Dinners of the Decades- a Look at How Much Supper Has Changed Over the Years

What we eat has changed a lot over the years. From down home cooking to more exotic flavors, our tastes have changed as a nation. And what we eat has certainly been influenced by which foods are available. Have a look at how much dinner has changed throughout the decades. Some of these dishes are unknown to folks these days!

Via/ Library of Congress


In the ’30s times were tight for most people. Foods from other countries had not caught on as most families were cobbling together meals from whatever they had on hand. One common dish was Hoover stew, a soup made often made from hot dogs and macaroni, but easily adaptable to whatever else might have been in the cupboard.

Via/ Flickr

Other recipes used shortcuts to make up for missing ingredients, like this apple pie recipe with only one crust and the famous Wacky cake (which has no butter, milk, or eggs).

Via/ Internet Archive

One more common dish from the ’30s was creamed chipped beef or (as some servicemen came to call it- S.O.S.). This one is a great way to make a little bit of meat go a long way with some white gravy. Find the recipe right here.


In the ’40s war rationing combined with the hold over effects of the Great Depression meant that many families were still struggling to put food on the table, though most were at least a little better of than they had been a decade before. Recipes to extend meat were common, like liver loaf and the classic meatloaf we all grew up with. There was even bean loaf!

Via/ Flickr

One effect of the Depression was that the inexpensive restaurant hamburger caught on and in the ’40s and ’50s it was being served in the home as a fun weekday meal or at weekend BBQs.

Another classic that was very popular during this time was baked beans, no doubt because they were cheaper and easier to find than good cuts of meat.

Via/ Library of Congress

Click “Next Page” for more dinners over the decades!