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Foods: once common, but now luxury

I need to pull together a list of foods that were once common and affordable and are now considered a luxury. For example: Wild caught salmon would be an exact fit, where lobster really isn't. I know, I know. Lobster was once considered peasant food, but hey, not in my lifetime. So, any suggestions on what would fit on this list?

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  1. Far from a luxury, but chicken wings were once a through away item that are now often priced higher than breasts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TonyO

      My mother remembers that up until the 70s butchers would give her wings for free because no one would buy them.

    2. portabello mushrooms used to be tossed by mushroom farmers as useless and unsellable, but are now one of the more expensive "common" mushrooms.

      1. Short ribs. My mom used to make them because it was a cheap cut. Short ribs are not inexpensive any longer.

        12 Replies
        1. re: melly

          Add skirt steak, flank steak, veal breast and lamb/veal shanks to your list along with sweetbreads.

          1. re: Sherri

            What's annoying is that while these "cheap" cuts are getting increasingly expensive, the old "expensive" cuts aren't going down in price.

            1. re: jgg13

              Add oxtails to the list.
              At least where I live, they are more expensive than short ribs, running about 15 bucks for a 1 and 1/2 lb pack. Incredible for what was a throw-away cut.

              1. re: jgg13

                True, but nothing is going down in price my friend. :(

                1. re: Chew on That

                  Except gas-guzzling autos! (Does the word guzzling keep this a chowish comment?)

            2. re: melly

              Just wondering...what is "cheap" to you? I can find meaty, absolutely lovely short ribs for (usually) $2.99 per pound...what are you paying for them, if I may ask, in your area?

                1. re: Val

                  for four short ribs..about 2 inches long each, the price was 6.99

                  1. re: Val

                    Here they cost about $11.88 per kilo. That's almost $6.00 a pound.

                    1. re: Val

                      Short ribs are a lot more than $2.99/lb in my local grocery store. I'd say they're usually closer to $8.99/lb. In fact, all the previously "cheap" cuts of meat sell for around that at my local Shop-Rite. Veal shanks are usually around $10/lb.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        A local grocery, Intermarché, that often has good prices on food basics, has short beef ribs on sale this week at 3,49lb/7,69kg (Canadian $ obviously). I've never made them, but have found a recipe to do them in my crockpot. This is in Montréal, where we get more bits and odd ends.

                  2. In the 50's, my dad, who was in the navy, used to buy a full plate of spare ribs and rice for 25 cents at various ports. According to him, sailors loved this stuff, as it gave them extra money to spend on the, ahem, liquid portion of their diet.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KevinB

                      back before the turn of the century (the 20th not the 21st), when sturgeons were plentiful, caviar was so abundant in the US that bars would put huge bowls of it out as free bar snacks, since it was salty and therfore made people thirsty (same idea as peanuts or pretzels)

                      As for the wild salmon, the story I always remeber is that, in Scotland salmon was once so abundant that a standard clause in tenant leases and servant contracts specifically forbid the laird from feeding it to them more than three times a week, lest a cheap and greedy laird feed his dependants only on this "peasant fare"

                      As for modern days you can add (sonewaht controversionally) practically any of the varios foods placed in the catergory of "bushmeat", "bush tucker" etc. Ostrich, Alligator, Emu, Antelope, kangaroo, buffalo, varios forms of insect etc. were long consider food fit only for "dumb savages", now any of them will command a premium in many resturants.

                    2. From the Wikipedia article on eels: "Elvers were once eaten by fishermen as a cheap dish, but environmental changes have led to increased rarity of the fish. They are now considered a delicacy and are priced at up to £700 per kg in the United Kingdom." Same deal in Spain, where people now mostly eat fake "angulas" made of surimi.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: DeppityDawg

                        We net Elvers by full moon here in Maine. By the way in Norwegian, elver means river.

                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                          And a 4.5 ounce tin of real angulas is 50 bucks.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Future update: banned altogether?

                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                Available sporadically from www.latienda.com ,small inventories of them. I expect quantities sufficient to export will soon be history.

                          1. re: mpalmer6c

                            Can you give me any price points on the Dungeness? At a restaurant it's in the $30ish range(?) but in Chinatown, I can get one and cook it at home for $15. Might be a fit, but if you have any additional info, that'd be great.

                            Short ribs are a perfect fit! Thank you!

                            1. re: fullbelly

                              Just curious - whereabouts are you? Here in Toronto, live Dungeness crabs go for about $7.99/lb in Chinese markets.

                              1. re: KevinB

                                They're out of season now where I live, but one mail-order place lists them at $9.50 a pound. I remember my dad saying he could buy 3 crabs for a buck back in the early '50s.

                          2. Short ribs were my first thought as well.

                            I would add oysters to that list, although they might fall in the "not in my lifetime" category. However, they used to be very, very cheap.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: DanaB

                              It was a Dicken's character who sniffed and remarked, "Did you never notice that oysters and poverty are close companions?"

                              1. re: thinks too much

                                Good stuff. I wish Dcikens' words were still true...

                            2. Cod, Japanese rice from California, sole, flounder, turbot, plaice, smoked fish, salmon roe, abalone.

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Yep, I remember when quality fish was cheaper than beef. Now it's the opposite. Scarcity of supply I guess.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Abalone ........ ah, Sam, you've waked a nostalgia-a-thon. Desperate, dead- poor young Navy wife in San Diego, I used to dive for abalone and pry them off the rocks for a "free" dinner. Later, I gathered oysters on the Chesepeake Bay for the same "free" meal, ditto for catching crabs. Lordy we ate well but were stone broke.

                                  I learned all the ins and outs of offal by lying through my teeth to the butcher about my non-existent cat to be given sweetbreads, liver, brains etc which, today, I buy at a hefty price. Oxtails were another gift and we feasted on "free" soup. Thanks for the memories.

                                  1. re: Sherri

                                    As kids we went with the folks and extended family clamming at Pismo and abalone gathering at other points along hte California coast at low tide. When I stated diving in the late 60s, we did a bit of abalone. My parent's yard had a lot of clam and abalone shells in the end. Now paved over by freeways, future archeologists will find a shellfish midden where we used to live.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      Never dove but did clam... in a beach town north of Boston at low tide in the clam flats when we were first married and lived in a cottage by the sea....sigh.. Oh what fun!.. I learned to cook those critters every which way and still do but no longer have the clamming rake. Nice memories, tho.....

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I miss clamming more than anything. There are so few places left that you can do it here on the island. Nothing better than digging up a few pounds and cooking them right up on the beach with garlic butter. We used to boil our corn in saltwater too. Sooo good.

                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        We used to clam and get abalone along the SoCal coast too when I was a child. In florida we used to dip for giant pink shrimp and dive for conch... those days are largely gone (for the shrimp) and completely gone for conch.

                                        I cannot get sweetbreads or brains from my grocery (even special order).

                                        ;Oysters here... cheap cheap cheap (PNW)! But you cannot find ANY in restaurants. I find that curious.

                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      I'm with you on the abalone, Sam. Growing up in SF, it was dirt cheap. As a student at UCB, my roommate's boyfriend dumped huge quantities on our kitchen table in exchange for home-cooked meals. A taste I really miss, and my kids will never experience. Bluefin tuna, as well. What have we wrought?

                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        Gio & pika, it is a tragedy that we've wought.

                                        I'm allergic to clams, all shellfish, but not to abalone and fish (bivalves and crustacians lead to death; all else OK). Fresh, pounded abalone sashimi--to die for, and probably never again in my lifetime!

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Yup. I was scrolling down to see if anyone mentioned abalone yet. My second husband was a scuba diver, and we ate abalone at least four times a week. My guest bathroom is decorated with eight and nine inch diameter pink abalone shells I cleaned up with muriatic acid way back then. Try finding an ab that big at any price today! I devised more ways to cook abalone than there were days in a week. Or two! And they weren't that expensive in markets back then either.

                                          Now the cheapest abs I can find on the web are teensy weensy farm raised two or three inchers that run thirty bucks per pound IN THEIR SHELL...!!! I'm not so sure those are really abalone. Maybe they're just clams with half their shell ripped away and some holes drilled in them? And I cannot envision myself ever eating canned abalone.

                                          Other seafood prices that make me cry: mussels, sea urchin, squid, octopus... These were all cheaper-than-dirt not so very long ago. And we used to have to gather sea cucumbers fresh because no fish monger would bother with them. Check their prices today!

                                          Pork belly used to be super cheap no-one-wants-it kind of meat, but now they cook it in the finals on Top Chef, and the butcher charges accordingly. As with sweet breads, And shanks! Any kind of shanks. Used to be next to free, now they're not. The biggest price hike is for veal shanks sliced for osso bucco. It used to be a really cheap dish. Now you need a quick loan to finance them.

                                          Unreal. And it ain't gonna get better.

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Those are my Dad's favorite food memories from the Navy. Living in Iowa, He now dreams of cheap abalone..

                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            Hey Sam, I actually dove, w/ tire iron, for abalone in Santa Maria w/ my cousin's husband in the 70's!

                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              Invite me for hunting and fishing up in the NE sometime.

                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                Want me to send you my house key (A joke, since we don't lock the house and leave the car keys in the ignition.) so you won't need to call or wake us up?
                                                Mussels, Mainers used to refuse to eat them., blueberries, crab is still cheap, and fiddle head ferns.

                                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          oh abalone...my mom raised us from infancy on abalone jook made w/ huge abalones that we'd get at the beach...we still have a bunch of huge shells leftover from those days...

                                          i also don't remember paying for geoduck at all when i was a kid, since they were everywhere...now, not so much.

                                        3. Monkfish,and fresh eggs

                                          1. shellfish, offal, flank steak, hanger steak, farm-grown veggies (the local stuff).

                                            1. venison.

                                              i just saw frozen venison chops at WFM last week for $21 per pound.

                                              sadly, with the way prices have been skyrocketing lately, pretty soon we'll be able to add dairy products & eggs to the list.

                                                1. Bone marrow...in our house, anyway.

                                                  1. As my father used to say, 5 cents! -- (loaf of bread, bus fare as well). Heard they used to give away liver for pet food. Personally remember when we got dungeness crabs for like .59/lb., and we're not That old... and flank steak was a budget cut of beef... watch out for those pork belly prices, folks!

                                                    1. Chicken wings: I blame the whole city of Buffalo for the rise of $1.75/lb in 15 years.
                                                      Salt cod:Growing up my mother called it "poor people food" we had it every Friday and now I'm too poor to afford $15.00 to $18.00/lb.
                                                      Ox tails:When did the culinary world discover Ox tails?
                                                      Marrow bones:A freebee from my local butcher, but had it grilled at Micheal Jordan's and knew the freebee days were over.
                                                      Monk fish: We would shoot them just to prevent them from eating the bait we put out for the "good fish"

                                                      1. After returning from the grogery store, I'm afraid to say, but FOOD, altogether. Damn, it has all gone up 20-30% over the last 6-8 months. And I'm not particularly sanguine for the prospects in the near term either.I have never been averse to spending big $$$s($350 and up per person) for a good meal, but I don't want to have to for every meal.

                                                        1. I think with lobster it depends on where you grew up. In New England when I was growing up they were dirt cheap. My dad was a factory worker and my mom a waitress so we didn't have big bucks. However we did often have lobster for Friday dinner ... Catholic ... in the days when Frday meant fish. Also lobster rolls were almost as cheap as hot dogs.

                                                          Maybe not a luxury, but certainly pricier these days ... calamari. I remember in the days they were called squid, they were a hard sell and often 29 cents a pound.

                                                          Skate was once a scrap fish.

                                                          I am just shocked by salmon prices in the last year. Salmon that Safeway was selling last year for $3..99 lb is up to $15 ... on sale.

                                                          14 Replies
                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            Well, unless oil prices come tumbling down drastically, we can't be far away from luxury priced bread! I envision WalMart's "Great Value" gummy white bread at $4.00 a loaf in the not-so-distant future.

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              Oroweat was $4.29 a loaf today in my store in Houston!

                                                            2. re: rworange

                                                              Prior to the 20th century lobster was definitely a poor man's food.

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                When did skate become the trendy item on restaurant menus? I remember when it was one of the few fish I could afford and now it's going for $7.95/lb. or $18 a la carte!

                                                                As a child, I also ate a lot of offal -- partially because it was cheap, partially because it was popular where my parents came from. But now that offal has become a marker of haute cuisine, the prices have skyrocketed. Oxtails, common among people from Jamaica to the Philippines, has already been mentioned. Every child's nightmare, calves' liver, is at $8.95/lb at Fairway and even tripe is up to $3.99/lb. Pork belly has undergone a similar transformation from everyday dining to trendy delicacy.

                                                                And don't get me started on Jewish deli food. Somehow I doubt that the poor immigrants on the Lower East Side would pay $10/lb. for corned beef, $24/lb. for Nova or the $13.25 I paid last week for an everything bagel with lox.

                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                  Chicken livers seem to be increasing in price week-by-week.

                                                                  1. re: mrbozo

                                                                    I noticed that as well. I wonder why that is. I have also noticed in the last few years that my chickens are no longer packaged with their precious little organs! What gives??

                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                      That really pssies me off. When I but a whole chicken, I damned well better get the little nasty bits. I avoid buying certain brands because of this rip-off.

                                                                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                        I complained at my local grocer about the missing organs in my chicken! Turns out they were THROWING THEM AWAY! I threw a fit.

                                                                        1. re: tzurriz

                                                                          Horrors! We certainly get livers, gizzards and hearts.

                                                                  2. re: JungMann

                                                                    "When did skate become the trendy item on restaurant menus? I remember when it was one of the few fish I could afford and now it's going for $7.95/lb."

                                                                    Here in the LA area, I can either pay $15/lb for it at Fish King in Glendale, or I can go down to one of the San Gabriel Valley Asian markets and get it for a third of that or less. From the California perspective, $7.95 really isn't that bad for any fresh fish - that's what we pay for farmed salmon at the supermarkets, and I'd rather have skate any day.

                                                                  3. re: rworange

                                                                    Agreed, and I think with many things the perception is affected by where you grew up. I remember, as a child in Oregon, driving to the coast and tossing a crab pot off the pier and within hours having enough free dungenous crab for dinner. And picking buckets of big, plump, juicy blackberries, which grow like weeds all around certain parts of the state. Now, when I see the prices of an individual shrink-wrapped crab or a tiny plastic basket of blackberries in the supermarket, it's shocking. But I also spent some of my childhood in Pennsylvania, where neither was so prevalent. If I'd only spent time there, the current prices wouldn't be so shocking.

                                                                    1. re: weem

                                                                      Ah, picking fresh berries and apples in the Laurentians (Québec). In a day my sister and I picked enough wild strawberries, blackberries and raspberries for several pies to to be made. And collected enough bear stories to pass down along the line.

                                                                      And now, a few bucks for a few mouthfuls of flavourless pulp? God bless progress and genetic engineering.

                                                                      1. re: weem

                                                                        Berries are expensive because they're a real pain to harvest, ship, and store--they're fragile and labor intensive. The plants themselves, on the other hand, are not.

                                                                      2. re: rworange

                                                                        rworange - we used to get a box of frozen squid for bait to go fishing when I was kid, I think it was like a 5lb box and it was only a couple of bucks... if we didn't catch any flounder or anything else which we could eat, we'd eat the 'bait' for dinner over pasta
                                                                        (those were good times)

                                                                      3. oysters.

                                                                        In the 1700/1800 in London, they were considered poor man's food, and oyster stews are almost a staple of people who lived in the "not so nice" areas along the Thames, as they could scrounge them for free off the wharves.

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: purple goddess

                                                                          And in NY, workmen's contracts limited the number of oyster meals that the workers could be served!

                                                                          1. re: purple goddess

                                                                            Dr Samuel Johnson fed oysters to his cat in the late 1700s.

                                                                            1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                              Thank you for these, but I'm really looking for modern versions. Something that use to be very plentiful 30 years ago, but today? Are either too pricey or are rare to find in the restaurants or grocery. So foods that would apply today. Thanks.

                                                                              1. re: fullbelly

                                                                                Certain Jewish deli items fit that description. Rolled beef, for example, a sort of extra-fatty cousin of corned beef, was easily found when I was a kid. Now I have to go to NYC for a fix, the last Boston-area producer stopped making it a few years ago. And belly (salty) lox was ubiquitous a few decades ago, now only a few of the better delis still carry it.

                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                  In fact, practically anything Jewish...pastrami, kishka, knishes, sturgeon, whitefish, lox (oy!), even bagels (have you seen how they went up in the last two months? A shonda!).

                                                                                  Now you need to take out a mortgage to go to the deli!

                                                                                2. re: fullbelly

                                                                                  My grandpa told me that when he was young (1918 - 20's) he was living in San Diego working on repairing ships he used to take a boat out, stick a line in the water with a rag stuck on the end and he'd get so many bluefin they almost swamped the boat. They jerked them in on a rigid pole back then. Those days have surely passed.

                                                                                  Also, a nicely marbled pork chop. TRY to find that now.

                                                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                    I get nicely marbled kurabuta pork from snake river farms. Go to their website

                                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                      arikadawn, omg, I pay $5.00 a pint at farmer's markets in los angeles area

                                                                                      1. re: budlit

                                                                                        I went back to the farmer's market on Thursday and got 4 lbs for $10 from a different vendor. I love the farmer's market...


                                                                              2. I'm lucky if I can get two flank steaks for under $22, and skirt steak is unheard of. Maybe it's a Canadian thing. It's also really hard to find a lot of the cheaper cuts of meat here. I think maybe most of it goes into store-made ground beef.

                                                                                1. Chesapeake blue crabs, always had lines out off the pier and a live box. Steamed crabs
                                                                                  5-6 times a week in the summer, sold some for about $2.00 a dozen or maybe $25.00 a bushel. Never graded by size, you got what I dipped outta the livebox.
                                                                                  Crabcakes on the bar at grandmoms tavern were $.25 a piece.

                                                                                  1. Really first-rate, big, dark, firm Bing cherries from Washington. Where are they shipping the good ones? The stuff in supermarkets for the past 10 years has been pathetic.

                                                                                    And I have a sinking feeling blueberries are going the same way. Pints are rare, and half-pints are $5 or $6.

                                                                                    On the other hand, raspberries seem better-quality and more plentiful than than when I was a kid.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Angela Roberta

                                                                                      Sadly, this looks like another bad year for the Bings. They had a really bad late freeze this year so there won't be much out there...and they will be pricey.

                                                                                      1. re: Angela Roberta

                                                                                        Ya gotta live in cherry country! At the local farmers' market, I got a quart of bings for $7 last Saturday. Then again, there are a few hundred acres of cherry orchards within 10 miles of my house.

                                                                                        1. re: Angela Roberta

                                                                                          Yesterday at the farmers market I got a quart of the best organic bluberries I have ever tasted for $5.50. Tomorrow I am going back to buy a $10 gallon of them.

                                                                                          1. re: Angela Roberta

                                                                                            Tacoma Boys fruit market used to call them "Rolls Royce Cherries" - from the Yakima orchards.

                                                                                            They were crunchy, juicy, intensely flavored. I sure hope those trees are still alive.

                                                                                          2. I agree with most of these (some, I don't have experience with, like abalone).

                                                                                            For your strict definition, fullbelly, I WOULD include lobster. In my neck of the woods (near Montreal), end of May beginning of June, you'd get live 3/4lbers for $5 each in a grocery store. OK, small, but for $25, you can scoff 5 of 'em.
                                                                                            Today, grocery stores don't even bother carrying them.

                                                                                            Pigs feet, tongue, and tail...like most of the less choice cuts, prices have risen alot.

                                                                                            Another is corn.
                                                                                            Hell, I grew up thinking $1/dozen for corn was a price regulated by god. Not so.
                                                                                            Last year, waiting for the height of the season, it was still around $3.

                                                                                            A few other things, though slightly off topic, I'd like to note. As a kid, I never thought people would buy dirt, water, or air - yet here it is, all on sale at a premium! Damn, I even saw *sea-water* on sale a couple of months ago...sheesh.

                                                                                            1. Really good home-made macaroni and cheese with excellent cheese comes to mind, and I clearly remember very reasonable prices for lobster, oysters, and other seafood.

                                                                                              Delicious, european-style fresh-baked bread from a baker with fresh-churned butter is another one. Crisp apples by the bushel, and ripe tomatos, and I didn't even live in a rural area.

                                                                                              1. Sorry, fullbelly, in 1990, lobster dropped below the price of hamburger! No lie! My wife and I were each eating lobster stew in 2 different elementary school cafeterias!

                                                                                                1. Red Drum- was pretty much a trash fish; old timers like my father in law still throw them back when they are fishing for trout. But when Paul Prudhomme popularized blackened redfish, the price of red drum went way up- when you could find any...

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Clarkafella

                                                                                                    It was also cleaned out of the Florida estuaries to the point there was a ban on commercial redfishing in the early 90's.

                                                                                                  2. The prices for cornmeal is roughly the same in the supermarket...

                                                                                                    but I grew up in the South and remember when grits were a add on breakfast item for a few extra cents. Now "polenta" is a sexy expensive restaurant dish!

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                      An old guy from Northeastern Italy (polenta country) we were interviewing for a life history told us the same story about polenta. For him, it was a marker of poverty - the wealthier families in his town ate wheat bread.

                                                                                                      1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                        Ditto grappa. When I was a young toper in the '70s, it was cheap Italian firewater, made from the leftover twigs and seeds after winemaking. Thirty years later it's evolved into an expensive designer brandy. Go figure!

                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                          Well now, I dunno 'bout that. As far as I know there have always been "rotgut" grappas and "uptown" grappas. From the fifties, I remember grappas that ran in the same price range as fine cognacs. Premium grappa is nothing new. '-)

                                                                                                        2. re: lagatta

                                                                                                          my grandparents were from Southern Italy and polenta was a 'poverty meal' for them too. When you're really poor and that's all you have to eat, no amount of popularizing can make something appetizing to you
                                                                                                          (I only recently got my Dad into liking it... just a little)

                                                                                                      2. MMMMM tuna belly meat. I used to be able to go to the processing plant and they would give them to me. Now I can't afford to buy them. Its all high end sushi now.

                                                                                                        1. Chesapeake blue crabs were $5 a bushel. Swordfish was cheaper than hamburger. Cod was cheap as dirt for decades. Same with rockfish. Chincoteague oysters were half a buck for a dozen. I'm talking about the early seventies here. Compare the price of these once-common foods now, if you can find them at all. Might as well just say seafood in general.

                                                                                                          1. Apropos to the topic but not quite yet a reality, by the end of summer corn on the cob will be a luxury, according ro farmer's predictions given in the New York Times. And these floods ain't gonna help either! And we may as well toss bread and pasta in the luxury basket too.

                                                                                                            1. We have a winnah! I was just listening to NPR and the story detailed the rise of bluefin tuna from poor-people/cat food to chi-chi sushi choice. A 6ft long perfect bluefin tuna recently sold for $175,000!

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                I believe the bluefin is now extinct.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                    On that note - several decades ago giant bluefin tuna used to do spring summer runs between Fl and the Bahamas. Marlin were mammoth.

                                                                                                                    I believe it is the rape of the ocean that will spell our doom. Sad.

                                                                                                                1. Flooding in the Midwest is going to have a huge impact on prices later this year. I spoke to my Mom in Iowa over the weekend and she told me that not only had some farmers replanted 2 or 3 times, it was now too late to even start. Too bad corn isn't just in corn anymore.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                    tTe ripples from these floods are going to be severe. I'm stocking up on grains for the freezer.

                                                                                                                  2. Well, lately I have to say (sheepishly) uhh...like... flour. Jeez, I used to snag a 5lb. bag of King Arthur flour for $2.79 a couple months ago at Trader J's and $3.79 @ my little local neighborhood market. 2 days ago I paid $7.69!!!! @ my local mkt. Don't know what the Traders price is as I haven't been there in a few weeks, but Jeez.... Guess there goes my baking and pasta making habit; will have to take up the crack-pipe again instead! Gas is cheaper than flour...WTF?! Adam

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: adamshoe

                                                                                                                      Thankfully (?) it's $5.50 here in Seattle. The King Arthur bread flour was recommended in a homemade bread recipe printed in the local paper. Considering 1 bag makes 4 rounds of artisan bread, i've made my peace with the cost. I still save money by making my own rather than spending over $4/loaf for artisan.

                                                                                                                      Link to the easiest homemade bread ever: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html...

                                                                                                                    2. Crawfish were once the food of the poor. In Louisiana people were ashamed to admit they ate them. Now they are a special treat!

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: kkak97

                                                                                                                        I can see why crawfish would have been considered poor people food. In a few wet years we had mudbugs build their little houses in our backyard in Houston (behind which was a bayou). It did not occur to us to eat them any more than we'd have eaten ants.

                                                                                                                      2. When I was a kid flank steak was cheaper then the cheapest hamburger...not any more.

                                                                                                                        1. london broil (and flank steak) were staples in our house when i was growing up - now definitely a more "luxe" item

                                                                                                                          stone crab - growing up in FL you could find plenty of little coastal fishing shacks equipped with picnic tables, wooden mallets and buckets of claws. We would spend all afternoon smashing them open and picking out the sweet meat until our heart was contents and bellies full. The last time I had stone crab in FL we spent $250 for 2 people

                                                                                                                          1. I grew up in a largely irish-italian catholic community that practiced meat abstinence on Fridays. My protestant family joined in- because fish was cheap. The local fish market would generally have an entire swordfish stretched out on a long wooden table on Fridays and you would indicate the thickness you wanted and Cappy would slice away. This...to save money. Ah, the good old days.
                                                                                                                            Sidebar: I find it amazing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $millions to eradicate a type of corn fungus that in Mexico is called "cuitlahoche" and is a delicacy.

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                                                                                                                            1. When I was a kid, Mock Chicken was still a popular substitute for real chicken drumsticks, being made from the much cheaper veal! Salt cod and rabbit were still poverty foods as well: "Since ham went up / to a dollar a pound / I eat so many rabbits / I jus' hop all 'round..." Plus all the offal foods that are specialty items now, and priced accordingly, such as kidneys, heart (when you can get it!) and tongue. We were really poor, and I grew up eating a lot of stuffed heart and boiled tongue.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                There was a time when chicken was only eaten on special occasions and considered a meal for people of means, more so even than steak. The phrase "two chickens in every pot" had a special resonance for Americans when Herbert Hoover ironically employed it in his bid for the Presidency. Thereafter and even today, it has become synonomous for an impending lay-off or plant closure. The good news is that chicken is now the cheapest meat in the store, thanks to modern agriculture. Nowadays, it's more like, "What, chicken again?".

                                                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                  "And then after we elected him, we didn't even have a damn pot anymore!" was how I heard about Hoover's promise. Actually, it was *A* chicken in every pot that was promised, and it wasn't Hoover who said it first. That was Charles X of France, addressing the people in a coronation speech, expressing his desire that all should prosper in his reign. Don't know for sure if that one worked out, either.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                    Americans will soon have a chicken in every pot... because those small whole chickens are getting to be one of the few meats I *can* actually afford.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mellicita

                                                                                                                                      My family budget has been cut, so I just made a roast chicken and was so happy that I could stretch it and make different meals out of the leftovers for the week.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                      With Hoover I think it was "Two chickens in every pot and a Model-T in every garage", or some such. I guess that was back when people had room to park their cars in the garage.

                                                                                                                                2. Veal cutlet. My family used to cook these breaded and pan fried, sometimes parmigiana, by the ton once a week, and they were tender and inexpensive. Money was always short, so they weren't springing for luxury items here to feed a large family The butcher would pound them flat with a large cleaver before he wrapped them.

                                                                                                                                  I am still shocked to see the $22.99 per pound price at my local HEB specialty store for veal leg "scallopine". Relative to other meats, veal cutlet is far more expensive than all but the highest quality imported or specialty beef.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: RGC1982

                                                                                                                                    Wow, I had no idea they used to be inexpensive, they are $28 at my local store.

                                                                                                                                  2. When we all lined up for raw fish and warm wine they realized we'd pay a lot for anything presented properly. Personally I remember my mother preparing nice thick lamb chops pretty frequently; now they're prohibitive. As for the short ribs, not only are they expensive, the ones at my local store are half bone and rather fatty. When salmon is less than $10 a pound, it's the tail piece that is not uniform in thickness and more difficult to cook. Get used to it, it's gonna get worse.

                                                                                                                                    1. Rabbit. Once so common they were even fed to dogs. Now fetching $20/kg+ for farmed (more for wild) in Sydney butchers, and often not that even that fresh. As far as I know these vermin are still shot in huge numbers for culling, yet I'm paying $20 - $30 for one? What on earth are they doing with all the dead rabbits???

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tsar_Pushka

                                                                                                                                        Long Island, 1970s. Mussels were $1 for 6 pounds bought off the boat on the south shore. Georgia Coast, 1970s, shrimp, bought off the boat, 85 cents a pound. Richmond, Virginia, late 1960s, shad (considered a trash fish at that time) 15 cents a pound. 1950s - chicken livers were free, as was beef suet. Mid 1960s, eastern Tennessee, chili dogs 15 cents each, early 1950s all soft drinks were 5 cents each (first to move in price were the 12-ounce drinks, which went to 6 cents each). About 1950, pork was selling for about 8 cents a pound and chickens at the same time going for 29 cents a pound. At the time pork (from fat, not lean, hogs) tasted great, and chickens (they weren't mass market) ran free and breathed fresh air and ate bugs and grass and took a long time to reach adulthood (and were thus expensive). Today, mass market chickens are relatively cheap because they are filled with growth hormones, held in pens and taste like cardboard. On the other hand, while food may have been cheap at the time, we have much more variety today and today there do not seem to be as many class differences based on what we eat.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Potomac Bob

                                                                                                                                          My grandparents had a gentleman's farm in the South when I was growing up. They raised chickens, ducks and goats as part of the farm. We ate lots of freshly slaughtered chickens. Comparing them to say, the Foster Farms chicken I bought at the store a couple days ago for 69 cents/lb. - I am not sure I would be able to readily tell the difference. Maybe I am simple or my tastebuds are dead or maybe I am doctoring them into deliciousness.

                                                                                                                                          And about the hogs - fat back then and lean now. Farming practices back then were hardly a thing to behold. Lean hogs were demand driven. it costs more to make a lean hog than a fat. Back then hogs were made for lard production and meat. Lard use and consumer demand for lean pork drove that lovely fatty pork chop into the history books.

                                                                                                                                          I would adore seeing someone who declared only free range or buying locally for them actually slaughter that animal and bring it to the table. A good way to get close to your food.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Potomac Bob

                                                                                                                                            Chickens in the US do not receive any hormones.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                Late to the game, but...

                                                                                                                                                In the US, it's illegal to raise chickens using hormones.


                                                                                                                                              1. re: Potomac Bob

                                                                                                                                                I remember all of those prices! But I think the rub comes in where I (and probably others?) don't remember that clearly what our income was.

                                                                                                                                                According to this website (http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade6...) the average monthly salary in 1960 was $395.25. Today the price of a full (14 pound) bone-in USDA prime rib roast from Lobel's is $405.98. I didn't serve prime rib all that often in the '60s, but did cook one this size every Christmas, along with a roast goose and a suckling pig, and paid all of the December bills.

                                                                                                                                                Somehow I suspect a 1960s food budget fit the income better than today's food budget fits today's income. Now if some joker would just come up with viable time travel, we could earn now and shop then!

                                                                                                                                            1. Locally,

                                                                                                                                              Soft shell turtles

                                                                                                                                              1. In my childhood black raspberries were common and cheap and now they are all but extinct...I am curious about your task. What is this list that you "need to pull together" and why is it limited to your own lifetime? It's remarkable that 100 years ago oysters were the food of the poor and 200 years ago lobsters were the food of the shiftless. And my black raspberries memory is from 70 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                1. "Stew Meat"

                                                                                                                                                  Essentially beef scraps that my mother used to buy; now they're as expensive as steak. I think I'll be better off buying some cheap chuck steak, cutting it up myself, and using that to make beef stew.

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Math Lover

                                                                                                                                                    You certainly would be. I know I am. Stewing beef is one of those items that has a hefty "knife tax" applied to it.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Recently I was purchasing some meat from my local butcher and was able to get an oxtail for FREE!!!!

                                                                                                                                                    I find duck and rabbit to be much more expensive than it used to be. Actually, sometimes lamb fits into that category. We used to raise sheep (on the family farm when I was a child) and at times we practically gave it away. Certainly not the case now!

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                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                      Get the f#*^$ outta here! Free ox tail? Where do I sign up?

                                                                                                                                                    2. Almost forgot. In my neck of the woods we need to buy caul fat whereas the butcher would just give it to us. Same with butcher's twine...

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                        I remember when beef and chicken bones for making stock were free, but now you pay $2.00 a lb for them, unless you are willing to get them from a meat packer.

                                                                                                                                                      2. No, lobster is an exact fit. In colonial New England, lobster was not even a peasant food. It was a trash fish that just rolled up onto the beaches. Some of the first strikes in America, before the Revolutionary war, were indentured servants in Maine and Mass who wanted to get cod instead.

                                                                                                                                                        Can you believe that early indentured servants in Maine went on strike to protest eating lobster? Lobsters were abundant in colonial times in coastal communities and sold for about two cents per pound, providing cheap food for the servants. When lobster graduated to its present state as a luxury food, demand often exceeded supply.

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BigGuy

                                                                                                                                                          BigGuy, I was actually looking for items that fit the criteria within my lifetime. That's why lobsters weren't a fit, but bluefin tuna or wild caught salmon were spot on. I'm old, but I'm not that old. :)

                                                                                                                                                        2. Also, oysters in NYC were so plentiful that taverns didn't charge for them until the 1830's. A penny bought a beer. Customers were expected to tip the oyster shucker a penny if you took more than one. That penny is the equivalent of $2 today.

                                                                                                                                                          If someone took more than one or two oysters without giving the shucker a tip, that someone would get an oyster that opened up on its own. An oyster that opens up on its own is diseased and someone who eats it will get very sick. As a tourguide aboard the Gray Line bus in NYC, I don't have same means of achieving retribution against non-tippers that an oyster shucker had a century and a half ago. But I can dream.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I came on this thread late, but reading it was great fun. I don't think anyone mentioned lamb. Growing up in the fifties, we often had lamb patties (which I hated) and leg of lamb, which I loved. Good lamb is hard to find now, even in spring. And when is the last time you saw a lamb shoulder in anything but a speciality market? Even lamb stew has gotten to be a luxury. And then there are lots of cuts of beef that most supermarkets don't carry. You'd be hard put to find beef shanks in our neighborhood. (Thank God for the Harris Teeter, Andronico's, and the like.)

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                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                              So true about the lamb. Sunday breakfast was pancakes and lamb chops when I was a little girl.But in my neck of the woods chicken was not as cheap compared to other meats as it is now, so chicken for dinner was more of a treat.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                I live in a neighbourhood of Montréal with a lot of Mediterranean people. Historically it is Little Italy (Petite-Italie), but Lebanese immigrants arrived as long ago as the Italian ones, and we have old Levantine parishes as well as the Italian onese, and the Greek ones just a bit farther west, across a railway line. (Most early Lebanese and Syrian immigrants here were Orthodox Christians - Muslims arrived later). As a result, there has always been fairly affordable lamb, not in chain supermarkets, but at the many so-called "ethnic" groceries. I used to buy my lamb from a Sicilian butcher; now I buy it from a Halal Moroccan place. Lots of lamb shoulder, neck and other less luxurious cuts for good prices.

                                                                                                                                                              2. When I was a kid in San Francisco (early 70s) red snapper was the cheap fish my mom bought to stretch the budget.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Growing up on Cape Cod in the 50's and 60's, every beach jetty and piling was covered with mussels. Almost noone ate them. Today, you're lucky if you even see one

                                                                                                                                                                  1. oysters,pork belly/bacon went from dirt cheap to luxury,chicken wings and smelts were free or nearly free for years,costly now
                                                                                                                                                                    who was the last person to get free soup/marrow bones??????

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Cod, and all it's parts. I'm from Newfoundland, and in my lifetime, I saw it go from a very cheap and easily accesible fish to a "treat".

                                                                                                                                                                      I went cod jigging once with a bunch of people from work, pre-moratorium. I jigged up about 6 or 7 for sure, brought them home, and with no one else around at the time to show me otherwise (I wasn't very knowledgeable back then ) I tossed them whole into the freezer, evidently ruining them. They had to be thrown out. Those would be like gold now !! Not a luxury per se I guess, but the prices have certainly gone up.

                                                                                                                                                                      As for the associated parts...I can remember when the boys in the community would go door to door selling cod tongues from buckets, dirt cheap. Now they are a very pricey treat as well. Not my kind of treat, but my family loves them, as well as the associated parts such as the sounds....cod cheeks I do like.

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                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                        I miss cod too. Especially the cheeks and the roe sliced and fried in butter.

                                                                                                                                                                        What food was cheap, then expensive, and now cheap again?

                                                                                                                                                                        LOBSTER! I'm getting it off the boat for about $2.25 lb. US. Eating lots of lobster rolls while I can.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                          yep, seeing it for $5 a pound CAD around these parts too.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                          im_nomad, as young semi-hippies we bought cod fillets and other parts cheap from fishermen in the Gaspé and New Brunswick. Alas I never made it as far as Newfoundland; a friend did last year.

                                                                                                                                                                          Even here in Montréal, lobster has been ridiculously cheap, which does not bode well for the fishery. I'd gladly pay a bit more if I knew it went to fishing families.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Veal breast. I remember it for 19 cents a pound at Kroger's. Mind you it had to be cut off the bone and pounded, but we ate LOTS of it.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. When I was struggling as a newly independent kid, the bulk section at health food section would have whole wheat pasta for almost nothing. Now if I want whole wheat angel hair its a foodie thing and I'm pay through the nose...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I grew up eating rabbit, venison, salmon, rainbow trout, oysters and paua, all of which my dad and I would hunt/collect (we were one of those outdoorsy families who went camping a lot). So I was surprised when I left home, to see the prices these foods attract at the supermarket! I don't think I've ever seen trout at a supermarket. Also, I'm pretty sure that cheese used to be a fairly staple food and now it and milk are getting ridiculously expensive. A kilo of cheese is around $15 and when you're a student you definitely think twice about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I don't know if it's been mentioned ,this would be squid ( calamari ). I live on the monterey bay CA. Not as fresh now and 4 x the price. .

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Frozen Yogurt is now fancy pants, not like when I was a kid.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kholvaitar

                                                                                                                                                                                      I remember TCBY when I was a kid. Now there are lots of places popping up. Haven't tried any but they are all the rage!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Creamed Chipped Beef (AKA S.O.S.).

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                        I must have missed when this became a luxury :)