Nearly everyone likes lunch! 

Just about every day, especially in the fall and spring semester, MSSU students and employees crowd into the Lion’s Den or the Mayes Cafeteria.  Many also opt for “fast food.” As far back as Roman times, and probably well before, bread and wine were sold on the street. Even in the Middle Ages, such cities as London and Paris had street stalls where hungry shoppers or travlers could purchase pies, pastries and meats.

In 1937, when Missouri Southern was established as Joplin Junior College, fast food as we know it today was in its infancy.  White Castle, one of the first hamburger chains, formed in Wichita, Kan. in 1916.  That same year, the first A & W rootbeer stands debuted.  In the 1920s in Joplin, tamales were a popular quick lunch. 

But the 1930s were lean times, due to the Great Depression. Few people had income to “drop” on meals out and many brought their lunches to school or work.

Brands advertised in McCalls magazine in 1937 included the following:
Chicken of the Sea Tuna, Campbell’s Soup (can, 21 kinds), Tender Leaf Tea (box, loose leaves, black), Corning Coffee Maker (new, Pyrex, all glass), Wrigley’s Doublemint Chewing Gum (sticks, “Housewives! Enjoy Double Mint Gum daily while you work…It will help keep your face looking as carefree and winning as a child’s”), Phillips Soups , Swift’s Premium Ham (& bacon, “Ovensized”),Heinz Ketchup (bottle), Gerber’s Baby Food (can), NBC [Nabisco] Shredded Wheat (box), Armour Star Sausage Meats (recipe for Eggs Jellied in Bouillon), Heinz 57 Strained Foods (cans, for baby), French’s Mustard (jar, promoted by ‘Hot Dan the Mustard Man’), Pompeian Pure Imported Olive Oil, Underwood Deviled Ham (can, jar), Anglo Corned Beef (recipe for Corned Beef & Cabbage), Silex Genuine Glass Coffee Maker, Florida Grapefruit (no brand), Cut-Rite Wax Paper (roll), Coca Cola (bottles “Frosty Bottles From Your Own Refrigerator”).

Foods introduced in the last three years of the 1930s included such well known items as:

Pepperidge Farm Bread
Kix cereal (General Mills)
Spam (Hormel)
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
Ragu Spaghetti Sauce
Sky Bar (New England Confectionery Co.)
Rolo (candy)
Smarties (Rowntree candy)

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Mott’s Apple Juice
Nescafe (instant coffee)

Lay’s Potato Chips
Cream of Wheat (5 minute)
Dairy Queen (ice cream stores)

Wherever you eat today, enjoy your meal. In your own way, you are making history!
—SOURCES: The Food Chronology, James Trager [Owl Books:New York] 1995 & The Century in Food, Beverly Bundy [Collector’s Press:Portland OR] 2002