishments were dedicated to serving soda to youngsters, a trend that grew along with car culture.