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Archive for 'What’s Cooking Wednesdays'

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Top Ten Food Records of 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, so does our exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which will end on January 3, 2012.

It’s been a great year for food here at the National Archives. We’ve had amazing guests come and speak, including Chef José Andrés, our neighbor and Chief Culinary Adviser for the exhibit; Chef Roland Mesnier, former White House pastry chef; Diana Kennedy, guru of Mexican food; Ann Harvey Yonkers, co-director of FRESHFARM markets; Jessica B. Harris, author of High on the Hog; and George Motz, author of Hamburger America.

And of course, we’ve been writing about food-related records in the National Archives almost every Wednesday since the exhibit opened. We thought it would be fun to look back at the Top Ten Food Records in honor of this exhibit. Since we couldn’t include all of the records, we chose the ones that were most striking, strange, or popular.

Here’s our Top Ten list of memorable food records!

TEN: My coworker was constantly amused by this label for “Grains of Health,” which is profuse in its praise but vague in its description of these grains might actually be. Her favorite line: “It is so prepared that the strongest and the most delicate person may drink it at the same table.”

Grains of Health Label (ARC 5714039), Records of the Patent and Trademark Office

 

NINE: “Pig Cafeteria” is a … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Holiday Sugar Spike

This World War II poster offers no advice on keeping cookies fresh for Santa! ARC 514370

Have you visited our exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” Don’t wait! The exhibit closes on January 3, 2012.

Are you in a sugar coma yet? If not, there’s still time to make some sweet desserts straight from the records of the National Archives.

These favorite cookie recipes (below) come from the 1966 Forest Service Fire Lookout Cookbook, part of the holdings of the National Archives at Seattle. They look pretty delicious—let us know if you try any of them! Lucky for you, we are not sharing  the Forest Service’s recipe for peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches topped with grated carrot.

These aren’t the only holiday-ready recipes in the National Archives. Americans love their sweets and we’ve got lots of dessert recipes. Even during hard times, when sugar was rationed to six tablespoons per day, Americans found ways to cook something sweet. In 1918, the U.S. Food Administration recommended using “molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, glucose, maple sugar, corn sugar, honey, raisins, dates or figs.” A recipe for “War Time Strawberry Shortcake” uses three cups of strawberries but only three tablespoons of sugar.

In the records of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a recipe for “Fruit Cake,” published in Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes, a popular book for housewives who listened to the radio … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Flour Sack Art

A flour sack from the collection of the Hoover Presidential Library

One of the themes throughout our “What’s Cooking Wednesday” posts has been war and food rationing. American citizens were asked to grow their own food, ration sugar, and eat less meat so that there would be more supplies for soldiers fighting overseas and for people with little food left in their war-torn country.

As a result, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library has one of the largest collections of flour sacks in the world.

But these are no ordinary flour sacks. These cotton bags have been stenciled, embroidered, painted, and remade. They were  turned into pillows, clothing, and accessories to be sold in England and the United States to raise funds for food relief and to help prisoners of war. They have been decorated with red, yellow, and black for Belgium as well as red, white, and blue for the United States. Lions, eagles, symbols of peace, and Belgian lace decorate the humble cotton from American mills.

Why did hungry Belgium citizens decorate empty flour sacks?

During World War I, Herbert Hoover was chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB). Through donated money and voluntary contributions of food, this commission fed over 11,000 Belgiums. Between 1914 and 1919, about 697,116,000 pounds of flour was shipped to Belgium.

A soldier buying a souvenir flour sack in a

[ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Truman and the no-turkey Thursday

President Truman receives a turkey from Sen. Olin Johnston of South Carolina in the Oval Office, 11/25/1946 (ARC 199535)

What do you if you love Thanksgiving but it falls on a day when you can’t eat turkey? In 1947, President Truman faced an awkward dilemma.

Truman took up the office of President during World War II, but even after the war ended, the plight of the Europeans was on his mind. Americans were still urged to conserve food so that more could be sent to the hungry and needy in a war-devastated Europe.

Part of this effort involved not eating poultry on Thursdays. Of course, this presented a problem for President Truman on the fourth Thursday of November in 1947.

Certainly, Truman could have tried a drastic move and declared Thanksgiving to be held that Friday instead. However, Thanksgiving had barely recovered from a firestorm of controversy that started in 1939.

Before that fateful Thursday in 1939, the American people had followed the 1863 proclamation of Abraham Lincoln and faithfully celebrated a day of Thanksgiving on the last week of November. But in 1939, President Roosevelt had attempted to move the date up by a week to the fourth Thursday. It was a disaster, with 32 states accepting the date change and 16 states refusing. For two years, there were two Thanksgivings on two different Thursdays.

Having the entire country disagree over … [ Read all ]

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

A poster giving information on what 100 calories looks like, from the Records of the Office of Education (ARC 5838434).

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 … [ Read all ]