“We Had Everything But Money” – Off The Shelf

I always like seeing what people have on their bookshelves or book recommendations. So every now and then I share what I’m reading because I figure most of you are like me!

Reminisce Books

Normally,  I always have at least 4 or 5 books that I’m reading but I thought I’d tell you just about these two today since they are similar.

selling apples during the Depression

We Had Everything But Money is a compilation of real life stories of people who lived through The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl (which also happened during the Depression). I’m sure some would say it romanticizes the Depression Era since all of the stories are upbeat. Most are about people helping each other & how even though it was a time of great hardship it was also a time that some remember fondly. It’s really a very cheerful and uplifting book seeing how it deals with such a tough time in history.

depression era housewife

Here’s a story we all can relate to. It’s called “Creative Mom Turned Drafty House Into Cozy Home”. She went to the creek bank and gathered buckets of clay which she spread over the wallboard in her house. When it dried it was a pale buff color and much nicer looking. Reminds me of Venetian Plaster :) She also worked wallpaper scraps into a pleasing design in one room. They didn’t have a sink so she made one!  I’m sure she’d have a DIY blog if she was around now!

It’s got great photos to go along with the great stories. Here are some other stores that are included:

  • “Hobo Code Directed Hungry Men to Meals  and Caring Strangers”
  • “Depression Years Filled with Courage and Sharing”
  • “Friends Saw Each Other Through Hard Times”
  • “Family Admired Dignity of  ‘Thread Man'”
  • “Depression Era Recipes You Can TryGood Old Days in the Kitchen

Good Old Days in the Kitchen is collection of recipes and short stories from the garden, kitchen, and pantries of a simpler time when life didn’t revolve around TV, iphones or computers.

depression era woman canning

Here’s a recipe from the story “Gathering Greens” in the book:

Dandelion jelly:

Pick 1 quart of fresh dandelion blossoms. (be sure they have not been exposed to pesticides, fertilizers, etc.) Quickly rinse blossoms with cool water to remove any insects. Snip off green collars.

Combine cleaned blossoms in a saucepan with 2 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 min. set aside to cool.

Strain liquid, pressing petals with fingers to extract juice.

Measure 3 cups dandelion liquid into a saucepan; add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 package (1 3/4 ounces) sure jell. Bring to a boil.

Add 5 1/2 cups sugar, stirring well. Boil for 2 1/2 min, stirring well. Put in jars and seal.

The stories in both books are  short so they are a quick read. I find myself reading a story or two every day. Haven’t tried any of the recipes though.

I bought these books on Amazon and if you search the titles you’ll see lots of other books in the series such as:

  • Tough Times,  Strong Women
  • The Old Time Art of Thrift (I’m getting this next)
  • Making Our Own Fun
  • We Survived and Thrived
  • Good Old Days Remembers – Working on the Farm

These are great books  if you enjoy a trip down memory lane or just want to learn more about the “olden days” !




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  1. says

    You’re right about that creative mother! Her own blog titled “Slap it On” or something. I was impressed that her child at six knew that her mother was talented. Most of us don’t know that about our mothers until much later in life.

    Happy reading, Manuela!

  2. says

    Those sound very interesting, especially “We Had Everything But Money.”

    So good to learn from those who have been through difficulties before!


  3. says

    They were very good about not wasting anything back then- fabric from old clothes became quilts. They didn’t buy water in plastic bottles and then throw the bottles away. I just got back from a work trip to Texas and the hotel only had 1 little recycle bin. I was amazed that it isn’t a priority. One school I visited said they were thinking of recycling. We are such a throw away society, I think it is good to hear stories of how people survived in such hard times.

    I will be looking for these books.


  4. says

    I love the olden days when things didn’t revolve around television, but around life. When people had respect for work and materials, reusing and re purposing as a matter of routine instead of throwing out and buying new without batting an eyelid.
    I am sure I would enjoy both those books.

  5. says

    Hi Manuela,
    The people who lived through that era valued what little they had.
    The books look interesting..especially the one with the recepies
    Have a good week
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

  6. Lisa~A Cottage To Me says

    I enjoy seeing what everyone likes to read too. I learn about alot of authors I have never heard of that way! Thanks for sharing your reads!

  7. Kathy says

    Your headline really caught my eye today as I am also reading ” We had everything but money” again. I pick it up about once a year or so, its a real treasure.

    There is also a series of 3 books based on the diaries of Nella Last who lived in England during the war and after. She tells about how they lived day to day with the shortages, ration coupons, making do. The diaries were kept by thousands of people for the “Mass-Observation” writing project.
    The movie Housewife 49 is based on her diaries.

    The books and movie are well worth checking out.
    Nella Last’s War
    Nella Last’s Peace
    Nella Last in the 1950’s

  8. says

    I look at the picture of the well dressed men selling apples and think a lot of today’s mindsets believe that it just wasn’t that bad, or as you say they ” gloss over” the depression…My grandmother said EVERYbody was in the same boat…and they ALL worked hard to make do and survive. I’m not sure what would happen to ‘America’ today if a REAL depression hit us. yikes. Those books look awesome! Thanks for sharing Manuela!! Hugs to you in GA…

  9. Debbie says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE these, and they are going on my wish list immediately. I love reading about the strong women and men and the way they faced challenges. I think my mom would love these too. She talks about her own mother and the things that she would do to make ends meet.

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