We ate cheap starches a lot. My mother was a single mom working full time, and she had neither time nor money for complicated dishes. Welsh Rarebit was four saltines with a Velveeta-type sauce. We sprinkled a little paprika on it to be fancy. Cream dried beef was big as well, as were pancakes with Vermont Maid syrup. Grilled cheese and Campbell’s Cream of Tomato was often the high point of the week. The invention of little frozen pizzas was one of the highlights of our childhood.
My mother could cook quite well, as she demonstrated when she later remarried and had resources. But when that happened, our favorite meal of the week disappeared: Cracker Supper. The point was to make a saltine or Ritz-based stack with as many layers as possible. PB, Fluff, jelly, quarter-squares of American cheese, Miracle Whip, baloney*. I don't think girl-children would have found this so fascinating. We made these in advance of watching Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color every Sunday night, chomping down from our thin tray tables. Toward the end of the run we got a dog who hovered expectantly, teaching us to have better reflexes. No one in our neighborhood had color TV, but we had rich cousins who did. Very occasionally we would be down there and get to see that magic.
In memory we had more possible ingredients, an unlimited amount, but I can’t think of what those could be. We did not buy ham for sandwiches. We did have tuna, but we went through that quickly. Cracker supper was for spreadable things anyway. Ah, ketchup! Yes, we must have had ketchup as well. Goes great with PB and Fluff. No mustard – we weren’t that adventurous. Maybe there was an occasional leftover that could be shoved on a cracker somehow. It was a relief for my mother that we had a meal we could make ourselves. I think she napped through these. It might have seemed irresponsible parenting to an outsider, but I doubt it was nutritionally inferior to every other night of the week,
*Later we moved up to bologna.