Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Subscribe to Email Updates

Archive for 'What’s Cooking'

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Giving thanks for the calorie?

Congratulations to Sheila Fisher, whose comment on last week’s post, “A fire place with hickory wood burning and crackling. Nothing makes a house smell more like a home than a wood burning fireplace on a frosty winter morning! MMMMMM” was randomly chosen by Patty Mason, the editor of Eating with Uncle Sam. The Foundation for the National Archives will be sending you a copy!

Wilbur Olin Atwater would make a terrible Thanksgiving guest.

Chances are after you stuffed yourself with turkey, gravy, rolls, and green beans covered in fried onions bits, he would invite you sit in his calorimeter.

Would you decline? Or would you agree to be a (stuffed) guinea pig for science? W. O. Atwater wasn’t one to mince words: “The evils of overeating may not be felt at once, but sooner or later they are sure to appear—perhaps in an excessive amount of fatty tissue, perhaps in general debility, perhaps in actual disease.”

In fact, Wilbur Olin Atwater is the reason that we count calories in the first place.

Atwater was born in 1844, and the results of his research are still being felt over 100 years later. In fast-food restaurants, you can look at a chart listing fat, protein, carbs, and calories for each food—a quantification of food pioneered by Atwater. He was the Special Agent in Charge of Nutrition Investigation in the Office of Experiment Stations, … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Halloween BBQ

If you really want to be scared by food, don’t miss “Food Frights” on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the National Archives Building! David Gregory of NPR will moderate this discussion about how America’s government became involved in food safety and how food safety will look in the future. One of our panelists is Chef José Andrés (our Chief Cuinary Adviser for the exhibit). Here he is talking to the USDA representatives about food safety at our Food Day Open House. Don’t miss it on Thursday night—it’s free!

Today’s post will consider the two of most terrifying documents in the “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” exhibit: the recipes from the Manual for Army Cooks, the 1879 edition.

These recipes are so frightening that you may want to consider making them for a Halloween party. Or, just frighten your guests by telling them the instructions for the second recipe below.

Vegetarians, look away now.

The manual includes instruction on preparing a “Baked Rabbit” that include this little preamble: “The cleft in the lip of a young and fresh rabbit is narrow, the ears so tender they can be easily torn; the claws are smooth and sharp. Old rabbits are the reverse of this.”

Certainly, the process of skinning a rabbit may make an urban dweller like me uncomfortable, but what it is particularly disturbing is the idea that the Army cook was familiar with skinning … [ Read all ]

Food Day Open House

In the ”What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” exhibit, curator Alice Kamps notes that American citizens have demanded that food be safe, cheap, and abundant. From the records in the exhibit, you can see how the Federal Government has responded to these needs over the past decades.

But food isn’t just a historic record. We continue to talk about food in blogs, books, and television, whether we are concerned about obesity, eating locally, factory farms, better school lunches, or contaminated melons.

The National Archives is participating in Food Day and offering a forum for food-related questions and discussion. Join us for a Food Day Open House on Monday, October 24.

Stop by to talk with representatives from several Federal agencies, nonprofits, and companies:
Think Food Group
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Mars Inc.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
American Farmland Trust
FRESHFARM Markets
Foundation for the National Archives

And don’t miss Alice Kamps, the curator of “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”, who will be available to talk with visitors from 11 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

And there’s a rumor that Chef José Andrés of ThinkFoodGroup might stop by, so keep an eye on his twitter feed (@chefjoseandres)! When he’s not researching and reinterpreting historic American recipes for his new restaurant America Eats Tavern, he’s also the Chief Culinary Advisor for “What’s Cooking, Uncle … [ Read all ]

Time for (school) lunch

Schools around the country are back in session, and while course loads may vary greatly, students from kindergarten to high school all have a slot in their schedules for lunchtime.

On Wednesday, September 8, the National Archives in Washington will be showing the documentary film Lunch Line as part of our series of programs related to the exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” Lunch Line looks at the Federal National School Lunch Program, which began in 1946 and today feeds more than 31 million children a day. The film examines the origins of the program, shows how it works today, and brings together leaders from all sides of the school food debate to discuss its challenges and its future.

“What’s Cooking” contains several items related to the National School Lunch Program. One of these is a 1966 letter, handwritten on a school lunch menu, expressing to President Lyndon Johnson the “hope that this program can continue at a reasonable price for all students in our district.” There are also recipes for 100 portions of “ham shortcake” and other cafeteria offerings. The Today’s Document Tumblr blog is even dedicating this week’s posts to the school lunch, and you can find this poster and more there.

When I was in school, my lunches were packed by Mom (in a prized “Flying Nun” metal lunchbox for a couple of … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: A Commander-in-Chef’s Recipe for Vegetable Soup

The only five-star general ever to be elected President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower was a man of many accomplishments. That is why it should come as no surprise that Ike was a leader in the kitchen as well.

Throughout his Presidency, Eisenhower used the kitchen on the third floor of the White House to prepare his own soups and stews. A cookbook in the Eisenhower Presidential Library includes detailed recipes for old-fashioned beef stew, Mexican chili, and vegetable soup.

Since the 34th President was particularly fond of vegetable soup, his personal recipe can be found on the library’s web site.

According to the Eisenhower recipe, a good beef soup bone and a couple of pounds of beef or mutton are essential for flavoring. All of the meat should be placed in a kettle along with five quarts of water. It is important at this point to add a teaspoon of salt, a dash of black pepper, and some chopped garlic or onion. Once these instructions have been followed, the soup should be left to boil until the meat literally falls off of the bone.

Next, the kettle and stock should be placed in a very cool setting all night and until you are ready to make your soup the next day. A hard layer of fat will form on top of the stock, but it … [ Read all ]