Did women in the West buy their foodstuffs in bulk?

Did women in the West buy their foodstuffs in bulk?


Stace Webb
Wenatchee, Washington

Yep, they did, especially if they lived out of town.

If a woman lived in town, she could purchase perishable food in small amounts, as she probably didn’t have an icebox, much less a refrigerator, to keep food fresh for long. She bought beans, flour, sugar and other such staples in larger amounts. She might buy just enough hamburger for supper. She probably had a few chickens in a pen for eggs and fryers. More often than not, she had a vegetable garden.

The woman who lived on a homestead or ranch had to be more resourceful. She likely got her meat by butchering a calf or hog. Like the woman in town, she probably raised chickens for eggs and cooking. She bought staples, such as beans, flour, sugar and coffee, by the sack, as she didn’t get to town often.

Both women probably canned fruits and vegetables. These could stay fairly cool in a cellar or dugout.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.