Depression-Era Recipes: Hoover Stew


The Great Depression was a time when everyone had to get creative with what they had.  Out of this time came a couple of well-known recipes that families would serve as much as possible.  During that time, meat was a scarcity, and when they had it, they made it last.  As Hoovervilles popped up across the nation, families shared recipes and among the most popular was what was called the Hooverville Stew.


The Hooverville Stew was a simple dish that took advantage of macaroni, canned tomatoes, and hot dogs.  Most people don't think of hot dogs when they think of the Great Depression, but it was one of the most available and cheapest forms at the time.  Here's the recipe:

Recipe:  Hooverville Stew

1 box of macaroni
1 or 2 cans of whole tomatoes, spanish style (depending on size of cans and number of people to be served)
1 package of hotdogs
1 can of corn or beans (such as chick peas)
  1. Boil macaroni for five minutes until noodles become flexible
  2. At the same time, slice the hot dogs into very thin coins about a half an inch thick.
  3. Pop open the tomato cans and dump them in to a large pot.  
  4. Add the hot dog bits to the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer; break up the tomato chunks as the heat increases.
  5. Drain the macaroni when it is barely Al Dente. Reserve the cooking water to add to the pot, if needed.
  6. Add the macaroni, and continue simmering until all of the ingredients are thoroughly heated and the hot dogs are cooked.
  7. If you have onions or other spices to add, combine them in to the pot at this point.  
  8. Traditionalists always cooked the macaroni to be somewhat overcooked so that it could be served again at a later date and it would 'keep' better.