Program: "101 Ways Not To Use Your Fingers: American Silverplate and Food" by Bryna Freyer
Bryna Freyer is the curator with collection management responsibility for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. Bryna began collecting silverplate in 1978, originally attracted by the artistic quality of the patterns, then the number and sheer wackiness of some items, and the history of the companies and American history.
The kitchen currently is being packed and transported to American History where it will be unpacked so that the lengthy process of cataloguing can begin. It is planned that this process will take place in the glassed-in West End Gallery on the Museum's first floor, so that visitors will be able to watch the work being done much as they now can view the conservation work on the Star-Spangled Banner.
There will be opportunities for volunteers to work with the Museum's processing staff in the West End Gallery, and to talk to visitors about the objects. Rayna will tell us more about the plans for using volunteers and will begin to recruit volunteers at our December meeting. What an exciting opportunity this will present for those CHoW members who are able to work on this project!
For other information about the meeting, CHoWLine's editor is grateful for the careful notes taken by Jack Warner, substituting as secretary for Debby Warner. As usual the meeting was preceded by appropriate refreshments. Jack noted the correct names of the three munchies, all with wieners as ingredients: Cobblestone Beans and Franks, Pigs in a Blanket, and SImple Smoky Squares. He also supplied the detains on the several announcements that were made by various members. There were two "whatzits": a lefse stick brought by Shirley Cherkasky that was identified immediately, and a peculiarly-shaped Heisey Glass object that Willis Van Devanter, who brought it, finally had to tell us was a Victorian-era sugar cube container.
In preparation for the program, Sally Epskamp had contacted the Oscar Mayer Co. which generously supplied some wiener whistles and posters, as well as the lyrics to "I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Wiener." Getting into the spirit of the theme, we sang,
"Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener. That is truly what I'd like to be. 'Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, Everyone would be in love with me."Sally confessed that if she had contacted the company earlier, we might have had a visit by the Wienermobile. All of this produced a high level of anticipation about Roger Horowitz's talk, "'I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Wiener': The Transformation of Meat in America," and he did not disappoint us. There were many questions and comments. However, the unusually short turnaround time between our November and December meetings didn't allow for Roger to provide CHoWLine with a text for his talk so that will appear in our January issue.
Warren Belasco is a senior editor for the Oxford Encyclopedia on American Food and Drink being compiled under the direction of Andy Smith, who is still welcoming suggestions for potential entries and seeking individuals to write particular entries. For more information, contact Warren, Francine Berkowitz, or Andy.
Nancy Carter Crump will be one of the speakers at "Food Fashion and Culture," a conference at Colonial Williamsburg in February 2002. See below for further information on the conference.
Virginia Jenkins attended the fifth annual Conference of the Americas, held this year in Mexico, which featured eight panels on foods of the Americas. She will chair next year's conference sessions on foodways and has issued an early invitation to anyone interested in presenting a paper. For further information: email@example.com; 315 Oakley St., Cambridge, MD 21613.
Joe Carlin's article, "Fifty Years of Food and Culinary Change: A Reminiscence," was published in Nutrition Today (Vol. 36, No. 3, May/June 2001).
Marty Martindale has been collecting food site locations and self-indexing them for more than four years. She now is maintaining a website that can be accessed at www.FoodSiteoftheDay.com. On this site she posts a new food site each weekday, listing previous postings under "previous sites." There are bits of other food information as well. It is nonprofit and currently she is just trying to be in touch with foodies anywhere. Subscribers who request it will be sent a preview of each day's site on weekday mornings.
February 21-23, 2001: "Food Fashion and Culture: The Evolution of Recipes and Cooking in the 17th and 18th Centuries," a conference sponsored by the Williamsburg Institute of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. One may register for the Thursday evening and all-day Friday conference events, or also for the post-conference all-day or half-day workshops on Saturday. Fees vary accordingly. There are special lodging and dining rates for registrants. Conference size is limited and registrations will be processed in the order received. A copy of the information brochure will be on the Reading Table at the December meeting. For further information: www.history.org.
A Bite Off Mama's Plate: Mothers' and Daughters' Connections Through Food by Miriam Meyers (Bergin & Garvey Trade. Westport, CT, 2001, 208 pg., $24.95). Beginning with a look at food's place in the greater family, A Bite Off Mama's Plate explores the connections mothers and daughters enjoy in the kitchen and beyond. To illuminate those links, the author combines original research, encompassing focus groups, interviews, and a national survey, with personal memoir and a wide range of other sources. She shows, in women's own voices, how food offers, more than just nourishment for the boday, something for the mind, heart, and soul.