America’s Kitchens: Fascinating AND Entertaining

Office of War Information Poster No. 57, “We’ll have lots to eat this winter, won’t we mother?” Alfred Parker (1906–1985), graphic designer. (Washington, D.C.: United States Office of War Information, Division of Public Inquires, 1943). Promised gift to Historic New England from private collection. Used on this site with permission from Historic New England.

Office of War Information Poster No. 57, “We’ll have lots to eat this winter, won’t we mother?” Alfred Parker (1906–1985), graphic designer. (Washington, D.C.: United States Office of War Information, Division of Public Inquires, 1943). Promised gift to Historic New England from private collection. Used on this site with permission from Historic New England.

Reviewers generally don’t gush, but I can’t help myself! The America’s Kitchens publication and exhibition both nimbly cover a broad topic without bogging down, and they touch on important issues (think slave cooking, Irish servants, and women’s roles) along the way—without hitting you over the head with it. Both are filled with great quotes and visuals that readers of this blog will eat up (no pun intended, of course). In the exhibition, I especially enjoyed the opportunity to browse through vintage American cookbooks in a reading area set aside for that purpose. There are even recipe cards on hand in case you find something to try at home. Enjoy! — Erica Donnis

Erica Donnis is an independent historian and museum consultant based in Burlington, Vermont. This is the first installment in her week-long look at America’s Kitchens — which now encompasses both a book and a national traveling exhibition.

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Comments

  1. says

    Very cool! I grew up with an orchard in our back yard and my grandmother used to make and preserve various jams and jellies. I see parallels between the sentiment in the poster and the current “slow” food revolution/local & organic gardening movement.

  2. says

    This IS going to be fun!

    I haven’t heard the term Gretchen uses (slow food revolution), but I have seen a lot on my blog/web travels about modern-day Victory Gardens.

    My mom used to can fruits, too. I especially remember the plum jam she would cook up on the stove using the Greengage plums that grew on a tree in our backyard. Mmmmmmm.

  3. gavin hastings says

    About 20 years ago I canned 65 jars of various vegtables and fruits from a local farm.

    It was a great idea at 7:30 in the morning….somewhere around noon in the 110 degree pre-war kitchen; it turned to Canning-Hell.

    Note: Don’t operate 3 pressure cookers at the same time! You will never figure out which one is about to blow….

  4. sumac sue says

    Last summer, I canned a lot of tomatoes. I wasn’t working at an outside job, so, I had the time to do it. This summer, I have a part-time job, and it seems like the tomatoes are ready to can on the days I have to work. I started feeling mad at myself for not being able to get the canning done. My husband said don’t worry — let’s just eat the tomatoes and enjoy them. Food is meant to feed us, not torture us! So we’ve been eating the tomatoes as they ripen, giving them away, and enjoying them NOW. Thanks to people who farm for a living, there will be something for us to eat this winter.

  5. nina462 says

    I learned to can as child–that’s what we did. Haven’t done it for years, but last year, my mom/sis and I started canning and making jams again. We had to teach my nieces the joy of making jam….you must also make a fresh loaf of bread for which to eat the ‘scum’ of the jam that comes off the top.
    This year we grew our own blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. We canned 35 jars of jam…how much money we saved by doing it all ourselves!!
    Even last years strawberry jam that didn’t ‘jell’ is great as a syrup on oatmeal, or over ice cream.
    Yummy!!

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