July 14, 2008

Cheaper Cuts of Meat

I was trying to remember what kind of advertising premiums or giveaways I'd ever received from my bank. A cheap plastic pen. A paper calendar that fit up along the top edge of my computer monitor (that I asked for after I saw one on an employee's desk). A coffee cup. That's about it. Maybe larger depositors get larger gifts. If I ever received anything as interesting (or useful) as a recipe booklet, I'd probably faint.

The Superior Savings and Trust Company of Cleveland, Ohio published such a booklet for their customers back in the early part of the 1900s. Below is an old postcard that shows an interior view of their location in the Rockefeller Building.

Their publication Cheaper Cuts of Meat (1917, 40 pages) was probably every bit as effective as an advertising calendar, which also used to be quite popular with banks and other merchants. I have two current year advertising calendars on the wall right now--one from a Chinese restaurant and one from a burger joint. Sometimes I'm too lazy to click on my computer calendar.

The name and location of the company is displayed prominently in red text at the bottom of every single page, accompanied by short snippets of financial advice. Many of these tips on thriftiness and saving served to promote services offered by their institution.

The basic theme of the booklet was to show housewives how they could use less expensive cuts of meat to provide their families with nutritious and healthful meals while at the same time battling the "HIGH COST OF LIVING." The high cost of living seems to be a never-ending problem. Today, though, the banks don't want us to save, they want us to borrow.

Although I'm calling it a giveaway, the booklet actually had a price of 25 cents printed on the the first page, so maybe it wasn't really free. Perhaps they gave it away to selected customers. The Inflation Calculator says, "what cost $.25 in 1917 would cost $4.71 in 2007." If my bank were selling a recipe booklet, I suspect it would be priced at $19.95.

They use French housewives for comparison purposes:

The French housewife will buy ten cent's worth of tough meat and with the addition of bread and a few vegetables will make a delicious stew. This will afford a better dinner for three persons than the American housewife can furnish with beefsteak, potatoes, vegetables and dessert at a cost of at least ten times the price the French woman paid. This simple meal will give all the nourishment required without overloading the stomach with indigestible pastry and other waste products.

Every American housewife would give a little time and careful attention to the study of food and food values. She should learn the art of cooking so that she can prepare appetizing dishes from meat and other foods and combining both so as to only have to add a small quantity of meat. She would soon find that she could provide an astonishing variety of nutritious and palatable meals for half the money she is now spending on food.
Included are several diagrams that show the different cuts of meat that come from beef, veal, lamb and mutton, and pork. In today's supermarkets, I'm not sure there are any cheap cuts of veal and lamb.

Here are some of the tips and advice:

Your bank account is the barometer that will show you whether or not you are really thrifty.

Thrift is not confined to the saving of money. That is only an ultimate result. Thrift means acquiring all you can, conserving as much as possible, and making the most of what you have.

When peace is declared hundreds of opportunities to make money will present themselves to the wise person who has the necessary money to his credit in the bank.

We have been charged time and time again with being a Nation of spenders--and we are. Statistics prove that.

Thrift does not only mean not spending dollars and cents. It means putting your dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, and yes pennies into a savings account where they will grow with the aid of compound interest.

No one ever got rich by mere chance. Whatever your occupation may be, persistent effort is what will make you succeed. Open a savings account with The Superior Savings & Trust Company, be persistent with your savings.

Every woman should have a checking account. The check is a receipt in itself, saving the possibility of further trouble.

Women find it a real, genuine pleasure to do banking at The Superior Savings & Trust Company. The service of our officers and tellers is courteous and helpful.

The good citizen is thrifty and saving. The bank depositor not only helps himself, but he contributes to the nation's prosperity.

Every child should be taught when young the value of money. A real savings account in a bank will be the best teacher.
Some examples of frugal meat recipes from 1917 found in this booklet:


2 lbs. mutton off shoulder
2 cupfuls of water
2 tablespoons savory drippings
salt, pepper, parsley
1 onion
1 cupful cooked lima beans

Cut meat into small pieces. Melt drippings, add onions and fry until brown. Add meat, salt and pepper, brown; cover with water, cook until tender. Serve on a platter with cooked and seasoned lima beans around it. Garnish with springs of parsley.


2 lbs pork off leg
1/4 lb. salt pork
salt, pepper
summer savory

Grind meat, add seasoning, form into small cakes and fry until done. Remove cakes to platter, pour off some of the fat in pan and make a brown gravy.


Shave uncooked cured pork off shoulder very thin, fat and lean together. Put in a frying pan over fire, stir until it curls, add a little boiling water, bring to a boil and serve. You may add milk and cream it slightly with flour mixed with water, when creamed, serve on toast.

I had to look up frissled (frizzled) to see exactly what it meant.


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