In the following grocery ads from 1921, we not only find traditional Thanksgiving ingredients such as canned pumpkin, oysters, celery, and cranberries but there are great prices on enamel roasters that “make the old hen taste like a spring chicken” as well as aluminum cake pans, pie plates and measuring cups. For something a little fancier for the holidays, there are glass baking and serving pieces available at Johnson’s Hardware. I hope things are coming together for your Thanksgiving feast.
Johnson’s Hardware, Preston Times, Preston Minnesota, November 1921
Grocery Ads this week offer various sweeteners from granulated sugar, sorghum syrup (similar to molasses), and maple-flavored pancake syrup. Cake flour and all-purpose flours are on sale just in time for holiday baking. Langlie’s meat department has several pork products in their ad. Dolva’s Cash Grocery has sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and the North American Grocery has citron, lemon and orange peel for holiday fruit cakes and puddings. Cheese lovers will find cream cheese, brick cheese (probably an American-made cheddar), and Limburger available at The Independent Grocery. Other essentials such as coffee and tobacco are on sale this week as well. The final ad titled Saturday Specials is a collage of products and businesses that advertise weekly in the Cannon Falls Beacon.
It is interesting to note that the grocery stores represented here are independently owned “mom and pop” businesses, but in the 1920s America was on the cusp of serve-yourself shopping and grocery store chains.
Although rural women were very self-reliant in the 1920s there were some products that could not be produced on the farm such as sweeteners for baking. At that time bread, cakes, pies, and other desserts were considered just as important as meats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products in acquiring the necessary daily calories for laborious farm work. This made sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and/or honey staples. Dried fruits and nuts may have been purchased either to add variety to the family’s pantry or for upcoming holiday baking. Coffee was another essential staple that could not be produced on the farm. Other advertised items would have been purchased to supplement the family’s food storage only if finances allowed.
The ads below came from rural Minnesota grocery stores in 1921. As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I will post more weekly grocery ads so we can compare prices between then and now. Happy Grocery Shopping!