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.
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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
- In a saucepan mix brown sugar, raisins, water and shortening. Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- 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.
- 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.