Tuesday, July 26All That Matters

Oh, the good old days. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and iced tea. 1950’s

Oh, the good old days. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and iced tea. 1950’s

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  • FaberGrad

    My grandma put out bread slices like that when she didn’t have biscuits, rolls, or cornbread. When my grandpa was done eating everything on his plate, he took a slice, dredged it across his plate, and ate that. He had grown up poor and seemingly didn’t want to waste even small bits of food.


    Ah yes the 50’s. WW2 ended. We were rebuilding the world. The economy was great. Before Reaganomics was even a thing.

    It sucked tho, if you were black. Or a women. In fact. It sucked if you were anything else then a straight white male.

  • Cinade

    Not sure where you’re living but I had that for dinner two nights ago, minus the iced tea.

    No it wasn’t take out, it was home made. My wife knows what to do with chicken!

  • pmaurant

    I grew up in small town EastTexas During the 80’s and 90’s this reminds me of eating at my Grandmamma’s house.

  • whiskeyjane45

    Lol that’s what I made for Father’s day lunch today, except it was chicken fried steak and baked potatoes instead of mashed. I also made buttermilk biscuits to dip in the cream gravy

  • Tuxcali1

    We should all look at the size of that kitchen. Looks like the kitchen in most all 1945 – 1955 houses I grew up in . Most had 700 – 800 square feet maximum and 1 bath, and most families had numerous children. Just about everybody I knew shared a bedroom. My wife grew up in a typical post war home : very small kitchen just as pictured, small living room, 1 bathroom and 2 bedrooms. Parents in one bedroom, two boys in the other , the 4 girls all in the upstairs attic which my father in law had very economically converted into a low ceiling bedroom dormer for all 4 girls. So yes, I am more than a little ‘ticked off’ when some of todays younger adults complain about how ‘tough’ it is for them in today’s world. We should all be thankful for what we have, not envious of what we don’t.

  • maypearlnavigator

    That looks like a typical Sunday dinner at our house back in the 60’s-70’s though this photo is probably from the 50’s based on appliances and decor.

    The meal was canned green beans (at my house they were home canned but these could be Del Monte or Green Giant, etc), mashed potatoes with white gravy made from chicken drippings, white bread with butter, broiled chicken cut at home from a whole chicken, and two dishes that I am not 100% certain about. The adults all get iced tea and the toddler gets milk in the small tumbler and probably water in the grey glass.

    The mashed potatoes and one dish that may have cooked carrots or possibly chunks of sweet potato in it are on a slide-out cutting board common in houses built between the 1910’s and 1940’s. I own a house that has one and it is handy for use as a cutting board, or as extra counter space since kitchens were small like this one back then.

    The other dish I can’t identify is held by the lady with the blue checked shirt on the left. The way it is mounded reminds me of rice.

    I have seen some mention dressing like you would serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas but this is probably not one of those occasions though if it were it would be Thanksgiving since the tablecloth is more of a summer/fall theme commonly used back then and you can see the creases so it is still new and probably bought for this occasion. The stuff in the bowl on the left that is on the pull-out cutting board doesn’t look like stuffing since stuffing should be yellow-brown to medium brown from the bread and cornbread and should have mirepoix for flavoring (carrots, celery, onions) and chicken stock which would turn it darker than the stuff in the bowl.

    The heavy aluminum(?) broiler on the countertop is where the chicken was broiled after it was carefully cut into pieces – typically a fryer yields two breasts, a wishbone, two drumsticks, two wings, two thighs, and a back. Our family of seven rotated through the bird so that nobody always ate the same piece twice in a row and we fought over the wishbone and the breasts even though the thighs, back, and drumsticks had the tastiest meat. Seasoning was probably simple – salt, black pepper, a dash of paprika, with thyme, rosemary, or sage possible too. I can almost smell those dinners now.

    Those are real potatoes mashed by hand probably with butter and milk added to fluff them up and flavor them as they were mashed after boiling till soft. That’s how I still do it.

    That bowl of white gravy would have all the chicken drippings and crispies from the broiler skillet browned to a medium brown, almost gold color before the milk was poured. You had to keep stirring the roux without stopping until the gravy thickened but not until it lumped. This is great gravy in this photo made by someone who knows the drill.

    The small yellow bowl behind the photographer’s tea glass in the center of the table looks like cottage cheese though I can’t be sure.

    Working around the table we see the paternal grandmother in the black blouse with the skirt that has roses or tulips and the cloth napkin tucked into the skirt. She’s the guardian of the gravy bowl right now since she is the only one who has any.

    Her husband is the older gentleman directly across from her who is carefully selecting his piece of chicken. He would be the one who gets whatever he wants on the plate and others would know what he prefers and defer to him. He’s not a big green bean eater and not too fond of the carrot/sweet potato dish either since he has small portions of those. It’s possible that the lady in the blue checked blouse made those and he politely took enough to show that he tried them. He’s going for the bird and the gravy for that pile of potatoes and will likely clean his plate with that white bread after drowning a slice or two in gravy first. That’s how I’d play it anyway.

    The lady in the blue-checked blouse, second from left is the mother of the young mom at the head of the table with the wrap-over apron. She’s holding a bowl of whatever that is, maybe rice that will need some gravy. That could be why there is so much gravy in that bowl – it is the flavor for that bland-ass rice that may be slightly brown from having chicken stock added while it cooked. I think that dish was made by the lady in black since the young Mom looks a bit skeptical about it. She took a drumstick because she knows flavor is best near the bone and junior there needs to watch someone eat chicken to learn how to do it for himself later. She’s a good teacher.

    Junior probably has a serving of mashed potatoes and some small bits of chicken with green beans to keep him going.

    The man beside little junior is his Dad passing the chicken plate to his own Dad after selecting his piece.

    We already met one grandfather, the Dad’s Dad in the solid yellow shirt nearest on the right. The other one is the photographer, who would be sitting in the place on the near end of the table across from young Mom. He is the young Mom’s father and the blue-checked blouses’ husband.

    Everyone is effectively waiting on him since the green beans and gravy have stopped rotating at his place and the chicken is about to be held up there too. He needs to snap the shot and go to town on that grub.

    Those cabinets would be built in place by someone who knew what they were doing. The wall materials on the right look a lot like 4X8 masonite painted which was popular back then because it was dead flat and smooth, and it took paint easily while being easy to clean.

    The table is a pretty standard cafe-style table with formica top and probably an aluminum trim strip banding the edge on steel legs. It probably has an extra leaf that would be used for gatherings like this and then store, maybe between the refrigerator and the wall when it wasn’t needed.

    A quick prayer of thanks for this bounty probably happened – “Yes Ma’am, no ma’am, thank you ma’am please. Open up the hen and pass the peas”. Or something like that.

    Great photo. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fop_Vndone

    >the good old days

    Back when segregation was the law of the land and women were second-class too. Such good times

  • TigerHeart1985

    They look stuffy. Like the mom would snap “That is not the type of language we use at this table.” Also Andy Griffith Show vibes. Like “Pa, may I go up to bed now?” “Make sure you finish all yer rhythmetic first.” There’s a certain appeal to all that now that I think about it though. It’s like every week when I go see my friend in the town he lives in that resembles the South and we all sit and hold hands and say grace and then dig into the fixins he cooked and a lot of the conversation with friends from there and his mom revolves around the Bible. It’s just a refreshing change from the everyday where everyone’s cussing and on their phones and eating Lean Cuisines and in different rooms with the TV on, ya know? There are certainly good aspects of old-fashioned.

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