Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Inflation 1973-2023 in my recipe box

Today I was looking through my recipe box (sort of a historical archive now since I rarely bake) for something cobbler like/lite and found a recipe for cheesecake that serves 12 by my cousin Judy who lives in Winnebago, IL and grew up in Byron. It was dated August, 1973, so I have no idea why we were exchanging recipes. Our big family reunion was 20 years later and for that she contributed some from her mother, Aunt Gladys (d. 1976). Anyway, I'm not going to make a cheesecake, but on the back of the card I noted the prices. Things have changed a bit in 50 years. Pie filling (for topping) .59; Dream Whip .26; graham crackers .23; cream cheese .55. It seems I didn't count the sugar, eggs, and butter because I probably had that on hand (called homemaker math). It's in my handwriting, so I probably copied it to fit in this tiny box for 3 x 5 cards.

Some on FB are old enough to remember the nightmare of stagflation of the 1970s--high inflation, high unemployment, and low growth. In 1973 the average rate of inflation for food prices was over 13%. In August 1973 when I noted the prices, the food inflation rate was 18.2%! That may be why I noted the costs on the card. Compare that to 2023 food prices which was 5.8% for the year. The killer rate we all remember (and blame Biden for) was about 10% for 2022. I blame this primarily on the lockdown which really messed up all levels of the economy as well as health.

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