In Truman's day, this was tofurkey for a meatless Thanksgiving


75 Responses to “In Truman's day, this was tofurkey for a meatless Thanksgiving”

  1. m1kesa1m0ns says:

    Interestingly conservative for BoingBoing.

  2. Jonathan Badger says:

    I doubt very much that this was meant as a main course for vegetarians (who were far less common back in the day).  It looks like a side dish. I also don’t see why it is particularly weird. Don’t most people serve vegetable sides (like green bean and mushroom soup casseroles) with their turkey?

    • iamlegion says:

       I think it was more likely a substitute main dish for when meat was inconveniently rationed – I agree that few grocers back then would really cater to veggies otherwise.

      • Xeni Jardin says:

        I think that’s exactly the point of the ad.

      • John Napsterista says:

        The year is not given in this scan, though the scanner’s reference to it being Truman-era shows that it has to be a post-WWII Thanksgiving ad, published well after food rationing had ended (plus products marketed to meet rationing requirements invariably boasted of such, a patriotic marketing angle).  And in any event, turkey was not rationed (or was less rationed) during WWII.  As the publication Wartime Cookery helpfully explained:

        HAVE POULTRY FREQUENTLY – Poultry contains practically the same nourishment as meat.  It is likely to be plentiful, it has always been raised by women and is not easily shipped… Make soup stock from poultry feet or carcass of roast fowl.  Combine poultry meat with vegetables, rice, hominy or noodles in scalloped dishes and stews.


        Most likely, this was simply a product aimed at people who consumed processed vegetables in post-war America, for all the reasons people consume them today, just representing a smaller (but still lucrative) portion of the overall population. But probably rationing had nothing to do with it.

    • Gilbert Wham says:

       Green bean and what?

    • Girard says:

       This is GROSS! It’s a bunch of vegetables ground up and mushed into a loaf! Not something totally reasonable, normal, and not-disgusting-at-all like a decapitated bird with breadcrumbs shoved up its asshole, or the ground-up flesh of a cow or pig shoved into its intestines…

  3. I suppose a Turkey does make for a better metaphor for the slaughter of the Native American people.

    Happy holidays everyone!

  4. 10xor01 says:

    The yellowish cast to the photo makes it look unappealing, but the dish itself seems fine.  Some sort of presumably stuffing-based vegetable loaf, mashed potatoes, radish rosettes, broccoli.  These would be on many Thanksgiving tables.  Merging them onto a single platter just leaves more table space for other goodies.

    • chgoliz says:

      Actually, that loaded of a platter of food makes it impossible to pass, so all plates must go to the designated server, unless the table is small enough that it can be the centerpiece.

  5. Todd Bradley says:

    Why would eating this give you explosive diarrhea? I thought vegetables were good for you.

    • Girard says:

       This is America, son! Unless your lower intestine is 50% back-up with undigested meat matter, you are considered to have digestive and dietary problems. Vegetables are the devil’s food!

  6. Lupus_Yonderboy says:

    As a vegan, I’d love to have the recipe.  I’d also love to have an A&P anywhere around, I haven’t really seen one since the ’80s.  Haters gonna hate, I guess.

  7. Marja Erwin says:

    “If by “glamorous” you mean “explosive diarrhea,” then, sure.”

    Well, that’s my reaction to traditional Thanksgiving dinners, and similar holiday dinners.

  8. jayson says:

    That looks delicious, actually.

    When did Boing Boing go all “hur hur stupid vegetarians” on us?

  9. dethbird says:

    I think it’s just the illustration that makes it look all explosive-y and diarrhea-y. Spiced right, this could be good. You could just take a plate with you and just eat it on the toilet. … i kid i kid.

  10. Matthew Heberger says:

    Srsly, what gives Xeni? I can’t imagine this might cause more gastrointestinal distress than eating a lot of fatty meat and sweets. Doesn’t look any worse than your average meatloaf… 

    • Christopher says:

      Speaking from a friend’s experience (not my own, thankfully), if you eat a lot of fatty meat and dairy a single vegan meal can have the effect of turning your lower intestine into Niagara Falls. 

      • I’m guessing your guts flora adapts to your diet. I’ve been a vegi from day 0 so have a feeling that eating meat would cause my body to report me to the police for cruel and unusual punishment.

        • chgoliz says:

          Actually, once you’ve been veg*n for a few years (I forget the exact time period), you stop producing the enzymes that help humans digest meat, so at that point you would still experience the same discomfort as someone who was born and raised that way.  Even hidden chicken stock in a dish marked “vegetarian” will let you know pretty quickly that you’ve been lied to.

          Those enzymes take a long time to develop in babies, BTW.  There’s an order to introducing foods, and meat is pretty much last on the list.  It’s not easy on human systems.

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        If you’re used to having minimal fiber in your diet, and then dump more roughage in one sitting (ahem) than you’re used to having all week, then yeah, probably. That’s an effect that you’ll appreciate much, much more when you’re older, though–trust me.

  11. gracchus says:

    Doesn’t look like a bad idea to me. The illustration isn’t great, but I can see the real thing being good (and I loves me some turkey, too).

  12. Xeni Jardin says:

    I am going to be eating a delicious vegan Thanksgiving dinner. It’s hilarious that some of you think I hate vegans. I just hate “vegetable loaf” of indeterminate origin.

    • Florian Bösch says:

      Maybe it’s good, who knows :) It looks delicious.

    • cub says:

      i didn’t get the joke.  but at least i’m not the only one.

      hey, everybody, better luck next year!

      • edkedz says:

         Not the only one who’s kind of clueless, that is.

        Mocking oddly-colored photos of lost 50s recipes is a time-honoured online form of merriment, whether the thing has animal products in it or not. It’s all about the weird pukey tones, either from the colour technology of the time or the way the photo has aged or deteriorated.
        This weird “they’re attacking vegetarians” response is just bizarre.

        • You’re right, I only second guessed it because it came from Xeni, but you have to remember that we’re used it.

        • cub says:

          wow.  i straight-up admitted i didn’t get the joke, and you pile on by calling me clueless… i haven’t a clue why my polite post rendered such a response.

          to amend my previous message:
          hey, (mostly) everybody, better luck next year!

      • It’s like she’s trolling us.

    • jackie31337 says:

      I’m really curious about the recipe for this vegetable loaf. I make a lentil loaf for the holidays that is probably pretty similar. Mine is not vegan (it includes eggs and cheese) but it could probably be made vegan with a few tweaks.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

       OK, I can see where you’re coming from, then. I think that they’re holding back the recipe from the ad just so that they can get you on their mailing list.

    • chgoliz says:

      My children (vegetarian since conception) don’t understand meat analogs at all.  They don’t get why people feel the need to have something that looks and chews like meat on a plate, because of course it hasn’t been the centerpiece of their meals.  Veg loafs were what we did in the 1960s and 70s when there really wasn’t a lot of options out there.  But now….who needs them?

      One time many years ago I went on a first date with someone who held the prevailing belief of the time that vegetarians eat nothing but salad — one or two stages after the veg loaf era — so he wanted to be polite and ordered a salad for dinner….boy was he surprised when I ordered a hot cooked meal.  Why would I eat a raw salad in the middle of winter in Chicago when I could have something that’s been roasting or cooking on the stove for hours?

      Stereotypes die hard.

      • Sparrow says:

        If you’re vegan but you seek out convincing imitations of meat, you’re really just a cryptocarnivoire.

      • Girard says:

         Well, “loaf” isn’t really an inherent meat shape, either, so I don’t see veggie loaf as a meat analog at all. Just an interesting dish one can make with vegetables. I remember sometimes my meat-eating friends would rib me for eating veggie burgers, suggesting that it meant I really wanted to be eating meat. As if meat comes out of cows in patty form! Why is it more inherent to grind up meat and compress it into a disk than it is to grind up beans and vegetables? The short answer is, it isn’t. ‘Loaf’ is a convenient shape for food you intend to slice up and dish out. ‘Patty’ is a convenient shape for food you want to eat as a sandwich. Neither one lends itself especially to meat, at all
        It would be like saying meatloaf is a “bread analog” because it is in a loaf shape…

  13. t3kna2007 says:

    > an era when meat was comparatively expensive, and rationed

    It’s from the future?

  14. Karen Lofstrom says:

    What’s weird about that? I’ve attended many a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner featuring vegetable loaf. Well made, it’s great. The presentation is fussy, but the ingredients look fine.  

  15. Peter says:

    Holiday”, “vegetable” and “loaf” are three words that don’t belong together – just like “pedophile”, “kindergarten” and “nudist”, or “mom”, “masturbating” and “surprise.”

    But what about:

    “Mom practically pinched a loaf when she saw the pedophile masturbating near the kindergarten playground, but she sure gave him a surprise: she spent her holiday in special forces learning how to neutralize an enemy, even if you have no weapons and are a nudist.  The guy’s pretty much a vegetable now.”

  16. Melissa Kuehnert says:

    I think I know what this is. It looks very like the Special-K Loaf that I ate growing up. This is a 7th day adventist staple. Google images gives you this.

  17. blueelm says:

    I tried a couple of war and depression era recipes and found them very good. One was for a nut loaf, during meat rationing. The other was a cake made without egg, milk, or flour. 

    I was really really really happy with the cake. And the nut loaf was surprisingly tasty, and actually much nicer for you than ground meat.

    I’m not sure why these kinds of recipes seem to get the cold shoulder when (to me) they are far better than the processed pretend-meat substitute foods.

    Just because it’s not associated with the luxury of eating meat, doesn’t always mean the dish won’t taste really good!

  18. benher says:

    Why this looks just absolutely delichiahsdBLAAARRRFF!!

  19. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Mmm, unloaf.

  20. chgoliz says:

    You know, now that I look at the photo again, the broccoli is remarkably dark green.  When I think back to how broccoli was usually cooked in my childhood, the green was always so cooked away the vegetable would appear practically gray.

  21. pjcamp says:

    I like the way the other food is standing around gawking at it.

  22. niktemadur says:

    Enough to make a conscientious vegetarian turn to veal.
    Betcha the ad wasn’t made by Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

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