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1940s Liberal Sunday Meal Plan

August 4, 2022 | Laura

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The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book


✽ The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book's editor-in-chief was Lily Haxworth Wallace. The cookbook was copyrighted by Books, Inc. in 1941. I am currently using the 1946 edition.

✽ You may be able to find used versions of this cookbook (from various publication years) on Amazon. Check it out here! (affiliate link)

The purpose of this Old Recipes section of my blog is to talk about and show pictures of actual meal plans from the 1940s.

Since I didn't create these recipes, I do not post the exact recipe ingredients or word-for-word instructions. My 1946 copy of The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book was found at a garage sale. If you are looking for a copy of this book, I suggest looking on Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, garage sales, estate sales, and library sales.


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Lily Wallace New American Cook Book from 1946

I acquired a copy of The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book, and I was immediately intrigued by the recipes inside. It's like stepping into the past, and I love it.

This cookbook was written by Lily Haxworth Wallace in 1946. She was a home economics lecturer and writer.

This book came out right after World War II so it holds a lot of fun things such as entertaining, meal plans for all budgets, dieting, how a housewife should be running their home, vitamins, and how to set a table.

This cookbook is packed full of recipes including some pretty strange ones. Anybody care for a Orange Tomato Aspic or maybe you'd prefer the Pineapple and Cheese Salad?

My favorite part of this cookbook besides all of the simple, delicious, and straight-to-the-point recipes are the meal plans in the back.

Originally, I had my mind set on completing an entire week of 1940 cooking. I changed my mind about halfway through making the grocery list.. It's just too much for me.

A HUGE round of applause for any housewife that was able to get all this cooking done plus the other 1000 things I'm sure she had to do as well.

There's four weekly meal plans in the book: Liberal Diet, Moderate-Cost Adequate Diet, Minimum-Cost Adequate Diet, and Restricted Diet for Emergency Use.

The Liberal Diet was listed first so that's what I went with. This plan was made for those with $3,000 or over in annual income, and "provides abundantly the nutrients needed by young and old for the enjoyment of buoyant health." Each day has recipes listed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For reference, $3,000 in 1946 is about $45,500 in today's world (2022).

Looking for more 1940s recipes to read about?

I have already completed Monday through Saturday's meal plans. Head over to my Old Recipes Home Page to find them all.

1940s Sunday Breakfast

1940s Breakfast with grapefruit, waffles, sausage, and coffee

I loved this Sunday breakfast. It had a little bit of everything I want in a breakfast, and I was so happy to make this meal. The menu was grapefruit (or other fruit in season), waffles with honey, sausage, and coffee. If children were present, they would receive hot cereal and milk.

First, grapefruit. I used to eat grapefruit quite a bit growing up, but I don't much anymore. I'm not sure why. Though the meal plan doesn't mention it, I sprinkled a little bit of sugar over my grapefruit half, and it brought back all those citrusy memories.

The waffles were delicious and pretty basic. Honestly, I would use this recipe again when making waffles. The ingredient list was short and simple- flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk, eggs, and melted shortening. The meal plan called for drizzling honey over the top. As a huge honey lover, I welcomed that suggestion happily.

Next, was fried sausages. I was really happy that this meal plan included meat- fried meat, yum. The recipe in the cookbook tells you to puncture the skin of each sausage prior to frying. I'm not sure why they tell you to do this. Maybe it's to prevent the sausages from exploding. I just was sad to see all that delicious juice drain from each one as they cooked in the pan. Once they were crisp, they were removed from the pan.

Thankfully, we had coffee today unlike Saturday's coffee-less meal plan.

Overall, this breakfast was a hit. It is a perfectly balanced meal that gives you enough energy to get going! Which is good, because I'm going to need it to make this Sunday lunch feast coming up.

1940s Sunday Dinner

1940s Lunch with roast chicken, stuffing, yams, asparagus, salad, and ice cream.

Sunday lunch was quite the feast! The menu included roast chicken with savory stuffing, baked yams, creamed asparagus, head lettuce salad, and ice cream with strawberry preserves. If children were present, they also had a glass of milk.

The roast chicken reminded me quite a bit of Julia Child's roast chicken recipe. The whole chicken is slathered with butter and few seasonings. It was cooked in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes then the temperature is reduced to 350 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time. This recipe, as well as Julia's, tells you to baste the chicken every 10 minutes. This is so time-consuming. About the time I get something else going in the kitchen, it's time to baste again. Not to mention all the heat that is let out of the oven every time you open it. The stuffing inside the chicken was so tasty. It was onion, butter, bread crumbs, and seasoning. Simple, but flavorful!

The yams were yams- nothing fancy. They were soaked in cold water for an hour, poked, boiled for a few minutes, covered in butter, and then baked with the chicken for a bit until soft and browned.

The asparagus was... awful. This cookbook had me boiling asparagus for 25 minutes. It came out just like you'd expect- limper than ever. Then a medium white sauce was poured on top of them. Would NOT recommend.

The salad was also not really anything worth talking about either. After soaking the lettuce leaves for 30 minutes in water, a homemade French dressing was poured on top. I'll go ahead and add that the soaking of the vegetables really makes timing out this meal to get everything to be ready at the same time even more difficult.

Lastly, dessert- ice cream with strawberry preserves. This wasn't really anything to write home about either. Of course, the ice cream was good, but the strawberry preserves were strange. I found that boiling the sugar and fruit for that long just made the mixture really hard when it cooled. We were still able to eat it, but I think maybe the proportions of the ingredients were off a bit or maybe I did something wrong. Which is always an option when I have so much cooking at once!

This Sunday lunch was meh to me. It was a ton of work, planning, and cooking to do during a Sunday. I'm actually not quite sure how a housewife that also went to Sunday morning church would have pulled this off by early afternoon. At the end of the day, I'd take the stuffing and roast chicken and leave the rest.

1940s Sunday Supper

1940s Supper with salad, potato chips, olive and nut sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and tea

It was nice to see that the Sunday supper wasn't as such a big to-do since the lunch was huge. Still, I feel like maybe the family could've just made their own sandwiches or eaten leftovers to let the poor wife rest..

This Sunday meal consisted of mixed green salad, potato chips, olive and nut sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and coffee or tea.

As somebody who usually skips the salad, this salad was actually quite good. We even ate the leftovers the next day! The recipe allowed you to pick which combination of greens you wanted to add. I chose green pepper, green olives, diced pimiento, and romaine lettuce. The salad bowl is rubbed down with cut garlic which was nice to have a bit of garlic flavor without it being too overwhelming. Minced onion is sprinkled on top, and a homemade French dressing is drizzled on it all.

The homemade potato chips- not much to say but I want to eat these every day. I know that this cookbookd didn't come up with fried potatoes, but that doesn't change anything. I'm glad that they decided to include them in a meal plan. Thinly sliced potatoes are soaked in water, dried, fried to perfection in hot oil, and then sprinkled with salt.

Olive and nut sandwiches are exactly what they said like. Chopped nuts and chopped olives are mixed together with a little bit of homemade French dressing and then piled on top of buttered white bread. If you like olives then you'd like this sandwich. I would definitely eat this again and again.

Cookies and fruit were also added to the meal plan, but neither one of them had a recipe that went with them. I just baked some icebox cookies real quick and threw some watermelon and pineapple in a bowl. I chose to serve this all with a nice cup of hot black tea.

I'll be honest with you- this may have been the best meal as a whole yet. Everything was delicious, and I would gladly eat it all again. Solid meal.

A Sunday in the Life of a 1940s Housewife- Thoughts

With a huge meal thrown right into the middle of the day, this Sunday was exhausting. I definitely think that the husband should have been in charge of dinner after that lunch. Don't you think? I loved the breakfast. I loved the supper, but the lunch was way too much work for what it was worth. So much for Sunday fun day.

Next up is the meal plans for the Moderate-Cost Adequate Diet! I couldn't be more excited to be starting a new meal plan. I will see you all very soon for Monday!

Category: Old Recipes Cuisine: American
Keywords: 1940s meal plan, 1940s diet plan, 1940s diet, 1940s housewife diet, 1940s recipes, 1940s meals, typical 1940s diet

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More 1940s Meal Plans:

1940s Liberal Thursday Meal Plan (baked apples, minced lamb sandwiches, baked cheese fondue, & more)
1940s Liberal Friday Meal Plan (French toast, bacon sandwiches, scalloped salmon, & more)
1940s Liberal Saturday Meal Plan (poached eggs, vegetable soup, liver, & more)
→ Check out all of the completed old recipes!

Bon appétit!

August 4, 2022 by Laura Bullock

*This 1940s Liberal Sunday Meal Plan blog post may contain some Amazon affiliate links. These link to products that I personally use and recommend. If you purchase anything using my links, it will not cost you anything. It will though give some financial support which helps me keep this blog running. Thank you for reading my blogs and your continued support.