Monday, Dec 6, 1943
Abe’s mother had a weekly schedule as regular as a factory worker’s: shop, wash, iron, clean, cook – all to prepare for the Sabbath. She made her own noodles and I can still picture her rolling out the dough on the oilcloth covered metal kitchen table, then slicing long strips to drop into her own chicken stock. She made her own gefilte fish, too, grinding carp, pike, whitefish and other ingredients. Recipes aside, she was no different from the Italian nona making meatballs or any other immigrant grandmother cooking from scratch. But that way of cooking was about to change 180’ as this ad for Lipton’s Noodle Soup demonstrates. With women now working a double shift – homemaker and war worker, to say nothing of mother – processors saw a need for quick, easily prepared foods. By the end of the war, the change would prevail even as women ceded their jobs to returning veterans. In fact, it would take on a life of its own with frozen foods. Only recently have we begun to reclaim the culinary traditions, skills, and nutritional value we lost in the decades after WWII ended.