Thursday, July 26, 2012

Food Friday: Favorite Recipes of Jaycee Wives

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
This last week I spoke to three societies about researching women. I encouraged researchers to check out membership groups their ancestors may have belonged to. It's important to search women's groups as well as female auxiliaries to men's groups like the Masons,Oddfellows and the Grand Army of the Republic.

Today's recipe comes from The Favorite Recipes of Jaycee Wives: Casseroles Including Bread. Published by the Capital City Jayceettes of Montgomery, Alabama (1969).

According to the  Jaycee website, the Jaycees full organizational name is the United States Junior Chamber. Members are "18 to 40, who bring energy and insight to solving problems locally and around the world." They were founded in 1914.

In an online history of the Annapolis Jaycees, they have a section on "the early role of women" which may provide some light on the organization of at least that  wives' auxiliary. "Women first participated in the "Jayshees," (sic) a wives' auxiliary club...Concerned about the amount of time their husbands were spending with the Jaycees, they decided the only way to see their husbands and help in the community was to form an auxiliary." This particular auxiliary was formed in 1950.

The introduction to this cookbook points out one of the important aspects of any community cookbook. "Each recipe has been cooked again and again in the kitchen of the Jaycee wife whose name appears with it. It is a favorite of her family." Community cookbooks are books that contain recipes for the foods our families actually ate. They provide a look at our ancestor's everyday lives.

This book contains 2,000 recipes for  casseroles (the majority), bread, and some "international" favorites. Recipes were submitted by women throughout the United States, 374 pages of names, but unfortunately there is no index of the names.

I was intrigued by the chapter entitled "meat combinations." At the very least you have to love the name of this recipe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Food.Family.Ephemera on Genealogy Gems

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to Lisa Louise Cooke's home, sitting with her, and talking about my new book From the Family Kitchen. We had a great afternoon and even spent some time using one of her grandmother's kitchen gadgets, the Toas-Tite. (I definitely need to purchase one of those. To learn more about it see the video mentioned below).

You can find that interview with Lisa on the Genealogy Gems podcast page. The interview is part of  Episode 137. If you scroll to the end of that podcast's blog page you will see a special offer for my book, good until the end of this month.

The videos for part of the interview and the cooking segment can be found on YouTube (shown below).

A special Thank You to Lisa for inviting me over and spotlighting my book. Lisa and I love some of the same things including quilts, vintage kitchen items and researching female ancestors. I had such a great time talking to Lisa and looking over her collections.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Food Friday: Evansville Favorite Recipes by the Girl Scouts

Well it would seem that my four cases of Girl Scout Cookies are almost gone (yes, I do enjoy supporting them by buying massive amounts of cookies), so it's only fitting that we spotlight a Girl Scout cookbook today.

Evansville Favorite Recipes Compiled by Evansville Girl Scouts (1939) includes recipes from the girls as well as the moms. On top of that there are advertisements for businesses in Evansville (Minnesota).

I love the cover of this book because it is made out of oil cloth. A great idea that I haven't come across before in other community cookbooks. Oilcloth is the perfect cover for a cookbook because you can easily wipe up spills. Oilcloth is basically a cotton fabric that is treated with oil and other ingredients  to make it waterproof. It has almost a plastic feel to it on one side.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Not only do we get the names attached to each recipe, as is standard for a community cookbook, but we also get a list of names for the girl scouts.

This recipe for Spanish Rice is a good example of how immigrant foods sometimes got lost in the translation as other groups reinterpreted the recipes. The only ingredients that would hint at being "Spanish" are the tomatoes and onion. Not sure how adding ham would make anything Spanish.  But cured pork products can make any recipe  a "good dish."

I love when the cookbooks provide even more information about a community by including advertisements. These are just two of the pages of advertisements. Notice how the Tip-Top Grocery ad includes the name of the female proprietor (Belle Gutten). The Erickson Company is a furniture and funeral service establishment. At one time furniture makers also made the caskets for our ancestors. This is a great example of how the two were combined. It's also a good reminder for us that when you are looking for the funeral home for your ancestor, it  might not be a traditional funeral home.

While there are cookie recipes in this cookbook, sadly they are not official Girl Scout Cookies.