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Eating While Poor in Baltimore and New York

Crab chowder, recipes below
Here is another installment in our series Eating While Poor which takes back to Baltimore around 1939. The story is based on an image of the 200 block of South Caroline Street which was home of the Rank and File Lunch Room—what a great name! To date no sources exist on the interior or the menu of this Depression era restaurant. WPA sources in New York City municipal archives however provide some clues. New York had “hash houses” on lower Third Avenue and in the Bowery section that seem similar to what perhaps the Rank and File Lunch Room might have been. These were eateries with “sawdust covered floors” and “unadorned tables” that catered to poor folks, says WPA writer Irving Ripps. Writing in 1940, he goes on to say, “quantity is the keynote of service at these establishments, and the secret of their success lies in the tremendous amount of food sold.” Many of them offered hot meals 24 hours a day and for a quarter a person could load up on a meal made from poor cuts of meat like a goulash , stew, ragout, meatloaf, or a steak smothered in onions. Ripps goes on to say, “Ten cents is the price of fish cakes and spaghetti, rolls, and coffee. The filling soup chowder is five cents—a large bowl of it and the deserts—incredible quantities of rice pudding or large cuts of pie—are likewise priced. Here are some chowder recipes related to the story.

Maryland Crab Soup Recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Maryland-Crab-Soup

Manhattan Fish Chowder Recipe: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=429520
Vegetable Chowder recipe:

Eating While Poor Series with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Eating+While+Poor

Finger Food, Part 2 Ice Cream Cones

Apples Everywhere, Part 2 Poetry