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CHoWLine - Back Issues





December 2002

December Meeting Program: "Krispy Kreme and Other Food-Based Collections At The Smithsonian Institution" by David Shayte

David Shayte is a museum specialist in the Division of Cultural History at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Since 1978 he has focused on the history of American popular culture and technology. In recent years, he has been looking deeply at metal lunch boxes and other aspects of our material food culture. Other recent acquisitions at the Museum have included artifacts from KFC, McDonalds, Eskimo Pie, Krispy Kreme, Good Humor, and the Windows on the World Restaurant in the World Trade Center.

Last Renewal Notice

Our membership year runs from October 1 through September 30. The new membership directory will be mailed to members on January 2, 2003.

Report: November 10 Meeting

There were five "whatzits": Sally and John Waltz's contributions were soon identified as a four-holed sugar mould, a doughnut cutter, and a very primitive dough scraper (the shapes gave them away); but not everyone agreed that Bryna Freyer's gadget was a string bean cutter, and no one (except perhaps Sally and John, who farm) and Willis and Carter Van Devanter, who brought the hog tongs, recognized that rather evil-looking instrument for what it was.

Refreshments consisted of sliced Granny Smith apples with Marzaretti's Caramel Sauce for dipping, brought by Sally Epskamp and, to accompany the pear butter brought by our speaker, Kathy Reid, homemade breads were contributed by Bob Magee and Sophie Frederickson.

The program about apples was presented by Kathy and Meg Reid, whose Pennsylvania apple-growing family produces 75 varieties of apples and markets them at various farmers' markets throughout the Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia area. They brought with them 30 varieties (plus about six varieties of pears) to provide a splendid display and generous tastings, and we listened, looked, and tasted enthusiastically. Jack Warner's notes on Kathy's talk appear at the end of this issue.


Gina Jenkins is looking for additions to the culinary history reading list she has posted on the CHoW website, and has asked that CHoW members give her suggestions of recently published books. ( virginiajenkins@earthlink.net).

News Of Our Members

Several members of CHoW presented papers at the Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture/American Culture Association annual meeting in Pittsburgh this year:
Psyche Williams-Forson of McDaniel College presented a paper titled "'We Still Dying To Get Some Soul Food?': Women and Food in George Tilman's Movie Soul Food."

Kathleen Boswell of 'A Matter of Taste' presented an educational wine tasting session, "Monticello Wines: Then and Now, Taste and Learn."

Another who gave a paper was Gina Jenkins, "Reading Four Community Cookbooks From Smith Island, Maryland."

Beth Shucker spoke on "Bonding With Grandchildren: A Culinary Tour of Italy."

Marty Martindale, a member from Largo, FL, has e-mailed that she plans to attend the 24th annual conference of the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture/American Culture Association, to take place February 12-15, 2003 in Albuquerque, NM.

Kay Shaw Nelson's latest book, Cuisines of the Caucasus Mountains: Recipes, Drinks, and Lore from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia, was reviewed in the October 30 issue of the Montgomery Gazette. In addition, her article about Sarah Josepha Hale's important role in making Thanksgiving one of our national holidays appeared in "Thanks for Thanksgiving" in the November issue of Washington Woman. Mrs. Hale, author of The Good Housekeeper (1841), a facsimile of which we gave to the Culinary Collection, also was editor for many years of Godey's Lady's Book, a monthly magazine and the foremost periodical of its time.

Help! Help!

Bryna Freyer has asked for suggestions from CHoW members. She reports that the Smithsonian's Museum of African Art will have exhibitions on Morocco and Ethiopia early in 2003 and they are considering scheduling some educational programs on the food of those two countries in conjunction with the exhibitions. For example, one area in Morocco is known for its 59 methods of cooking chicken, and one of the Ethiopian icons shows a woman holding an injera basket. If you know of anyone who would be comfortable speaking to Museum visitors, or perhaps demonstrating preparation of an appropriate food, please contact Bryna as soon as possible (202 357-4600 x233; bryna@nmafa.si.edu)

The editors of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink still are looking for contributors for a limited number of subjects, with a January deadline. If you are interested in taking on one of the assignments, please contact Beth Ammermann, development editor (AmmermannB@oup-usa.org), or Andrew Smith, editor-in-chief, (ASmith1946@aol.com) at once.

The subjects for which writers are still being sought: applejack/ artichokes/ batidos/ beer barrels/ beer gardens/ beer halls/ bottling/ bread machines/ breakfast drinks/ bridge luncheon food/ bully beef/ clarifying/ coconut juice/ company cafeterias/ drive-ins/ eating disorders/ farm labor and unions/ flavorings/ freezers/ freezing/ fruit juices/ fruit wines/ fusion cooking/ gas grills/ grocery stores/ honey/ humor,food/ irradiation/ juice bars/ liquor cabinets/ low-calorie syrup/ mugs/ New Orleans syrup/ New Year's celebrations/ nuts/ packaging/ peas/ phosphates/ pinole/ plastic bags/ poultry/ Presidents' Day/ sandwich trucks/ stills/ stoves and ovens: gas and electric/ vegetables/ vending machines/ Virgin Mary/ water.

Food In Museums

"From Dairy to Doorstep: Milk Delivery in New England, 1860-1960," an exhibition at the Wethersfield Museum, Keeney Memorial, 200 Main Street, in Wethersfield, CT, looks at the 100-year period during which people moved away from farms and dairying changed from women's work at home into a mechanized industry. September 14 through January 6, 2003. Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm; Sunday, 1-4 pm. Admission $3.

"New York Eats Out" will be on view from November 8 through March 1, 2003, in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room at the New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Admission is free. From the high style of Delmonico's, Le Pavillon, and The Four Seasons to popular fare available at diners, delis, automats, street carts, and beer halls, this exhibition provides a unique look at the history of eating out in New York.
Curated by The New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes, it includes 255 menus, photographs, prints, magazine covers and other items drawn from the 25,000 vintage menus in the library's Buttolph Menu Collection, from other library collections, and from the private holdings of restauranteurs, chefs, and others. Open Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 am - 7:30 pm; Thursday through Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm. For information: 212 869-8089; www.nypl.org.


Barbara Haber, whom many of us heard speak last May about her book, From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon History of American Cooks and Meals, will retire in January 2003 as curator of books at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. There she has been the keeper of more than 16,000 cookbooks and tomes on food history.

Will Weaver reported in September that Drexel University in Philadelphia will be establishing a degree-granting program in food history, to be announced in January 2003. Anyone interested in learning more about it immediately may e-mail Will
( W3Food@aol.com). More complete information will appear in the January issue of CHoWLine.

The Book Forager

Apologies to anyone who tried to go to the Goodwill used book sale at the Convention Center in mid-November. Although the dates were announced a year ago, Goodwill changed its plans in the meantime and now sells its used books only through its established stores. With the end of the Vassar Alumni used book sale a few years ago, that leaves the Stone Ridge used book sale in April the only really big used book sale in the Washington area. Sigh.

On The Bookshelf

Katherine Livingston calls our attention to The Best of Southern Food Writing, edited by John Egerton and published by the University of North Carolina Press for the Southern Foodways Alliance (2002, 262 pp.). This book is the first of what is planned as an annual series. The pieces are reprinted from various sources. A lot of them are short "nostalgia" pieces but there are some longer ones from the Southern Foodways Symposium. The most scholarly is Karen Hess's on okra.

Marcie Cohen Ferris's article on her grandmother's cooking is also included, as well as writing by other authors on: iced tea, watermelon, green beans, barbecue, and livermush. Katherine commented that the latter was something she encountered for the first time on a trip to North Carolina last summer. "It's like scrapple."

On The Reading Table

Meeting notices, Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, December 2002.
Meeting notice, Culinary Historians of Southern California, November 2002.

Event notice, "Cooking and Human Evolution," Radcliffe Culinary Friends, December 8, 2002.

Newsletter, Culinary Historians of Ontario, Autumn 2002, No. 34.
Newsletter, Culinary Historians of Boston, Vol. XXII, No. 2, November 2002.

Apples by Kathy Reid

Kathy began by commenting that she liked to visit farmers' markets and see such heirloom items as tomatoes with names like Arkansas Traveler, Tigerella, Sweet Chelsea, and Green Zebra. She urged her audience to visit and buy at local markets to keep those varieties available.

Kathy related that her romance with orchards began years ago during apple harvest season when she visited David Reid's orchard near Ortana, Pennsylvania, midway between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, and was thrilled by the challenge of growing new varieties of fruit. David wanted to develop the orchard to produce different varieties than just those limited to the mass market. They courted under an apple tree, a Jonathan, and married. Over the years they took out most of the existing trees and replaced them with the 75 varieties they now grow.

The type of soil is important because it affects the flavor of the fruit, and their orchards are on the same type of soil as occurs in France where some of the finest wine grapes are produced. An apple's flavor is also affected by the time elapsed between when it is picked and when consumed, by its character, and by its storage conditions. After it is picked, its starch begins to convert to sugar. To tell the age of an apple, cut it across its equator and look at the vascular bundle that will spread towards its skin as it ages. An older apple will soften more quickly when cooked.

Kathy commented that some varieties of pears can be traced back to BCE times. About 36 varieties are now grown in the U.S. Pears should be picked when mature but not yet ripe. Picked apples give off ethylene gas and when pears or tomatoes [or bananas] are put in with apples, they will ripen rapidly. To prevent vegetables such as potatoes, lettuce, or cucumbers from spoiling, do not store near apples.

There are three classifications for apples: dessert, culinary, or cider. Dessert apples are higher in sugar and do not cook well; they tend to soften and get mushy. They should be eaten raw. Cider apples have more tannins in the peel and are pressed for juice. Culinary apples are harder, and more tart. Apples with higher acid hold their shape better when cooked. Cooking liberates the acid in an apple so it will break down faster. To test the suitability of an apple for pie, put some slices in a sealed foil packet in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. If the apple remains firm it will be good for pie. Some apple varieties, for example, Golden Delicious, change over time so they can be used in pies when freshly picked and later, after storage, can be eaten raw.

The apple varieties on display were rated by Kathy for eating or baking characteristics. Some of her comments:

For anyone who has further questions, Kathy Reid can be contacted at Kathyreid@hotmail.com