Although pounding tough pieces of beef to make them more tender has a long history in the Southern and Western United States...
...less primitive Americans in tonier regions developed corning and stocks.
Y'KNOW canning food only began to be perfected about 150 years ago. The first city in America wired for electric light was Wabash, Indiana in 1880. The rural South was electrified thanks to The Socialist and Class Traitor FDR. Home refrigeration dates to the 1930s; the icebox, its predecessor, pretty much required that one live near enough to a source of ice (seasonal or altitudinal) for it to be transported to one's location while remaining frozen. Corning, salting, smoking, pickling, fermenting, drying--actions we now take largely for the flavor they impart--were once matters of life and death for some Americans still living today. They did actually know more about preserving food, and increasing its palatability, than is suggested by their pounding it with their crude eating-slash-digging sticks. And this generally involved more than knowing the location of the nearest grain-fed boutique butcher's.
Is it really, really, really too much to ask that a nominally well-educated person have some broad sense of his place on a timeline that doesn't fucking begin with the dawn of Readily Available Premium Cable Channels? It's certainly possible that Ms Severson just wrote a really horrible sentence there--which would be sin enough--but the evidence says it's a transcript from whatever her grain-fed butcher was feeding her, seeing as how it links the actual, official, popularity of cube steak to steel-plated professional meat pounding.
And all of this being at the service of the semi-dredful Comfort Food meme, which is apparently being kept alive just to demonstrate how lazy food culture can become, and remain, and why the rest of the world is wise not to entrust it to English speakers. Not to mention the trendy update to Depression-Era chic. Listen: I'm 55 years old. The last time I got a home-cooked meal, cooked by someone else, on a non-holiday, that involved meat loaf, mashed potatoes that began the day as, well, potatoes, macaroni and cheese that began the day in separate packages, or anything else from that checklist, or began the morning with a bowl of oatmeal that wasn't ready to serve the moment oats met boiling water, was in 1965. Without question there are some people in America fortunate enough to have had real food served to them in their youth despite having been born after the general acceptance of the home microwave, the instant potato flake, and the invention of the term "Fresh Frozen"; but for most the whole business is a manufactured sham memory, the "comfort" they received (directly) from that sort of menu having been largely the radiated warmth leftover from a controlled nuclear reaction, and the "food" being, at best, moot.
The numbers of people who grew up eating actual "comfort food" and are still young enough to be able to calculate a tip must be so tiny that the Comfort Food Industry would today be vying with the Used Betamax Cult if it weren't for the incessant cheerleading of those professional food shills who deserve to be called "Foodies" except the word turns my stomach. But not as much as this professional quaintification of foodstuffs so the easily satisfied can dig into a bowl of something that doesn't look like it was designed by a Japanese florist and still feel superior.