Cooking is the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day. The 1950s housewives felt the same way and created this 1950’s summer meal plan.
Reading vintage magazine will quickly show you that homemakers in the ’50s had similar challenges to the ones we face now. It’s so interesting how we think things have changed so much but there are still a lot of things that haven’t really changed.
One thing that hasn’t changed is homemakers didn’t like cooking when it was hot in the 1950s either! In the June 1953 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, there was an article titled Easy Does It.
It was all about meal planning in the summer to allow for less cooking and avoiding heating up the kitchen on hot days. The author is from Louisiana and says no one cooks more than they have to on those hot summer days.
She talks about how she sticks to simple meals that can be made ahead or in a short time. She also talks about using a pressure cooker and ovenette.
I had to look up what an ovenette is. Turns out it’s a small metal cover you put over a burner to create an oven. That’s at least what I can gather from the photos and articles I have found.
What I suggest now for summer cooking is an Instant Pot, which is safer than the older pressure cookers, and a toaster oven or convection oven, which uses less energy and will heat up your kitchen less.
The article gave some summer meal suggestions and it’s always fun to look at what people ate in the past so I thought I’d share the meal ideas. They may even inspire some modern summer meal ideas for you.
1950’s Summer Meal Plan
- Beef Stew (made in a pressure cooker)
- Celery Hearts
- Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream
- Iced Tea
- Cold Sliced Ham
- Surprise Deviled Eggs
- Pickled-Relish Molds
- Corn on the Cob
- Sweet Cherries with Stems on
- Dipping Sugar
- Frankfurter Loaf
- Green Salad with Sour Cream Roquefort Dressing
- Fruit Gelatin with Pecans
- Creole Macaroni and Beef
- Fresh Peas
- Raw Carrot Sticks
- Butterscotch-Pecan Refrigerator Cakes
- Easy Overnight Baked Beans
- Brown Bread
- Green Salad – Hot Bacon Dressing
- Chilled Watermelon Wedges
She suggests leftovers for other nights. Including turning the sauce from the Frankfurter loaf into a Spanish omelet.
The idea of foods that can be made with minimal cooking and that are generally easy for hot summer days is a tip that continues to be true today.
Today, for example, I cooked up chicken for multiple meals in my Instant Pot. Now I will have less cooking to do during hotter parts of the days and the Instant Pot took minimal time to cook the chicken and didn’t heat up my kitchen.
If you are looking for more ideas for simple meal plans for the summer check out Creating a Simple Menu Plan for Summer on Life With Dee. She has ideas that are more modern but follow the same concept of simple meals will minimal cooking.
I’m working on recreating some of these recipes so be sure to sign up below to keep up with new blog posts.