Sunday, July 8, 2012

LEFT INSIDE: The Patient in Room 403

A couple of menus from what I believe must've been a retirement or nursing home. Though it could've been a hospital judging from the blank line at bottom "Nurse in charge."  But were patients allowed to choose their own meals in US hospitals? Made no note of which book these came out of. It was most certainly an old mystery novel.

No year for these, but a handy calendar calculator I found on the interweb tells me that there were only four Monday, December 16ths to choose from: 1930, 1940, 1946 or 1957.  I'm going for either 1930 or 1940 based solely on the font used on the menu, the typed food choices appear to be mimeographed, and the use of a German name brand.

Note the difference between the two meals.  Supper and Dinner!  Both were offered?  Rather a luxurious place. And the patinet/client in Room 403 ordered both meals.  Hungry or gluttonous?


Guess the patinet in Room 403 really hated cheese sauce.  Violent  scratching out of that ingredient.  Allergies? Or just antipathy?  Some of the choices are odd and telltale products of the era helping to date it even further.  Milk or Postum.  Postum is basically fake coffee invented by C.W. Post, the health food fanatic, who founded La Vita Inn in Battle Creek, Michigan.  It was made from wheat bran, molasses and maltodextrin, one of those insidious food additives derived from corn, and was first marketed in 1896. Bleech. I'll pass on even a taste taste of something as vile sounding as that.

Kaffee Hag?  Never heard of it.  A little internet research reveals it is an ancient brand of decaf dating back to Bremen, Germany in 1906, and its still available from Kraft Foods.  It's even spelled the German way rather than the modern brand of Cafe Hag making me think these menus date to sometime in the 1930s prior to WW2 when all things German were anathema to Americans.  I see there were two choices for decaf.  Sanka is the more recognized form.  Plus, it's one of the first instant coffees.


Prune whip!  What no chocolate? I'll skip dessert, thanks all the same.

7 comments:

  1. Pickle rings...not spears or chips (which I've heard the round sort called before). But rings. Which make me think of onion rings....

    And I'm going to have to go internetting and look up prune whip. Not that I want some (yechhhh). But I've just got to know....

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    1. Okay...from what I can tell prune whip is like prune meringue. Puree those prunes and add lemon juice, vanilla & sugar (and other things flavors/spices depending on the recipe. Then whip up with egg whites and bake till brown on top. Described as "lovely" and "elegant." I'm not convinced.

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  2. Until quite recently, in England and in some areas of the U.S., "dinner" referred to a mid-day meal, what we would now call "lunch," and "supper" was what we now call "dinner," although a much lighter meal. (However, in England the evening meal was usually called "tea," which for obvious reasons never caught on in the States.) Perhaps this explains both a dinner and supper menu.

    Whenever I see Sanka, I think of those ads from the 1970s with Robert Young; some guy would be yelling at his wife and Young would appear, cup in hand: "Fred, why so tense? Try Sanka."

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    1. Thanks for straightening me out, Deb. I thought it was the other way around with dinner and supper. That's why I put the supper menu first.

      I remember those Sanka ads. I also remember Taster's Choice ads for instant coffee trying to make it sound so sophisticated and convenient. What was it with "instant" food back in the 70s? Tang, Nestea, Jell-O Instant Pudding, instant potatoes, etc. etc. Most of it is still around. Tang and other "astronaut foods" are long gone, I think. I guess it was sort of a precursor to microwave food as the quick and easy way to feed yourself.

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    2. In my teen years (the early-to-mid 1970s), I used to babysit for a three-year-old whose parents would leave him a Space Food Stick and a boiled egg for his dinner. I often wonder what happened to that young man (well, he'd be in his 40s now).

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  3. John: Tang is still around. In fact, my son prefers Tang to orange juice (although he'd rather do grape juice, truth be told). Once in a while he'll ask me to get it for him.

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  4. This looks pretty good compared to the unbelievably horrible fare my parents had in a Michigan hospital over the last decade.

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