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Peter Montgomery wrote:
>
> In "Preludes" Eliot mentioned smells of steaks in passage ways.
> One of my students wanted to know how people living in such
> meagre circumstances could afford steak. I didn't have an answer
> for her that I could really believe in.


The "Anacortes American," a newspaper published in Anacortes,
Washington has a "looking back at the century" feature and in the page
for the decade 1910-1919 publishes prices for various items
advertised.  A pound of steak is cheaper than a movie.
    http://skagitpublishing.com/ourcentury/1910-1919.html

Some items listed are:

  1914

    An eight-reel movie show is 10 cents for children and 20 cents for
    adults. James O'Neal stars in Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo"
    at the Empire Theater. Charles Chaplin a favorite.

    Steak is 18 cents a pound and prime rib roast 16 cents a pound.
    Two big cans of pineapple are 35 cents.

    Ladies coats are $12.50

  1917

    Hamburger steak is 2 pounds for 25 cents at the Anacortes Market.

    Roundtrip to Skagway is $66.

    City workers earn $2.50 a day for street workers.

  1918

    Sauerkraut is 15 cents for a large can.

    Anacortes to Seattle roundtrip on a steamer costs $2.50