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.