Depression Era: Store-bought Jelly

Red Hen Jelly was a store-bought spread that we ate reluctantly, only after exhausting our winter store of home-made preserves. I hated this sorry excuse for jelly. Pale pink in color, flavorless, with the consistency of rubber, it came in a “tin” pail which was probably more desirable than its contents, The jelly must have been pure pectin with a drop or two of food coloring. The pail was readily identified by a red hen on the label. I couldn’t help wondering how they made jelly from a chicken, red or any other color.

Myrna Kautz
Merrill, Wisconsin

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.