What Food a Dollar Could Buy the Year You Were Born
What Food a Dollar Could Buy the Year You Were Born
In 1937, you could buy a whole roast chicken at a New York restaurant called Yee Hop for a buck. Today, you can't even buy the herbs to make your own roast chicken for that much.
1938: Steamed clams
In 1938, a dollar could buy you one of the most expensive items on the menu at Paul's Ship Ahoy restaurant in Los Angeles: steamed clams with drawn butter.
1939: 4 pounds of butter
In 1939, you could buy 4 pounds of butter at the grocery store for just one buck.
1940: 4 cans of coffee
In 1940, four 1-pound cans of Ehlers coffee could be bought at the grocery store for just $1.
1941: 3 pounds of top sirloin
If you were hosting a dinner party in 1941, you could pick up 3 pounds of top sirloin at the butcher shop for a buck.
1942: 4 jars of mayonnaise
You could stock up on four 1-pint jars of mayonnaise for just a dollar in 1942.
1943: Braised stuffed cabbage
If you happened to find yourself at New York City's popular Hotel New Yorker with a dollar in your pocket in December of 1943, you could enjoy a dinner of braised stuffed cabbage with rice and paprika sauce, bread and coffee or tea.
1944: 2 broiled pork chops
You could drop into New York's nautical-themed Mike's Ship-A-Hoy restaurant and order two broiled pork chops for a dollar in 1945. If you had another dollar in your pocket, you could get an order of Beluga caviar, which used to be much cheaper than it is now.
1945: 5 jars of grape jelly
If you needed to make a whole bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in 1945, you could buy five jars of grape jelly for a buck.
1946: 12 cans of Campbell's tomato soup
You could buy a whopping 12 cans of Campbell's tomato soup for a buck in 1946. If you weren't looking to stockpile, you could get a reasonable amount of soup (three cans) for a quarter.
1947: 4 bottles of Heinz ketchup
In 1947, the average price for a 14-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup was 24 cents.
1948: Broiled oysters on toast
Back in 1948, you could visit Pittsburgh's legendary (but long-gone) restaurant Klein's and order a dish of oh-so-retro broiled oysters on toast for a dollar. Something called Jim's Special Stew was also on offer for a buck, but we're a bit wary.
1949: 4 packages of Velveeta
Smooth, creamy, cheesy Velveeta (which was once advertised as a health food) cost 25 cents for an 8-ounce package in 1949.
1950: 8 pounds of grapes
Grapes were about 12 cents a pound in 1950, so you could get 8 pounds of grapes for a dollar.
1951: Greek salad for 3 or 4
If you visited Boston's Athens-Olympia Cafe in 1951, you could start your meal with a Greek salad for the table for a dollar.
1952: Knackwurst with sauerkraut and whipped potatoes
If you decided to vacation in Miami Beach in 1952 and visit the Sherry Normandie restaurant, you could order a garlicky knackwurst sausage for $1.10. Diners who spent a little more got the all-you-can-eat rock lobster for two bucks.
1953: 2 pounds of American cheese
Two pounds of grocery store-bought American cheese would have cost you a dollar in 1953.
1954: A club sandwich
In 1954, a classic club sandwich would have only set you back a buck at the River View Inn in Delawanna, New Jersey.
1955: 4 jars of pickles
For just one buck, you could purchase four 32-ounce jars of pickles at your local grocery store in 1955.
1956: 2 pounds of Keebler cookies
In 1956, Keebler's coconut cookies were selling for 49 cents per pound.
1957: 4 boxes of Nestle cocoa
8-ounce boxes of Nestle cocoa sold for just 25 cents in 1957.
1958: 24 lemons
You could buy six lemons for 25 cents in 1958.
1959: A hot corned beef or pastrami sandwich
If you visited Castle Restaurant in North Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1959, you could have enjoyed a hot corned beef or pastrami sandwich for a dollar.
1960: 2 packages of Cap'n John's Flounder Fillet
If you felt like heating up some frozen fish for dinner in 1969, you could get two 10-ounce packages of Cap'n John's Flounder Fillet for just a buck.
1961: 2 pounds of bacon
You could buy 2 pounds of bacon for a dollar in 1961. That's a lot of BLTs!
1962: 4 large bunches of broccoli
If you were looking to stock up on broccoli in 1962, you could buy a large bunch for a quarter.
1963: 3 cans of Planters peanuts
In 1963, you could buy three 7-ounce cans of Planters peanuts for a buck.
1964: 3 cans of Chicken of the Sea tuna
You could buy three 6.5-ounce cans of Chicken of the Sea tuna in 1964 for a dollar.
Chicken of the Sea/itemmaster
1965: A ham sandwich
If you stopped into Chicago's Conrad Hilton for lunch in 1965, you could fill up on a ham sandwich for $1.05.
1966: Shrimp or oyster cocktail
By 1965, it became tricky to find an entree for less than a buck at a sit-down restaurant, but at Savannah's Pirates' House (which still exists, and is one of America's oldest restaurants), you could start your meal with a shrimp or oyster cocktail for $1.10.
1967: Celery stuffed with Roquefort
Haussner's, one of Baltimore's most legendary restaurants, was in business from 1926 to 1999. If you paid it a visit in 1967 with just a dollar in your pocket, however, Roquefort cheese-stuffed celery would have been one of the only things on the menu you could have afforded.
1968: 3 bags of frozen french fries
In 1968, you could buy three 2-pound bags of frozen french fries for a dollar.
1969: Shrimp remoulade
If you visited New Orleans' famed Court of Two Sisters in 1969, you could have sampled the classic Creole dish shrimp remoulade for a dollar.
1970: A BLT
At the historic Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts, you could have bought a toasted bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for $1.10 in 1970.
1971: Wendy's double hamburger
Wendy's introduced the drive-thru window in 1971, and it was the first chain to do so successfully, catapulting the brand to national stardom. If you were one of the first to "drive-thru" it, you could have picked up a double-patty burger for 95 cents.
Photo courtesy Wendy's
1972: 2 pounds of margarine
In 1972, you could buy a pound of Fleischmann's margarine for 49 cents.
1973: Chicken salad sandwich
If you'd stopped in for lunch at Chicago's Blackstone Hotel in 1973, you could have purchased a chicken salad sandwich for a dollar.
1974: Hot cakes with butter and maple syrup
After spending the night at the Lake McDonald Lodge in Montana's Glacier National Park in 1974, you could treat yourself to a plate of hot cakes with butter and maple syrup for breakfast for a dollar.
1975: 1 pound of Chock full o'Nuts coffee
A one-pound can of the "Heavenly Coffee" would have cost you a buck in 1975.
1976: 5 cucumbers
In 1976, you could buy five cucumbers for a dollar.
1977: 2 packages of spaghetti
In 1977, two 1-pound boxes of Mueller's spaghetti would have cost $1.
1978: 5 pounds of onions
You could buy 5 pounds of onions for a dollar in 1978.
1979: 1 jar of Skippy peanut butter
An 18-ounce jar of Skippy peanut butter would have set you back just 99 cents in 1979.
1980: 3 containers of La Yogurt
You could buy three 6-ounce containers of trendy La Yogurt for a dollar in 1980.
1981: A tossed garden greens salad
The Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia, offered a tossed garden greens salad for $1 in 1981.
1982: A package of Keebler crackers
A 1-pound package of Keebler crackers would have cost you a buck in 1982.
1983: 1 gallon of orange juice
A gallon of from-concentrate orange juice from the now-defunct brand Sealtest cost a dollar in 1983.
1984: 1 dozen eggs
The price of a dozen eggs hit $1 for the first time in 1984.
1985: 1 bag of potatoes
In 1985, you could grab a 5-pound bag of potatoes for 99 cents.
1986: A can of tuna
In 1986, a can of StarKist white tuna would have set you back a dollar.
1987: An egg roll
By 1987, the most you could expect to get from a non-fast food restaurant for a buck was an egg roll, like the one offered at China Regency in New York City.
1988: 3 cans of Van Camp's pork and beans
In 1988, three 1-pound cans of Van Camp's pork and beans could be bought at the supermarket for a dollar.
1989: A box of Kellogg's corn flakes
In 1989, a 12-ounce box of Kellogg's corn flakes cost 99 cents.
1990: 2 containers of Yoplait
Two 6-ounce containers of Yoplait yogurt would have cost a dollar in 1990.
1991: A bag of sugar
A 5-pound bag of Domino sugar would have cost a dollar in 1991.
1992: 1 pound of Red Delicious apples
A pound of Red Delicious apples cost 99 cents in 1992.
1993: A bottle of Coca-Cola
In 1993, you could have bought a 2-liter bottle of Coke for a dollar.
1994: 1 pound of hot dogs
In 1994, you could buy a pound of Armour hot dogs for 99 cents at the grocery store.
1995: 1 pound of Farmland bacon
It took 25 years for the price of bacon to double; you could buy a pound of Farmland bacon for 99 cents in 1995.
1996: 6 cans of soda
In 1996, six 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola were being sold for 99 cents.
1997: A package of fresh mushrooms
A fresh 10-ounce package of mushrooms went for just 99 cents in 1997.
1998: A cantaloupe
A cantaloupe would have set you back 99 cents in 1998.
1999: 10 ears of corn
In 1999, you could buy 10 ears of yellow or white corn at the supermarket for just 99 cents.
2000: A jar of spaghetti sauce
A 16-ounce jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce cost 99 cents in the year 2000. If you think that's cheap, wait until you see how much a six-pack of beer used to cost.
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