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Eating is one of those things I love doing at any time of the day. I could easily devour a chocolate bar after breakfast or enjoy a piece of sugar laden birthday cake with my morning coffee. Ice cream is a major downfall for me, and about 20 years ago I switched to frozen Yogurt, as surely, it is much healthier. Since the years have begun to creep onward, I have been watching my sugar intake and my weight in general. This pandemic we’re in has certainly not helped the situation. In fact, it seems comfort foods are created during times of crisis. When German immigrants settled North America, times were extremely difficult for them. Money and jobs were scarce and discrimination ran like a river throughout their communities. In an effort to make food last, especially meat, they used unwanted pork parts with wheat flour and called it ‘scrapple’. This became popular in the southern U.S, where they improvised cornmeal in place of flour and called it ‘livermush’. In Cincinnati, leftover beef and pork came together with oats and became ‘goetta’. It was baked into loaves and sliced, and sometimes fried, and is still very popular today. The great depression, of the 1930s, demanded creativity in the preparation of meals. You can imagine the backlash people received when they put a can of tomato soup into cake batter. It was called ‘Mystery Cake’. The secret ingredient was buried in fine print, and the cakes tasted nothing like tomato soup. Instead it took on a spicy flavour but was refined after the war with a much needed buttery remix. In 1947, Campbell’s Soup created the official recipe, which they still stand by today, suggesting you add your favourite cream cheese frosting. President Herbert Hoover had the unpopular role of being president during the depression. Newspapers became ‘Hoover blankets’ and cardboard became ‘Hoover leather’. A popular meal among the shanty towns was ‘Hoover stew’, a budget-friendly mixture of macaroni, sliced hot dogs, and corn, stewed with canned tomatoes. Easy on adult pockets and full of ingredients kids love, the stew floated many families through a period of historic child malnourishment. Farmers in the 19th century had a tough life, and quite often food was scarce. Those, however, who owned a cow and some cornmeal, were able to create a well-known dish of ‘crumble in’. They would simply dunk or entirely submerge a chunk of cornbread in a glass of milk. For those who could handle the bite, buttermilk proved even heartier. The concoction was then smoothed out by the addition of maple syrup or honey. There are, in fact, many elderly people who still enjoy a ‘crumble in’ to this date. I for one will pass on these creations and stick with my KD. Yummy! Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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