Category: Food, snacks and beverages

Nesbitt’s orange drink


Image: 1939 27″ x 11″ metal sign.

“[Los Angeles based] Nesbitt Fruit Products Company was founded in 1924 by Hugh S. Nesbitt. The company produced syrups to be used in soda fountains. The company produced a full line of fountain products through the years…

“In 1927 the company began producing Nesbitt’s Orange for distribution to soda fountains where it was mixed with 5 parts water. When they started bottling it in 1938-39 it was distinguished by the fact that it was made from 10% California orange juice.”

Excerpts from . Click on the link to learn much more about the company and its products.


Currie’s ice cream


Interior view of Currie’s Ice Cream Parlor in Wilmington. Three employees stand behind the counter, waiting to serve customers. The shop offers several flavors of ice cream, sundaes, malts, and has ‘fountain specials’.  Image: Los Angeles Public Library.

“In Southern California, people still [2012] fondly remember the Currie’s chain and its “mile-high cone” whose replica was often displayed billboard-style on roofs.”

Excerpt and info on other ice cream parlors:


Brown Derby restaurants


1939 image of Cary Grant and Phyllis Brooks at the Hollywood Brown Derby. From .

There was more than just one Brown Derby in the Hollywood-Los Angeles area.

“In 1939, Bob Cobb [co-owner of the Brown Derby restaurants] commented, ‘Clark Gable has to have his coffee just right and Alice Faye’s boiled eggs can’t be left on too long. Gary Cooper’s fried chicken must be dry rather than greasy. And that’s the way they get ’em. They get ’em that way even though we have to tear the kitchen apart.
“‘Stars are particular about their food because they know what good food is. Stars are used to having things the way they want them and that;s how we plan to have them. But if we didn’t the stars wouldn’t fuss. Most of them are the nicest folks on earth from a restaurant man’s point of view. No, they’d simply leave the food, exit smiling and not come back. Who’d blame them? Not me!'”
Excerpts from

Brown Derby’s Chef Salad recipe, a scaled down version of the restaurant’s famous Cobb Salad. (Published in 1939): .

See more 1939 Brown Derby photos and information at .

Read about Phyllis Brooks at .


National Doughnut Day


Started in 1938 by the Salvation Army in Chicago, the first Friday in June 1939 became the first of the recurring day of recognition for their aid during World War I. Salvation Aid workers served doughnuts, fried in helmets, as part of their mission to soldiers. Learn more at .

Find out about the history of doughnuts at .

Circa 1939 image of Van De Kamp’s Bakery at 12169 Ventura Boulevard. Photo by Herman J. Schultheis. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library via . Click on the link to learn more about the famous bakery chain in southern California that offered doughnuts among many other items.


Food stamps


The first food stamp program (FSP) originated in 1939, through an idea of Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and Milo Perkins, the program’s first Administrator (USDA, 2013).  The initial implementation of orange food stamps was a way to help individuals buy food at half of the cost.  The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 worth of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents worth of blue stamps were received (USDA, 2013). The orange stamps were used to buy any type of food; blue stamps were used to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus. Participants bought their food stamps; the Federal government did not fund the FSP (USDA, 2013).  For 4 years during the Depression, the first Food Stamp Program fed 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the total counties in the nation.

Excerpt and images from .