A Timely Book for the Current Depression

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Going through an ancient box of my father’s books that had apparently been undisturbed since the 1970s, I came across Good Cheap Food from 1973:

There’s no price on the book, so I’m guessing that California Federal, a savings and loan bank insured by the rock solid FSLIC, was giving it away for free. Note that it is an “anti-inflation cookbook.” I’m not sure how a cookbook becomes “anti-inflation,” but my guess is that this labeling comes from the Keynesian practice of defining inflation as a general increase in prices. Being an Austrian, I prefer the alternative definition that stresses the importance of the money supply, but the marketing behind this book appears to be firmly entrenched within the economic tradition behind the Whip Inflation Now campaign of the Ford years.

In 1973, when this book was published, 28 years of die hard Keynesianism since WWII was taking its toll, and the 1971 destruction of the last remnants of the gold standard under Nixon was not to be ignored, so prices went up. The solution? Grow a backyard garden and call on Americans to cut their standard of living. Inflation was the fault of the people, yet again, and government remained blameless. Fortunately, the people didn’t go for it.

Not that Whip Inflation Now was all bad. It did encourage people to be thrifty, but a sane monetary policy would do the same by encouraging savings and investment instead of rabid consumption through easy money policies.

Thus, we have the “anti-inflation” cookbook that will counter decades of Keynesian economic destruction by helping you make Salmon Mousse at minimal cost.

That being said this is actually a pretty decent cookbook, and I don’t think the author is responsible for its inane labeling. The author is pretty hilarious with her anecdotes, and some recipes (not the Salmon Mousse) are pretty good. It’s really just a cookbook for cheap people like myself, and it was apparently reissued in 1996 with a much different cover.

10:43 pm on March 15, 2010