Mutton Tallow as a Lard Substitute: Lean Times During the Depression Era

Colorado man recalls his mother cooking with mutton tallow when his family couldn't afford lard during the depression era

| Good Old Days

We sold cream to buy our groceries during the depression era, and it seemed that all the store carried was oatmeal. I have just gotten to where I can stand the sight of it in the last few years. I'm not overly fond of mutton, either, after eating potatoes fried in mutton tallow for weeks on end, until we could afford lard again.

It was customary for the grocer to include a sack of candy with each bill of groceries purchased. Since there were six children in our family, we all made sure that we got our fair share. I was the only boy at home, and on occasion, my sisters would tease me unmercifully. However, I had ways to get revenge! When the candy was divided, I would make a pretense of eating all of mine, but would manage to save at least half of it. When the teasing became too much, I would slip off, go to where I had hidden the candy, get a piece of it, and then, about ten minutes later, stand in front of the girls and s-l-o-w-I-y eat the candy. In this case, revenge was truly sweet!

Rollie L. Campbell
Ignacio, Colorado

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. 


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