September 2016 Presentations

Sarah in Ma's Kitchen on Ingalls Homestead
Sarah in Ma’s Kitchen on Ingalls Homestead

September tends to be a busy month. I’m very pleased to point out that I’ll be doing a hands on house at Ushers Ferry Historic Village in Cedar Rapids. I’m going to be doing some woodstove cooking so come on out.

  • Laura Days in Pepin, Wisconsin – Sept. 10 and 11, 2016
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Activity – Ushers Ferry Historic Village – Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her onFacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

Top Ten Posts July 2016

Here are the blog posts that have had the most views last month. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you too. :)

Pioneer in the Kitchen With Laura
Pioneer in the Kitchen With Laura
July 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events
Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference 2017 South Dakota
Oregon Trail Again
One-Room School Lunch Survey
James Wilder’s First Wife
August 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events
Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2016
Trip to DeSmet 2016 Day 3
Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame
Trip to DeSmet 2016 Day 2 Part 1
Selling Old Books

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Smithsonian Food Weekends

Smithsonian Food 2016aAt the wonderful Everybody Eats themed South Dakota State Historical Society conference, the other keynote speaker was Susan Evans McClure of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  She spoke on collecting and preserving historic foodways material and also how they used food in their programming both as a draw and a subject. For example, they recently sponsored a discussion about foodways of the Supreme Court. They even have a focus page on their website to direct you to all of their food related collections and activities.

I’ve been enjoying their blog. So far my two favorite articles are on recreating meals from period cookbooks. This is something frequently done by living historians to learn more about how food was made, processed, and consumed. However, the most recent living history sites I know of focus on the 1930s so to see that applied to both the 1930s and 1940s is a real treat. Smithsonian Food 2016b

One of their most recent initiatives has been to dedicate an entire weekend to food history. This October 27-29, 2016 join the fun at the Smithsonian as they turn their attention to food and food history. The theme this year is “Politics on Your Plate.” The event will “explore the relationship between food, politics, and people. How have we participated, as individuals and communities, in shaping American food and foodways? Whose voices are influencing food policy today? What are the critical issues, and what role does democracy play in the future of food in America?”

The Smithsonian urges you to “talk and taste your way through food history” during three days of activities and events. Check out the schedule for specifics.
This is the second year that they have held the event, so here’s hoping that they have a good turn out so they will continue this new tradition. Learn more.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

In the Kitchen With Laura Spices

In the Kitchen With Laura, both the program and the blog post series, continue to be very popular. I really enjoy them too, so watch for more.

Today’s In the Kitchen is combining something that Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family did every year and something she probably never would have done. We’re going to clean out our spice cupboard.

Spice Shelf
Spice Shelf

Spring cleaning was an important part of pioneer culture. Every spring you’d go to war with dirt, pulling things apart, refilling and restocking things, and washing every surface you possibly can. You’d also changed things over, pulling winter insulation away from the bottom of the house, putting up mosquito netting, covering up furniture with summer dressing.

This major cleaning would often include cleaning kitchen containers, etc. but you didn’t throw things out. Once you had something you thought you had it and it should last forever. This was especially true of the pioneer and Great Depression mind set. Once you had something it should last forever and you don’t waste it. It’s like the World War II slogan, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” You hold on to things, expect them to last or be good or at least usable forever. Sadly things aren’t.

I’ve been working on breaking out of this mind set and the spice shelf is a place to do it. (Now just FYI some of these containers I just love so these, especially the Tones cans, don’t have their original spice or herb in them. I’ve dumped them out a refilled them.) While it seems like that herbs and spice should last forever, they really don’t. As time goes by they lose both flavor and color and can really negatively impact your final product.

So to do your part for kitchen spring cleaning, go through your spice shelf. Replace everything that has outlived its date whether it’s empty or not. If you have cool old cans or bottles, just empty them out and refill with the new.

Spices, whole 1-2 years
Spices, ground 6 months
Herbs 6 months
Herb/spice blends 2 years (unopened)
12 months (opened)

These dates aren’t from the manufacturers (which of course want you to do this often, so you’ll buy more), but from the University of Nebraska Extension Service that conducts independent research. Find more information about things to check in your kitchen (including a printer friendly PDF) on their website.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

June 2016 Presentations

BlogSepia

Just one program this month so far, but I hope you can come out to it.

  • Historic Cooking Demonstration – Ushers Ferry Historic Village – Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Wednesday, June 29, 2016 6:30pm – 8:30pm

That’s it for this month so far, but it’s not too late. If you’d like me to come present near you make sure to tell your local library, museum or civic group.   Learn more here:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/booking-a-program
Find descriptions of the various programs available:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/program-descriptions

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

South Dakota History Conference Everybody Eats 2016

I had never had been at South Dakota State Historical Society annual conference before they asked me to come and be the second day’s keynote speaker, but I’m very glad they did. It was really a well organized and the prep, the information, the vendors, the meals was all really top rate. They’ve been doing this annual meeting since around the 1980s. They shift responsibility between the various departments of the historical society so each department does it every 5 years or so. This year it was done by the department that does their museum and the theme was Everybody Eats. This year’s conference was on April 29-30, 2016.

Susan Evans McClure of Smithsonian presenting in front of the Swedish Chef
Susan Evans McClure of Smithsonian

Conference Structure

The conference starts with a fundraising event on Thursday night and then with a full day on Friday with a reception following and a slightly shorter day on Saturday. Lunch is provided both Thursday and Friday and it was very good. The sessions were held in a room with theater style seating (with writing arm rests). I’d like to commend the organizers both for starting and ending sessions on time, but also having networking breaks of a decent length to talk to people.

One small grumble was that the room was really cold Friday morning and really hot Friday afternoon. I normally dress in layers and expect anything from conference session “weather” but this was unusually severe at both ends.

The vendor “room” ran on either side of the hallway right outside the main session room compelling you to walk by them every time you left. That window shopping should have supported them being there which in turn supports the conference. Vendors were there all day both days and there was a nice mix and number of them.

Jerome Kills Small, Harvesting Native Foods and Medicines
Jerome Kills Small, Harvesting Native Foods and Medicines

Friday Speakers

Speakers were on a single track and had a nice variety all focused on various aspects about foodways in South Dakota. The day opened with Jay D. Vogt, Director of the South Dakota State Historical Society,  giving a brief rundown on the variety of South Dakota foodways. Wanda Goodman, Media & Industry Relations Manager, South Dakota Department of Tourism followed up with a rundown of South Dakota food events. Opening activities ended with Conference Moderator Brad Tennant giving a brief overview of the conference.

The keynote speaker the first day was Susan Evans McClure of the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The Smithsonian has been working on more food into both their displays and their programming because food is an entry point to history that people can understand. She talked about their restoration of the Julia Child kitchen and individually related artifacts like a Mr. Peanut from the fence surrounding the Planter peanut plant. Another interesting bit I didn’t know was that spam was part of the lend-lease program. I knew it was involved in World War II, but I didn’t know it was part of that program. The Smithsonian has created a new section completed focused around food, FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000. Follow them on Twitter under the hashtag at .

Next was Jerome Kills Small talked about Harvesting Foods and Medicines in the Siouan Homelands. He told stories of his life, about things that you could find on the prairie to eat, and how different cultures used similar things just using different names. He runs a daycamp every year teaching children about native life. He has lots of bear grease, he said he’d send me some. I hope he does. 🙂

Over lunch Jay Smith, State Museum Director, gave us a run down on the South Dakota State Historical Society Museum. It was a preview of the reception that night.

Bernie Hunhoff of "South Dakota Magazine"
Bernie Hunhoff of “South Dakota Magazine”

After lunch Bernie Hunhoff, founder of South Dakota Magazine spoke on “Coffee Please – Restaurant Stories of a Roaming Editor.” He told stories of mom and pop coffee shops and small restaurants across the state and some of the interesting people who run them.

Catherine Lambrecht presented “South Dakota’s Heirloom Recipes.” Lambrecht is one of the founders of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance. Their major project is an annual conference, but an early project was promoting heirloom recipes by creating a category of them at the state fairs. Recipes for the winning dishes are available on their website. Lambrecht told stories of her experiences of families sharing these recipes and their great diversity. Greater Midwest Foodways has been a real leader in reclaiming Midwest as a legitimate focus of study.

Catherine Lambrecht, Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance
Catherine Lambrecht, Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance

The final speaker of the day was filmmaker Troy McQuillen on the Aberdeen Railway Station Canteen documentary. While a lot of information has been presented about the North Platte Canteen in Nebraska, but this South Dakota one was equally impactful. The unique part of Aberdeen was they offered pheasant sandwiches. The unusual dish started as way to use a food supply available for free but word spread that it was something special. The documentary included interviews with 4 women who served in canteen, people who hunted pheasants even out of season & even former boy scouts who did running for the restaurant. I knew the story going in, but by 30 minutes in had me and quite a few people tearing up. Really didn’t care for the last 15 minutes, but I liked it enough to buy the DVD and got the recipe booklet. This is a four minute greatly condensed version.

Read more:
https://issuu.com/troymcquillen/docs/am_issue_3-5-issuu

The evening ended with a reception at the South Dakota State Historical Society Museum which let us see both their permanent exhibits and their current temporary exhibits “Play Ball! The National Pastime in South Dakota” and “South Dakota Environments: A Window to Past Times.”

Saturday Speakers

I was the Saturday keynote presenting “In the Pioneer Kitchen With Laura.” This was a brand new presentation and looked specifically at pioneer cooking in South Dakota as Ma and Laura would have practiced it. For this presentation, talking about eating greens, I actually picked, ate, and photographed dandelions.

Sarah S. Uthoff, "In the Pioneer Kitchen With Laura Ingalls Wilder"
Sarah S. Uthoff, “In the Pioneer Kitchen With Laura Ingalls Wilder”

Ken Stewart was next covering “Brewing in South Dakota, 1861-1941” looking at brewing beer, near beer, and soda before and after Prohibition. He had tracked down photos of breweries in addition to their stories and made a tour of those sites today to see what was left.

Kevin Gansz of Siouxland Heritage Museums “Cruisin’ Cuisine:  The Drive-Ins of Sioux Fall” looked at the culture of the drive-in, how it suddenly popped up, became dominant, and disappeared within a decade. He had put together a display about the local ones for the Siouxland Heritage Museum tracking down their spread, how they fell, and what traces remain of them today. It was hard to find a lot of stuff for the display because much of what was produced for drive-ins was meant to be thrown away, lots of staff rotated through they didn’t stay taking photos, and people just never had any idea they would disappear like it. Most of the early drive-in were small mom and pop operations, they would be sourced locally, and often jointly advertised with their suppliers. The fast food industry has changed a lot over the decades, Americans spent $6 billion on fast food in 1960 and $117 billion in 2015.

Kevin Gansz, Siouxland Heritage Museums
Kevin Gansz, Siouxland Heritage Museums

The lunch on the second day featured the annual awards presented by the South Dakota State Historical Society and then a serving a of Cookies and Cream ice cream from the South Dakota State University Creamery. Howard Bonnemann who has long run the creamery showed us highlights of the history of ice cream in general and the creamery in particular. The SDSU creamery is very well known in the area. Although there is some debate, the creamery claims the title of inventor of Cookies and Cream ice cream.

The conference ended with Jay D. Vogt giving some closing remarks and giving us the topic for next year.

Go West!

I truly enjoyed this conference. It was one of the most enjoyable I’ve been to in awhile and I strongly recommend it if you’re looking for an interesting, enjoyable history conference. They have one every year.

Find the details here on the archive of their website.

Press

http://listen.sdpb.org/post/dakota-midday-south-dakotas-food-heritage#stream/0

http://www.drgnews.com/south-dakota-state-historical-society-conference-april-29-30

http://www.capjournal.com/news/sd-history-conference-in-pierre-focuses-on-food-including-beer/article_ed2a2560-0e80-11e6-a568-27abfcaf8e3f.html

http://rapidcityjournal.com/south-dakota-food-heritage-is-theme-for-annual-history-conference/article_444e2fc5-7b32-5c21-8c60-83d4a464f8c1.html

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

In the Kitchen With Laura Whipped Cream

Make Sure Mixing Bowl Is Chilled
Make Sure Mixing Bowl Is Chilled

In the Kitchen With Laura, both the program and the blog post series, continue to be very popular. I really enjoy them too, so watch for more.

The holiday season is often a time for special holiday foods and homemade desserts even if they are rarely seen in your kitchen any other time of year. If you’re not used to cooking one way to make your cooking special is not to reach for commercial whipped topping (aka Cool Whip), but to make your own whipped cream. It’s very simple to make and is delicious. Some people who’ve only have had Cool Whip might only notice the difference from Cool Whip, but if you’ll give it a chance you’ll find it’s much better.

Some Hints

To make it you need some of the Laura Ingalls Wilder cooks’s best friend, heavy whipping cream. Heavy whipping cream is also the best thing to use for making butter. The fresher it is the better, so buy some just for this and check the expiration dates (grocery stores normally rotate product so grab from the back but still check the dates).

Heavy Whipping Cream in Mixer
Heavy Whipping Cream in Mixer

Normally I use our mixer, but you can also use an egg beater. Cold is your friend in getting the cream to whip properly so my grandmother always recommended whipping it in a metal bowl that you’ve chilled. In the winter setting it outside for awhile is just the ticket.

I’ve given the measurements for a reasonable amount of whipped cream that can be consumed in a couple of days. It will only hold the whipped form for that long when refrigerated so don’t make too much. If you have a large party coming you might want to make more, but see how much this makes first.

Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons of sugar (to taste)

Directions

  1. Put the one cup of heavy whipping cream into the pre-chilled bowl.
  2. Stir using either a mixer or egg beater. If you have a whip attachment for your mixer, use it.
  3. Watch the cream carefully. You want it to be thick enough that when you stop mixing you can still see the tracks that the whip or beater made. Be careful though because if you over beat it, the cream will turn into butter. Check regularly. Leave it a little underwhipped if you are unsure because you still have to mix in the other ingredients evenly throughout the mixture after it reaches the right consistency.
  4. After the cream is thick add 1 capful of Watkins vanilla or 1 teaspoon of any other vanilla and stir.
  5. Add the sugar a Tablespoon at a time. Mix and taste between adding more sugar. I like 3 Tablespoons, but you may find you want it more or less sweet. Don’t dip the same spoon back into whipped cream once you’ve tasted off of it.
  6. Transfer the whipped cream to another bowl either for serving or to a bowl with a lid to keep in refrigerator. Feel free to lick any bowl or mixer that you aren’t going to put back in the whipped cream you’re going to serve other people. (No eggs so licking is allowed.)
Add Sugar to Almost Whipped Cream
Add Sugar to Almost Whipped Cream

You can use genuine whipped cream anywhere you would normally use whipped topping. Puddings, cookies, pies, puddings, or, if you are truly lucky, steam pudding are always good choices to use your whipped cream. Keep in the unused portion in the refrigerator. You can expect it to last 2-3 days. Don’t make it too far ahead.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.