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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Food For Fitness, 1942-Style

When contemporary life seems a trifle strange it helps to look to the past and see that life has always been strange. Today's example comes from the Pet Milk Company, in the form of their 1942 booklet, Food for "Fitness" (the quotes are theirs) for 2 or 4 or 6. This World War II cookbook and nutrition guide is densely stocked with recipes and advice that bear little resemblance to any fitness advice one might receive now, but is fascinating nonetheless. Some examples:

Everything is better when it's molded.

You have to love a fitness regimen that features sundaes!

This booklet was published before canned milk became a rationed food, which accounts for the lack of points mentioned for each recipe - a typical feature of wartime cookbooks. And so many mid-century recipes call for molding. I'd love to know how many homemakers actually molded their meals. 

Let's meet the woman responsible for these recipes - a media star in her day - Mary Lee Taylor, host of the twice-weekly radio broadcast from the Pet Milk Experimental Kitchen:

I have so many questions for Gordon Ellis, "Official Taster" of these recipes!

You have to hand it to Ms. Taylor: she was committed to creating recipes that provided low-cost nutrition and that were accessible to everyone. They may seem bizarre now, but she was fighting the good fight. If you're curious about any of these recipes, pick up a can of Pet Milk today and give them a spin! I'd love to hear how they turn out!


  1. I had one grandmother that molded many dishes and whole meals at times up through the early 80's before she toned it down..