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I thought it would be fun to have a look at the ads in Good Housekeeping just after the turn of the century and see what specialty items could have found their way onto my grandmother’s pantry shelves.   The following are from GH, Dec. 1907.

Postum coffee substitute, no jangled nerves from caffeine when you drank Postum.  Old Grist Mill wheat “coffee” came in a nice box illustrated with the image of a grist mill.  Perhaps that was to draw your mind away from the fact you were purchasing parched wheat for your morning beverage instead of actual coffee.

Borden’s Eagle Brand Condensed Milk, est. 1857, “proven the best for nursery and household”.

Jello offered 7 flavors of instantly made gelatin – a real timesaver.

Heinz Mincemeat, “A Winter Luxury”, beef, suet, flawless apples, raisins, currants, candied citron, orange, and lemon peel, and, “the purest spices brought from every corner of the globe”, were combined to produce “real” mincemeat without the work of making one’s own. 

Fish direct – salt mackeral, dried salt cod, smoked halibut, and canned seafood direct from Gloucester delivered right to your doorstep. 

Log Cabin maple syrup – syrup in a tin that looked like a log cabin. 

Royal Peanut Butter, “for the school lunch”, packed in air tight, paraffin sealed, glass jars. 

In case Grandma wasn’t the best cook and housekeeper, she could obtain a free copy of Hints for Housewives from the makers of Old Dutch Cleanser. 

There were Whitman’s chocolates for those who wanted store-bought candy and Royal Dutch cocoa.  

One could purchase horseradish for 10c a bottle, Lea & Perrins worcestershire, Junket for turning milk into ice cream, Purina whole-wheat flour, Gorton’s pickled fish, prepared baby food from the Health Food Co., Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Liebeg’s Extract of Beef, French’s pure spices, Fairy Soap – a white bar that floated, Quaker Oats, Van Camp’s Pork and Beans, and malted milk. 

The housewife was just getting used to the idea of purchasing many of these items when her mother and grandmother had had no choice but to make their own.

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