Do You Remember...?

Do you remember...
When you had to color your own margarine?
When all you could buy was stick margarine or those plastic bags you had to color yourself?
When there was a tax on yellow margarine?
In 1931 a law was passed against coloring margarine.  But the margarine industry came up with packages that allowed the housewife to color her margarine at home by adding color packets or color “pills” to the package.  You squeezed the pill to open it and then massaged it throughout your margarine package.  Myrna and I remember doing this as a "kid's chore". 
In 1949-1950 tax on yellow margarine was repealed.   By 1955 every state except Minnesota and Wisconsin had repealed laws against yellow margarine.
Colored margarine was not sold in Minnesota until 1963 and Wisconsin, "the dairy state", until 1967.  We knew folks who drove to Iowa to buy colored margarine!  Shows the power of the dairy industry lobby at the time!
Nowadays, neither of us use margarine...for both taste and health reasons.   Interesting how health advice has changed as well and old ideas are being challenged. 


  1. Sue: I do remember this "Kid Chore", both in Oklahoma and later in Iowa. The powder junk was just plain messy, but when we moved on to the pill in the squishy plastic bags it was fun. Obviously, I was easily amused.

  2. I certainly do remember those days.

  3. No, I don't remember adding color to it but my mom told me about it years ago. Then I have seen pictures about it in my old magazines.

    I never knew about the tax. Interesting!

    Why was it important to color it? Was it just for looks so you didn't think it was Crisco?

  4. Mecky, That was most of the reason. Would you like to spread something that looked like Crisco on your bread?
    Part of it was also that the Government said we couldn't color it. I can remember our Dad being upset about that,

  5. No, I don't think that i would care to have crisco looking stuff on my bread!

    I don't blame your dad for not liking the Government saying that the people couldn't color it.

  6. We grew up in MN. I remember my mother adding a pat of coloring to the margarine in a bowl. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to be able to stir the coloring into the margarine! Of course, not long after I was finally "big enough" to do so, we didn't have to do it very long.

  7. My Grandma used to mold the margarine in the shape of a duck's body. Then she would press a piece of a man's undershirt around it to imprint fathers & then mold a head & attach, Also she made baby ducks to sit around it!

  8. How neat to have your margarine in the shape of a duck. Your Grandma was an artistic cook.


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