Chuck Wagon Beans (1948) ★★★

Cookbooks aren't the only sources for historical recipes - old advertisements are goldmines, too! There are tons of these sorts of images around the web, especially on Flickr. It's interesting to see what sorts of things companies came up with to advertise their product.

Original Recipe:
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or shortening
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 clove garlic (optional)
2 cans Hunt's Tomato Sauce
1 lb. ground beef
2 cups cooked or canned white or kidney beans (1 lb. 4-oz can)
1/4 cup water
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder


Melt shortening. Add onion, garlic, and meat. Cook until meat is lightly browned. Add Hunt's Tomato Sauce, beans, water and seasonings. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Makes 4 servings.

The Verdict:
Unfortunately this was bland. So very bland. I used shortening instead of bacon fat, but I imagine that would have been quite tasty. I think I also may have added too much tomato sauce (like what the heck does "2 cans" equal anyway?!) and too much beef, comparing my finished product to the illustration. Also, I don't know what the difference between this and chili is. Because I would call this chili. Anyway, we added a bunch of spices and it was quite tasty. Without all the spice was great for Little Y, though. I gave it three stars because I would make this again, but it needs spicing up.


Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from Life, July 26, 1948)


2 tablespoons BACON DRIPPINGS or SHORTENING (this isn't really necessary unless you use extra lean beef)
1/2 cup ONION, chopped
1/2 clove GARLIC
2 cans HUNT'S TOMATO SAUCE
1 pound GROUND BEEF
2 cups (20 ounces) COOKED OR CANNED WHITE OR KIDNEY BEANS
1/4 cup WATER
3/4 teaspoon SALT
2 teaspoons CHILLI POWDER (+ extra spices for flavour)

1. In a large pot, melt the shortening. Add the onion, garlic, and meat and cook until the meat is browned. Pour off the extra fat if desired.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. If desired add extra spices to taste such as salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano, and cayenne.
3. Simmer over low heat for about 35 minutes, or until thickened. Stir often, because this will stick to the bottom very quickly!


Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.

3 comments:

  1. I like the idea of carry handles for that casserole dish thingy in the picture. But 4 raw onion rings for garnish?  ツ

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    1. Alas, I did not have the awesome casserole that was pictured, haha.

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