10 Items Regularly Purchased and Enjoyed by the Lower Class
Treet is a canned knock off of spam. It is a bologna-like texture made of minced up pork, chicken, and other meats congealed and canned. It is an Armour Star product and is American-made. Inexpensively made, Treet is often baked or fried before eating. Treet that has been baked with ketchup or steak sauce on top of it is often referred to as “treetloaf” like an alternative version of meatloaf. The product is described as having a less greasy texture than its counterpart of spam, similar to bologna. While it’s popular it doesn’t seem to have the same cult following that spam does.
Vienna sausage is a type of sausage that is comprised of different parts of chicken beef or pork that has been canned in a chicken broth. There are different pieces of animals and different kinds of them so it varies quite a bit between the preparation and taste depending on who made it. Sometimes referred to as cocktail weenies, they were mentioned in the popular sick time of the Simpsons that Homer has an obsession eating them. Sometimes their canned with tomato sauce and sometimes with gelatin, but either way they’re definitely not healthy for you.
Bluing is a laundry product that is used to make white fabrics whiter. Unlike bleach, it actually will add blue dye instead of whitening the fabric directly. Sometimes the fabrics alternately turn gray or yellow but it is less costly than bleach. Bluing has actually been added to laundry for centuries with just a few drops in the water to help take any dingy appearance out of white laundry. While its heyday in the United States was in the mid-20th century, it is still much cheaper to use than bleach and is more common in lower income houses.
Day Old Bread
What happens to the bread the day after it has been made? Usually fresh bread doesn’t have the shelf life expectancy that store-bought bread does and so it is usually thrown out by the bakers the next day as the crust has become almost too hard to eat. But at most bakeries you can buy day old bread and bagels and other baked goods at a significantly reduced price because they are much harder to eat and have gone stale.
Powdered Milk and Eggs
Where dairy products actually have a life expectancy that is much shorter than pantry items, there is actually powdered milk that you can purchase that has a longer lifespan than traditional milk. Dairy in its powder form is substantially less costly and also much less tasty. Likewise, there is also powdered eggs. The price of eggs has gone up exponentially and they also have a much shorter life expectancy than box items do – you can buy eggs in a powder form at a much reduced price. Of course the taste is not as desirable.
Thunderbird wine was a cheap fortified wine that came about during the depression and the American prohibition, but yet still available to buy. The alcohol content of flavor fortified wines is somewhere between 13% and 20% and are usually made of grape and citrus wine with sugar and artificial flavors. In popular culture, the fortified wines are not looked upon in great light. In fact, in Seattle they have prohibited the sale of those products in impoverished areas to try to prevent the access of the poor to cheap alcohol.
Dollar Store Steaks
If you ever run into the dollar store to get craft supplies or balloons or any of that sort of thing, did you know you can get meat from the dollar store? Well you can buy dollar store steaks in their produce department. That’s right you can get meat for a dollar. While this may not be the best choice cut of meat and maybe not the freshest out there, you can still buy it to get your protein needs. Of course not all dollar stores will have steaks in the food department, but you can better believe that discount shoppers and those who need to look for a bargain will find it.
The term “quarter water” is actually a misnomer because what they are is actually not water at all. Sold for a quarter, they are small drinks sold in plastic packages usually in the shape of a barrel. More like Kool-Aid, they are sugar water flavored in grape, fruit punch, orange lime, and blue. High in sugar content and low in nutritional value, quarter waters are cheap and easily accessed but definitely not good for you. Quarter waters are especially popular with children because of their sweet flavoring and because they only cost $.25.
Loosie cigarettes are referring to individual cigarettes that you can buy from anywhere between $.10-$.50 from the store. Instead of buying an expensive pack, and if you are short on funds and can only afford one cigarette at a time, then you can actually just buy them with loose change instead of coming up with the $5 to $10 that the cigarette pack cost these days. If you’re hankering for your nicotine fix and do not have the funds, you can usually just buy an individual one to hold you over. As cigarettes have become an unsustainable habit for low income families, Loosies keep them in the realm of cigarettes without breaking the bank.
Sardines are actually nutritionally very good for you, as well as being extremely inexpensive. They are usually served in cans but of course the sardine can comes fresh as well, though that does cost more money. Sometimes sardines have been used as bait to catch other fish, but a low price, you can eat the sardines yourself. There is even cookbooks dedicated to cooking sardines to improve their taste and flavor. While jokes have been made over the years about sardines being served on pizza, the fact remains that they are cheap to buy and still have nutritional value.