Food and fashion part company in a bad economy

As the global economy continues to rock so badly, it is squeaking, we find that consumers tend to head in opposite directions when it comes to food and fashion.

In these unsettling times, food has us scurrying in search of comfort and suddenly, less expensive cuts of meat are making their way into restaurants and our kitchens. I’ve been on the search of a new meatloaf recipe which I will serve up in muffin cups to give a little flare in a bumbed out economy.

The big food trend in this economy is, not surprisingly, comfort foods – like braised pot roast with seasonal vegetables and meatloaf with mashed potatoes.  These dishes are also less expensive as they use cheaper cuts of meat and are easy for us to make at home, where we are eating much more often.

Consequently, restaurants have tweaked the way they do business in this economy as well.  Chefs are now embracing fresh, local, seasonal ingredients instead of offering exotic foods from far away places.  Cheaper cuts of meat are now the “in” ingredients at even the most high end restaurants.

Many restaurants, if they’re smart,  are offering lower priced, value menus.  Applebee’s, for example, has launched its two for $20 meal deal where diners have a choice of any two of nine menu items including burgers, shrimp and steak for $20.  This trend is finding its way into both big restaurant chains and small, individually owned restaurants.

depression fashion

The fashion trends on the other hand, have headed in t he opposite direction. Today consumers want the feeling of comfort from their clothing and accessories, but through extravagance, not thriftiness.  In a bad economy, people are looking for something to wear that will make them feel good about themselves.  The fashion industry calls this trend “escapism.”

The last time America was faced with an economy as bad or worse than this one was during the Great Depression.  A look back at fashion at that time reveals a fashion trend of glitz and glamour.  The current fashion reflects the fashion sensibilities of that time but with a focus on more casual elegance.

What can we salvage from the past to survive? What are the implications of a complete economic meltdown for popular culture? I found the following on All Recipes, where you will find a few other recipes for Depression Cake, aka Poor Man’s Cake. Enjoy.

depression cake

Ingredients (Nutrition)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a saucepan mix brown sugar, raisins, water and shortening. Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. When raisin mixture is cool, add to dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 or 40 minutes. Do not over bake or it will be too dry. Test after 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of cake should come out clean.

4 thoughts on “Food and fashion part company in a bad economy

  1. Hey,
    No eggs, no dairy, no dietary yeast, so substitute an appropriate gluten-free flour, and I might could do this one. Unfortunately, I’ll have to guess which one will best from among several mixes of alternative flour mixtures to get the right consistency.
    Hmm, wonder what craisins would be like in this instead of raisins?
    Any other ideas to go in this stuff?
    Thanks a heep! Cuz

  2. My Grandmother made a version of this cake. She called it Eggless, Butterless Raisin Cake. She used white sugar and used Crisco as the shortening. It was one of the best cakes I have ever tasted….and I have never been able to make one that tasted as good as hers. She always made sure she used the seeded Muscat raisins..which kept the cake very moist. It is hard, if not impossible, to find those Muscat raisins in stores today.

  3. Emily,
    Most chocolate has soy, even if it doesn’t have dairy. I have found a wonderful Kosher product that is aok that could easily be broken up into pieces like chocolate chips. That would be yummy. We do get some gluten free chocolate mixes and do substitutions for the other things like milk and eggs, and some of them are really delicious and so moist you wouldn’t believe it. The chocolate is strong enough that it makes the slight difference of the egg replacement unnnoticeable.

    We are constantly stocking up on these Kosher chocolate bars for our chocolate fix — they are sooo good that I nibble all the time, and have gained a pound or two as a result.

    I’ve heard this stuff (Depression Cake) tastes alot like spice cake and that it’s delicious. Do I leave all those spices in if I use the chocolate pieces?

    By the way, a friend has given me instructions as to what I’m to use in terms of subbing the alternative flours. I’m to use potato flour (not potato starch), corn flour, and rice flour combined in the proportions she suggested. She also said I should add something else that I can’t remember at the moment due to the gluten free flour combinations being a bit bland compared to regular flours. I’ll have to go back later and look at what she wrote again. The gal’s a gluten free genius!

    Another friend from Michigan commented that this sounds alot like what they used to call “War Cake.” Have you heard it called that before? Is it the same?


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