Friday, February 6th, 2009
Three Ads for Puzzled Fathers of Rather Young Children
“If you’ve had to exchange a charming wife for a tired mother who spends endless hours in the kitchen dutifully scraping, stewing and straining vegetables for your child–you’ll be glad to read this story.
Five years ago Mr. Dan Gerber faced the same situation, and knowing a great deal about vegetables he set out to solve this problem.
The result was Gerber’s Strained Vegetables Products–now widely prescribed by physicians everywhere.”
–From a 1933 advertisement for the Gerber Products Company, via the Duke University Library digital collection (the remainder of the ad text is straight baby food marketing copy).
Gerber Products Company was just six-years-old at the time this ad was made. According to Wikipedia, Dan Gerber owned a canning company making canned fruits and vegetables. He got the idea to make baby food when his wife began hand-straining food for their 7-month-old daughter. According to Duke University Library, that photo is indeed the puzzled Mr. Gerber.
Check out the names on those Heinz baby food jars… beef, beef heart, lamb, liver and bacon, liver (plain), and pork. Mmmm, pork: the only white meat in 1954, apparently.
Okay, I readily admit I am a puzzled father. Here is one more Heinz ad, titled, “A dozen quick and easy ways to solve a toddler’s mealtime problem.”
In 1941, the novelty of glass jars wasn’t yet a novelty. Here we see Heinz promoting 12 canned Junior (toddler) Foods.
1. Creamed diced vegetables with rice and yeast concentrate.
2. Creamed diced potatoes with onions and yeast.
3. Creamed tomato and rice with vegetables, whey powder.
4. Chicken farina vegetable porridge with milk, wheat germ and yeast.
5. Lamb and liver stew with milk and cereals.
Mind you, those aren’t side-of-the-can fine-print ingredient listings. Yeast concentrate is a yummy additive to promote in a magazine ad.
6. Chopped carrots
7. Chopped spinach
8. Creamed green vegetables
9. Chopped mixed vegetables
10. Pineapple rice pudding
11. Prune pudding
12. Apple, fig and date dessert
How many of those foods do you feed your baby or toddler?
At 10 months, the closest I get is steamed carrots, bits of potato and diced prunes. I’m not even sure what apple, fig and date dessert is. I don’t want to know if any Thinga-readers feed their kids liver or lamb. Or beef hearts for that matter.