Let’s Talk Fifty’s, Food & Where did we go from there!

Have you ever thought about how much our food and habits have changed over the decades? If you think about it, over the decades, since our parents or grandparents generation were doing the cooking in the 1950’s things have changed so much. Where did we go from there?

The changes have gone back and forth also. Most of you probably think, well everyone home cooked everything from scratch back then. And now everything is convenience foods, right? Wrong.

Actually the 50’s were the convenience food revolution. Lots of things came about back then. Like Jiffy Pop popcorn, TV dinners, Tang, artificial sweetener, and Cheez Whiz to name a few. There were already cake mixes, boxed macaroni & cheese, spam, and fast food restaurants popping up everywhere,

I read once that the pride of a 1950’s house wife was how fast she could put dinner on the table. With instant mashed potatoes and gravy, frozen meatloaf and vegetables, 15 minutes was suddenly doable.

Just a little side note here…

Side note, the 50’s and where did we go from there? Julia Child taught us all about cooking from scratch again in the 60’s. Then in the 70’s, we went on to the Galloping Gourmet, Emeril Lagasse and a million other TV chef’s teaching us all about great cooking without suffering instant food.

Doable, not necessarily edible, Alot of counter top gadgets began showing up and oven’s were programmable with a thermometer that you could put in the roast or meat. First you put the thermometer in the meat, Then you set the time you wanted it done and the temp to cook it at and the size it was. The oven would turn on at the proper time.

I had one of those oven’s in the mid 90’s. It was about 40 years old and worked wonders. One of the best ovens’ I have had in a home. I loved that feature of putting in a partially frozen roast and having it cooked and ready when I was ready for it.

Is Bigger Really Better?

Some other difference over the years, plates and food both got a lot larger! Here are some averages for you. For instance a chicken ready to sell to the grocery store was 3.9lbs. Now 70 years later it is 9.25lbs. Thank you steroids and growth hormones, where did we go from there? I won’t even go into other animals and meats, and oh vegetables and fruit.

Do you remember how tasty strawberry’s used to be? They were not huge like they are now, but they were so sweet it was incredible and other berries also. They are so large now, but not as sweet, as juicy as they were. What happened, where did we go next?

Bagels, Muffins, Cookies, Pasta and things like that are all double the size they were even in the 1970’s and 80’s. Portion sizes have gone up 138%. Plates used to be 9 inches, now they are 12 inches.

Speaking of inches, people are larger also.

I know it sounds like a cliche’ and many people look at pictures of their ancestors and wonder if they really were smaller. The answer for the most part seems to be yes.

Height has not increased dramatically, only a bit over an inch in height (in 70 years) for your average American man and 2 inches for women. In the last 40 years; weight and shape has been more dramatic.

The average man now weighs 20 lbs more at 195. And the average woman now weighs 23 lbs more at 167. The hourglass figure is officially done with for your average woman. So, people shot up a bit, but out a bit more, where did we go from there? Oh, the average woman’s waist is now 7 inches larger than it was in the 50’s and 60’s.

The percentage of overweight and obese Americans has risen steadily over the years. In spite of fitness trends, low cost gyms, and a health conscious society. In 1960, 44.8% of Americans fell into that category. With the steady rise of people who are overweight and obesity in America, that number is now 78%.

Calories are Cheap

The highest risk groups are older men, over the age of 74 and women between 55-64. The higher intake of Calories is amazing in my opinion. In the 1970’s on average an adult male ate 2100 calories per day. Now the average is 3600 calories per day. “It is not that people are greedy or lazy. It is just the whole change in our lives. Calories have become very cheap and exercise has become expensive.

We have developed a culture that encourages eating. But we are working long and irregular hours and eating processed foods. Exercise is expensive because we are short of time so it is convenient to drive or use public transport rather than walk.” ~ Dr Ian Campbell

When you think about drinks today, not even food. How many people do you know that go to a coffee shop and get a hot or iced xlarge “foo-foo” (as I call them) drink? You know the ones’ I mean, right?

Extra cream, a shot of flavoring, some syrup, maybe chocolate chips and let’s not forget the whip cream and chocolate syrup on top. Those add up to about 1700 calories each. Which is more than I eat in a day. That is more than your average person should probably eat in a day.

Unless, you are aware of how many calories you put out compared to how many calories you take in. If you are super active, you can probably eat just about anything that you want to.

Where do we go from here?

Some people would say that we are lazy or have an addiction to our way of life. I disagree, I feel that we have simply changed as a society; as society’s tend to do over the decades.

Our society is all about how fast things move. People work longer hours, more days per week also. On work days, people do tend to eat more convenient foods. On days off many people enjoy a nice home cooked meal. That is why cooking shows, websites and cooking blogs are so popular. So where do we go next?

I have noticed that people seem to fall into categories. There are the one’s that are in the “lean and mean” body type. They work out like it is a religion. Their body is their temple, they eat to live; they do things like run marathons for enjoyment.

Then there is the second type of person. They are a little more relaxed, they try to eat a little healthy for the most part. When it comes to lifestyle, they are comfortable playing softball with friends or volleyball or going for a hike. But this isn’t a religion, they enjoy life and they enjoy food.

Lastly, there is the type that seems to live for food. Some of them are very out of shape, but not all of them. They cook a lot or go out to eat a lot. They are the one’s that live to eat. In general they rarely exercise. This in turn affects their health and ability to do the basic things such as walk unaided.

Where do we go, where have we gone?

So then Covid hit and changed all of this. People had to change things up. People who were one type found that they were becoming another type. Amazing what being quarantined can do to people.

Suddenly home delivery of everything became an option! Not just clothing, gadgets, fast food, and groceries now and then. Now there are home deliveries of meal kits. These amazing meal kits that have everything you need to prepare healthy home cooked family meals, including instructions.

And people got active in different ways. They couldn’t go to the gym anymore. Sales of home gym equipment went up. Sales of swimming pools skyrocketed here in Phoenix. They had to put out notices about staying 6 foot away from others on trails. parks were being actually used again.

Amazing that people discovered the outdoors nation-wide. They got 3 months into staying at home and were tired of those four walls. Their house was cleaner than it had ever been, They had played every board game, watched every movie, binge watched every TV show imaginable.

So where do we go America? Are we actually changed for the better? Are families closer, do people appreciate each other more? I will end this by saying that I hope so. I hope that if nothing else, Covid has taught us that we need each other to live and be healthy and happy. Let’s go cook together…