Food Branding

Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons.
Davenport, Iowa
Nov. 27, 1976

Today I visited my grandmother at the Lend-A-Hand and we ate ravioli from LaSalle, Illinois. They hand pack it there and it is a treat for us whenever we get a chance to make some.

I wonder sometimes about the brand names that grace our pantry - Kraft, Nabisco, Campbell's, Carnation, Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima, Libby's, Quaker Oats, Folgers, Post, Hershey's - and marvel at the simplicity of the containers in my grandmother's shared kitchen.

There are milk cartons with all the ladies' names on them, and bulky, shapeless packages, with the owner's names written on them, old butter dishes covered and taped shut, white and tan boxes each with only the owner's name on them. It seems fitting that the name of the consumer rather than the producer, or canner appear on the foods awaiting the pot.

Perhaps these women are not swayed by the numerous labels enticing them from the shelves of the supermarkets, maybe they have learned that a carrot is only a carrot no matter who has laid hands on it.

But food is food and when one has it, one is grateful.

Editor's Note: This passage is from my personal journal. The Lend-A-Hand Club was established in Davenport, Iowa in 1886 as a chapter of the International Order of the King's Daughters and Sons. It became an affiliate of the national network of Lend-A-Hand Clubs launched during the 1870s by Edward Everett Hale, a Unitarian minister who had risen to nationwide prominence as an abolitionist and writer for the Atlantic Monthly prior to the American Civil War. The club was a place for young women who lived and worked away from home to associate in a safe environment.