Friday, October 17, 2014

“Butter is a Health Safeguard”: advice from 1923.

In view of the recent apparent reversal of long-standing advice about the dangers of saturated fats in the diet, I thought some opinion and advice from the National Dairy Council of America in 1923 might be interesting.

The National Dairy Council published a small booklet in 1923 with the rather benign title of Better Recipes, and which appears to have been sponsored by the Blue Valley Creamery Company.  The purpose of the booklet becomes clear just inside the front cover:

                          BUTTER MAKES THE ROAD TO HEALTH SMOOTH
                         BUTTER, “A GOLD NUGGET” = 22-KARAT HEALTH
                “BUTTER” – BE SAFE THAN SORRY.

The butter industry was certainly suffering under the competition from the margarine industry at the time, and what better way to promote the real thing than by giving away a free cookery book – unless it is a free cookery book with appeals to both maternal responsibilities and patriotic sentiment? 

You and your children have plenty to eat three times a day. Do you fill your stomachs with “The Average American Diet?” Are you fed or just filled?

Scientists and Nutrition Experts remind us that one-third of our young men were physically unfit for service in the World War. They point to “The Average American Diet” as the chief cause. It needs careful watching.

Why? Because the modern diet is lacking in growth and health promoting elements which, in the natural foods of our grandfathers, insured good health and long life.

The remedy? Scientists and Nutrition Experts say – Eat Natural Foods. Chief among these are milk, fruit, vegetables, and butter.

Mrs. Homemaker, you can safeguard the family diet. Give your family plenty of these natural foods and build husky Americans for tomorrow.

Mothers, it’s up to you!


I do like that phrase “Are you fed or just filled?”

It is interesting, that almost a hundred years ago, concerns were already being expressed about the quality of the American diet, and the concept of “natural food” was also apparently well established.

Standard Cake Recipe
¾ cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
3 cups pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt.
Cream butter, add sugar and yolks of eggs well beaten. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. Fold in stiffly beaten egg white.  Flavor. Fill a well-buttered and floured pan one-half full and bake in a moderate oven.
This recipe makes two medium loaves, one three-layer cake, or about eighteen individual cakes.
The eggs may be reduced to three, but the grain is not so fine. To use ordinary flour in a cake recipe, from each cup of sifted flour remove 2 tablespoons of flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch; sift twice.
[several ways of varying the above cake mixture then follow.]

Another lovable feature of the book is epigram which appears at the bottom of each page. My favourite is the one which appears on the page from which this recipe was taken:


1 comment:

tess said...

what a great find! :-) one of the biggest nutritional mistakes we made during the 20th century was to give up naturally-occurring fats for "industrial seed oils"....