Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday is Food Day!

Remember the newspaper?  You know, that thing that was delivered every morning or afternoon, right to your doorstep, that held all sorts of local information?

Well kids, before the Internet, this is where most folks found out about local doings!  And on Wednesdays, the ladies got a special treat - a whole section devoted to grocery shopping and new recipes to try!

Many larger cities even had their own food editor.  I worked at the Green Bay Press-Gazette in the early-to-mid-Nineties and the food section was under the guise of the Lifestyle Editor.  Even as late as the early Aughts, the Reporter here in Fond du Lac still devoted at least a couple of pages to recipes or food trends.  

During my tenure at the Press-Gazette, I HATED Mondays - that's when we'd lay out the Wednesday paper.  This was my job - to place the ads on the pages before they were sent up to Editoral for the news to fit around them (yep, that's right - the ads come first!  Just like TV, where shows are just filler for the stuff they're trying to sell you!).  In those days, the food section was typically 16-20 pages.  YES!  Can you believe that?!?  And Sure-Way. a smallish local grocery store, always had the "double truck", which meant that in a 16-page section they would have pages 8 and 9, or right in the middle.  There was always a full-page ad on the back page, and one on page 3 also.  These were all full-color ads, too.  Ah, the heady days of a newspaper actually having a profitable revenue stream!

I've been fondly reminiscing about those days lately, because I found this marvelous relic at the estate sale I attended on Sunday:

This paper is actually from a Monday, because it's the week of Thanksgiving and Wednesday would obviously be too late to shop (unless you're a masochist!).  It's also dated November 25, 1963, which as most of you know was only three days after President Kennedy was assassinated.  These ads were assembled probably a week in advance (all set by hand back in those days) and it was too late to change them, but if they could've they probably would've had some mention of "praying for our country" or some such.  That had to be a pretty dour Thanksgiving that year.

But anyway - aren't these ads AWESOME?!  This paper is the Sheboygan Press - Sheboygan is about 35 miles due east from Fond du Lac, right on Lake Michigan.  Milwaukee is about 50 miles south.  Sheboygan is also home to the "brat", and as you can see in the above ad, Johnsonville was actually a grocery store before they streamlined into only meat.   Yep, it's that Johnsonville!  The next time you sink in to a juicy brat or Polish, you'll now know where it originated.  :D

Of course, it's also fun to compare prices.  Some things are FAR more expensive, like butter - OUCH!  But other items, like the turkey itself, is almost exactly the same!  I know that these modern behemoth superstores purchase massive quantities of turkeys and use them as loss leaders to get people into their stores, but wow!  In some cases, you could buy a turkey for cheaper in 2010 than 47 years' prior!  That's CRAZY!

I can't wait to sink MY teeth into these ads and cut 'em up!  Yep, that's right - I WILL be using this section.  I know I'll find other newspaper sections in the future and these are just too good to lay dormant.  This section was just laying in a basement for 47 years, waiting for the nutso lady with itchy scissor fingers to seal its fate.  I think it's a noble way to go.  :D


  1. Ahhh, newspapers advertisements. Great stuff. ... My favorite things are noting the prices of times gone by and seeing the oddball foods/products advertised that don't exist any more. And then trying to figure out what they were. .... (Coincidentally, I "fooded it up" today on Papergreat, too, with some ephemera and groovy recipes:

  2. Thanks Chris, and thanks for the link to your site as well - always fun! I like "old" foodstuffs too - it's really interesting to see how our tastes have changed. I don't think my great-grandpa would've been into Doritos! :D

  3. We still get a small section here, but - shame on me - I don't pay attention to which day it is! What fun to think about! Thanks, Mel!