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Archive for 'What’s Cooking Wednesdays'

Potatriots: Our winner!

"The Reading of the Declaration of Independence" The winning Potatriot entry by Amanda, age 12.

It’s finally time to announce the randonly chosen winner of our Potatriots contest! But first, a big thank you to the visitors who participated in our Potatriots activity–and a big thank-you to our staff and interns who put out those potatos, pipe cleaners, and historic backgrounds every day.

We had lots of fun posting our Potatriots online at the National Archives Flickrstream, and we enjoying recognizing (and guessing) what records and events were being recreated with potatos. From visitors to National Archives staff contributions, we were impressed with your creative endeavors!

But there can be only one winner–congratulations to Amanda R!

The Foundation for the National Archives donated this prize from our Archives Shop.

Amanda, age 12, was inspired to make her Potatriot scene after visiting Colonial Williamsburg and seeing a public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Well, that’s one of our favorite documents here at Pieces of History, and so we were delighted to see its public reading recreated in potato form.

The Foundation for the National Archives will be sending Amanda a special “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” prize chosen from the Archives Shop. We hope she cultivates the heirloom mini-tomatoes in her prize and her love of history!

Would you like a chance to win something from the National … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Canning for Victory!

Records of the U.S. Food Administration, World War I-era poster designed by Burton Magee of Monroe, Iowa, Record Group 4.

Today’s “What’s Cooking Wednesdays” guest post comes from Kimberlee Ried, public programs specialist at the National Archives in Kansas City.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

These words, written by Emma Lazarus, are inscribed on the tablet held by the Statue of Liberty, given as a gift to the United States from France in 1886.  This iconic statue has symbolized patriotism and freedom often associated with the United States. 

 This “Be a Victory Canner” poster, found in the records of the National Archives at Kansas City, was created by a child during World War I. The drawing evokes similar patriotic undertones with the depiction of Lady Liberty as a Victory Canner. 

The poster is found in the Records of the U.S. Food Administration, a short-lived federal agency created in 1917 as a part of the Food and Fuel Control Act.  During World War I this agency was responsible for regulating the supply, distribution, and conservation of products for the Allies.  Such items needed for conservation were fuel, wool, sugar, and wheat. 

This “Be a Victory Canner” poster is one … [ Read all ]

Aunt Jemima, what took you so long?

Evidence from 1915 Court Case: Aunt Jemima Mills Company v. Rigney and Company

Today’s guest post for “What’s Cooking Wednesdays” comes from Acting Director Patrick Connelly with Education Specialist Christopher Zarr of the National Archives at New York City.

Sometimes walking down the stacks of the National Archives can be like walking down the aisles of your local supermarket. Names like Heinz, Anheuser-Busch, Hershey, Sara Lee, and Perrier line the shelves of the National Archives.

The only difference is that these brands aren’t for sale—they are a part of the holdings of district court records of the National Archives. Whether Good Humor and Popsicle are waging a different kind of cold war involving patents or, as in the following case, Aunt Jemima is accusing competitors of trademark infringement, food fights are common in the district courts.

Aunt Jemima has been adorning the tables of America’s breakfast nooks for well over a century. R.T. Davis Milling Company brought this racially charged image to life in 1890 when it hired Nancy Green to be the company’s spokesperson. Success even led the company to change its name to the Aunt Jemima Mills Company. Later purchased by the Quaker Oats Company in 1926, Aunt Jemima’s name and face helped sell milled oats, grains, and ready-mix pancake flour. Surprisingly absent (at least to me) from the product line was pancake syrup. It would take nearly 50 years, at least two lawsuits and even … [ Read all ]

World War I food conservation: “Pan de la libertad”

Recipes for "Pan de la libertad para conservar el trigo." (Records of the U.S. Food Administration, RG 4, National Archives at San Francisco)

Recipes for "Pan de la libertad para conservar el trigo." (Records of the U.S. Food Administration, RG 4, National Archives at San Francisco)

“What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?,” our current special exhibition in Washington, DC, examines the Government’s effect on what Americans eat. Government influence was especially visible during wartime, when many food products were reserved for feeding the troops and our Allies.

During World War I, the U.S. Food Administration, headed by Herbert Hoover, urged the American people to voluntarily conserve food, especially wheat, meat, fats, and sugar. Recognizing that a successful program had to reach out to all Americans, the agency distributed printed materials in several languages, including Italian pamphlets in New York City, Chinese food conservation notices in Hawaii, and Spanish recipes in California.

The featured recipes for “pan de la libertad” (liberty bread), using corn, oat, and barley flour instead of wheat, were found in the files of the California State Food Administration, housed at the National Archives at San Francisco. According to a note at the bottom, recipes were translated into Spanish for counties with significant Spanish-speaking populations.

An all-out publicity campaign was waged to educate the citizenry about the need for food conservation and how … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Dinner Diplomacy Thaws the Cold War

President Nixon with Premier Chou En-lai, courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library (2/25/1972)

Sometimes sharing a good meal is the best way to resolve the differences you may have with another. For the United States and China, this strategy helped normalize relations during the peak of the Cold War.

Today, the U.S. and China share a public relationship, but after Mao Tse-tung’s Chinese Communist Party founded the People’s Republic of China, the two countries severed all diplomatic communication for more than two decades. Relations between the two powers did not reopen until President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to mainland China in 1972.

The first evening of the trip, Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai hosted an elaborate banquet in honor of President Nixon in the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square. The dinner, which was broadcast live around the globe, consisted of both of customary and exotic Chinese dishes.

President Nixon looks out over the vista seen from the Great Wall of China, courtesy of the Nixon Library

In an effort to accommodate the President and his party, chefs prepared familiar items like Chinese sausage, shrimp, roast pork, roast duck with pineapple, and vegetable slices. The menu also included native cuisine like shark’s fin soup, black mushrooms with mustard greens, and spongy bamboo shoots. President Nixon skillfully used chopsticks to sample each dish served … [ Read all ]