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CHoWLine - Back Issues





September 2001

Program: "Changing Appetites: The Rise of Meat in 18th Century Paris" by Sydney Watts

Sydney Watts is assistant professor of history at the University of Richmond. Born in Belgium, she has studied in the United States, at Oxford, and in Paris and holds a Grande Diplome from LaVarenne Ecole de Cuisine. Currently she is a PhD candidate at work on a book, Meat Matters: The Butchers of Eighteenth-Century Paris.

Report: May 20 Meeting

New CHoW officers for 2001-2002 were elected and their names and email addresses appear at the end of this newsletter. The "whatzit" that Bob Magee and Brigitte Martin brought to the meeting was determined to be a candied citron, obtained in Europe where it is available in that form instead of the tiny diced bits that we have to search for in our supermarkets during the holiday season.

Warren Belasco, using tape recordings, gave an informal presentation on "All That Meat and No Potatoes: Reflections on Food in Popular Music." His main theme was how food songs are useful reflections of the social and cultural meanings of food (especially intimate relationships). Another key point was that there seems to have been a decline in the number of pop songs dealing with food, and this may indicate that: a) food is more taken for granted nowadays; b) young people have a more problematic relationship with food; and c) song writers don't need to use food to signify sex anymore since lyrics are far more explicit than formerly when censorship was stricter. But food continues to be eroticized in movies and advertising. Warren distributed texts for the popular songs he used to illustrate his talk. Publication dates ranged from 1929 (Kitchen Man by Bessie Smith) to 1990 (Burger Man by ZZ Top). Others were You're My Dish by Fats Waller (1930s), Kidney Stew by Eddie Vinson (1940s), All That Meat And No Potatoes by Fats Waller (1941), Spoonful by Howlin Wolf (1950s), Jambalaya by Prof. Longhair (n.d.), Suck the Head by the Radiators (1987) and Too Many Dirty Dishes by Albert Collins (1989). In keeping with the theme of popular songs about food, refreshments for the meeting were shortnin' bread, shoofly pie, and apple pan dowdy; no double entendres there.

News Of Our Members

Catherine Pressler was featured in a "Style Plus" piece in The Washington Post on June 12, 2001. Titled "Cooking in the Classroom? Elementary!" it describes her methods of demonstrating how cooking relates to, and enhances, the teaching of math, science, history, and other elementary school subjects.

Brigitte Martin

With much sadness we report on the death on August 22 of Brigitte Martin, in Berlin, Germany, where she was visiting relatives. She was buried in her family plot in Giekau, Germany, about 3 km. from the vacation home in Gleschendorf. Brigitte contributed much to CHoW from its earliest days and we are indebted to BL Trahos for this information she has provided on Brigitte's life:

Born in post-World War II Germany, Brigitte and her parents and siblings escaped from East Germany and, after living for several years in a refugee center in Berlin, came to the U.S. She said that her family was luckier than most; her father was an attorney and found employment more quickly. After teaching school in Georgia, Brigitte joined the U.S. Army and, while stationed in Texas, met and married Bob Magee. They have two sons.

As many of you know, Brigitte was a bread baker. She became interested in food history after her husband, Bob, took a class in Open Hearth Cooking at Gunston Hall (Lorton, VA) and discovered that the instructors there were uncertain about exactly what Hannah Glasse meant when she called for a "penny loaf" in a receipt. Those of you who have heard Brigitte discuss 18th century breads and bread-making practices know that she found the answer to this question and much more. Upon retiring from the army, she became a docent at Gunston, where she served a term as chair of the Open Hearth Cooking Program. Always willing to share her knowledge, she volunteered both to teach and to demonstrate 18th century cooking techniques at such diverse sites in Virginia as Sully Plantation (Centreville), Scotchtown (Ashland), Historic Dumfries, and Stratford Hall (in Virginia's Northern Neck). She also volunteered her bread-making expertise and teaching skills to both Fairfax and Prince William counties' 4th grade classes.

Currently under discussion are plans for an appropriate gift from CHoW in Brigitte's memory.

News From Other Organizations

October 26-27, 2001: The fourth annual Southern Foodways Symposium, sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance, will be held at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. It will explore connections between the farm and the table. Registration is limited and fills up quickly. If you have not received a notice about it and are interested, please contact Shirley Cherkasky who is looking for someone to share transportation between the Memphis airport and Oxford.

The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and Gastronomica are co-sponsoring a symposium on food history aimed at food professionals. It will be held in late September at Williams College (Williamstown, MA) and Warren Belasco will be one of the speakers. Elisabeth Castleman plans to attend and we will hope for a report on the meeting from her.

Nov. 15-19: The huge Goodwill Annual Used Book Sale will be at the Washington Convention Center, Hall A. Hours: Nov. 15&16, 9 am - 8 pm; Nov. 17, 18 & 19, 10 am - 6 pm. This is a great source for food books of all kinds. Parking is very limited, so Metro (Gallery Place or Metro Center stations) is advised. But hauling a heavy bag of books away on the Metro can be a problem unless you take a luggage cart.

In Search Of ...

Shirley Cherkasky is working with Randy Schwartz of the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor and Susan Rossi-Wilcox of the Culinary Historians of Boston to compile a directory of food museums in the U.S. and abroad. At this point the list includes more than 100 food and/or beverage museums or collections. If you know of any that you've visited or read about, please email Shirley at shircher@cs.com.

Field Trips, Anyone?

Two potential trips have been proposed for CHoW members to attend individually or to share rides:

Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 am - 4 pm: Oysterfest 2001 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Gina Jenkins invites us to celebrate the great Bay oyster and to learn shucking, tonging and nippering techniques. There will also be children's activities. Dine on raw, steamed, and fried oysters while enjoying the music and boat rides. All activities are included in Museum admission except boat rides and food, for which there is an extra charge. For more information call 410 745-2916; www.cbmm.org.

Sally Waltz has suggested a one-day field trip in January to the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. Farm animals and machinery are exhibited and a wide variety of food is for sale. The show is indoors, free, and will be held during the week of January 7-12.

On The Bookshelf

While traveling in England this summer, Katherine Livingston visited Canons Ashby, a 16th century manor house in Northamptonshire. It features a kitchen dating from Elizabethan times that remained in use at least into the 1940s and contains both a stewing hearth and a Victorian range. Katherine calls our attention to some books she encountered in her travels:

Food and Cooking In Britain, an English Heritage series. Seven booklets (44 to 52 pp.) beginning with Prehistoric British Cooking and continuing with similarly titled accounts of Roman, medieval, and 16th through 19th century cuisine. Covers food, cooking equipment, and etiquette and includes some modernized recipes and illustrations. Available at L2.95 (1 pound = about $1.44) each from English Heritage, Swindon (www.english-heritage.org.uk).

Alexis Soyer. A Culinary Campaign. Southover Press, East Susses, 1995. L22. A reprinting of the 1857 memoirs of a famous chef sho, during the Crimean War, undertook travel to military hospitals and battlefields to improve the British army's provisions.

Peter Bird. The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons & Co. Phillimore, West Sussex, 2000. L25. An account of a company whose teashops and "corner houses" became familiar features of British life.

The Concise Larousse Gastronomique. Hamlyn Octopus, London, 1999 (second edition). The same basic text as the current American edition, with some modernizations, including recipes by "leading contemporary chefs," globalizations such as an entry for tofu, and British intrusions such as toad in the hole. Paperback and lacking illustrations but, with 1436 pages, a good buy at L18.99 (vs. $70).

The last three of these are available from Blackwell's at http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk.

Attention: Potential Book Reviewers! Pickled, Potted and Canned, a history of food preservation by Sue Shepard, is being published by Simon and Schuster in September. They will send us an advance reader's copy if any CHoW member is interested in reviewing it for CHoWLine. Call Shirley for further information. Already in bookstores in England, the book won the Andre Simon Memorial Fund Award, the most prestigious prize in the British food and wine book world.

Andrew Smith's books, Pure Ketchup: A History of America's National Condiment and Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America, have been issued in paperback by the Smithsonian Institution Press. Some of the Press's other food history listings are: Bananas: An American History by CHoW member Virginia Jenkins; Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America by Alison Clarke, both in paperback; and Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power edited by Michael Dietler and Brian Hayden, in hardcover.


The Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor have their website up and running. Check it out at http://network54.com/Hide/Forum/146708.

The IACP Foundation recently published an article for its members titled "Search On, Search On: The Lure of Culinary Research," by Helen Brody which urges IACP members to search library culinary collections, not only for cookbooks but also menus; advertisements in product pamphlets, consumer magazines, and newspapers; mail-order catalogs; and family papers including journals and diaries, grocery marketing lists, and store ledgers. Art works, photographs, and many resources on the Internet also were recommended.

On The Reading Table

Repast, newsletter of the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor, Vol. XVII, No. 2, Spring 2001.

Meeting notices, Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, May through September 2001.

Meeting notice, Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley, August 2001.

The Food Journal, newsletter of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, Fall 2000, Vol. 1, No. 1.

Newsletter of the Culinary Historians of Ontario, Spring 2001, No. 28.

Newsletters, Culinary Historians of Boston, Vol. XXI, No. 5, May 2001; Vol. XXI, no. 6, July 2001.

Flavor & Fortune (2 issues), Winter 2000, Vol. 7, No. 4; Summer 2001, Vol. 8, No. 2.

CHoW 2001-2002 Officers

President - Dianne Hennessy King - tuckking@aol.com
Vice President - Virginia Jenkins - virginiajenkins@earthlink.net
Secretary - Deborah Warner - djwarner@erols.com
Treasurer - Katherine Livingston - kliving@attglobal.net
Director - Francine Berkowitz - fcb@ic.si.edu
Director - Sally Epskamp - epskamp@yahoo.com
Director - Bob Magee - hearthcook@erols.com
CHoWLine editor - Shirley Cherkasky - shircher@cs.com