In the Kitchen With Laura Losing Words

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.

A book heart in a foodways reference book
A book heart in a foodways reference book

Words Have Meaning

In today’s post, I want to discuss the importance of words to food. Knowing the proper words for food helps you talk about it, helps you read recipes correctly, and generally makes eating a more pleasant experience.

A lot of the food words Laura Ingalls Wilder would have used or known, for things like a spyder (a type of frying pan) or mangoes (a specially prepared kind of pepper, NOT the tropical fruit) are no longer common place. This can cause a barrier of understanding whether you’re reading a cookbook or a “Little House” book. Keep the question “do you really understand what they’re saying?” in mind while you’re reading and if you don’t know, look it up! Also, talk with people especially older people and children about food. Learn how people used to describe things and pass on that knowledge and what words you use today on to young people.

Check out what Merriam-Webster has to say about the change of iced tea to ice tea:

Chronology of Food History
Chronology of Food History

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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T-Shirt of the Month March 2018

When I post my video diaries I always get comments about my Laura clothes. No, not my period dresses, but my Laura Ingalls Wilder t-shirts that I wear for travel and Laura trips. I thought everyone might enjoy a closer look at them. So enjoy our monthly series where we look at a Laura shirt.

Shirt of the Month

This month we continue with a unique shirt. This one wasn’t purchased at a Laura homesite at all.Olive Green Polo ShirtAlthough there are lots of different designs of Laura shirts almost all of them will be regular t-shirts with a few sweatshirts thrown in. You almost will never see tanks or other kinds of shirts. I personally like a polo shirt occassionally.

Green Polo Close Up

One of the most comfortable shirts I’ve ever owned came from an old job and rather than throw it away I covered up their logo with a patch. It worked well that I’ve tried it was a couple of other shirts. This green shirt has a Walnut Grove patch on it. I picked it because I thought the yellow background and brown image complemented the olive green of the shirt.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Travel Times Winding Up in Traer, Iowa

Every year I get the opportunity to travel around Iowa and adjoining states as I share the life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder with fans of all ages. Every year I say I’m going to get better at sharing those places with you. Hopefully this will be the year.

Sarah Uthoff as Old Laura in Traer, Iowa
Sarah Uthoff as Old Laura in Traer, Iowa

Iowa Tourist Sites

It used to be that, in the great tradition of the often mocked the world’s biggest ball of twine (there are several – farmers like to save twine), you’d hear about various places in Iowa on a regular basis. Whether it was the Amana Colonies, Plow in Oak, Albert the Bull, or the Little Brown Church, you heard about these places a lot. Over the course of my lifetime these quirky Iowa spots seem to have fallen out of favor to the point that you don’t hear about them much. So I hope to point more of them out as I tour around the state.

Sarah on the Stairs
Sarah on the Stairs

Spiral Staircase

I adore a good spiral staircase. The one in Traer, Iowa is a gorgeous one and unique because it was built to provide the only access to the business on the second floor of the building. It stands free at the curb connected by a catwalk to the entrance to the second floor of the building. It’s such a unique sight that it’s become a symbol of the town which it plays into with the slogan “Winding Up in Traer.”

A man by the name of E.E. Taylor built the stairs to provide access to the offices of The Star-Clipper which were in the second floor of the building he built. The first floor was kept completely separate for rental space. It created a very unique site. Over the years the building changed hands several times and the stairs were in danger of disappearing, but the community always rallied around to keep their town’s unique landmark. The Traer Historical Museum now owns the building. Learn more of the history on the town’s landmark.

Add a Dash of Pepper to Your Visit

I didn’t actually make a stop at the world’s second largest collection of Salt and Pepper Shakers, but I’ll have to try to get back.

Although it seems that it has really gone out of fashion to collect things like souvenir spoons and thimbles from the places you’ve visited or different designs of salt and pepper shakers, collecting salt and pepper shakers used to be a popular hobby. You’d try to get as many as you could in different designs. My great-great-grandmother collected them and we still have a pair from her collection (2 bears cubs each hanging on a branch). Take a look at the brochure I linked to above to get an idea of all the different kinds and if you’re looking for something to collect it’s fun to see all the different types there are. Otherwise consider stopping by the museum just to see them all.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

 

Take Your Class to a Day in a One-Room School

19th century teacher sitting at desk
Sarah at Teacher Desk in Stone Academy – Solon, Iowa

Every spring and fall I work with the Johnson County (IA) Historical Society to put together an opportunity for schools in the area to step back in time. Classes come on a field trip to take their students back to 1876.

One-Room School in Coralville, Iowa

Coralville’s one-room school is actually a two story brick structure. Coralville thought they were going to boom and so built a bigger two story building thinking they’d soon need more than one class. Unfortunately for them, instead Coralville faced several setbacks. It was decades before they needed to use the second floor as a classroom. By the time they built a graded elementary school – Coralville Central – in 1950, they were running one class on each floor plus one in the town hall (recently moved across the street from the school) and one in the old fire department.

Experience for Students

The elementary classes study the time period before they come and each is assigned a character. Most of these characters are based on actual students who attended the school that year, but some have been added to support current large class sizes.

Students dress up and act out their role as I lead them through a taste of what life was like in a late 19th century one-room school. I serve as a historical interpreter helping the students understand the what and the why as we go through some of the classes they’d have in a one-room school.

Learn more about the program, including the lesson plans and preparation handouts.

Whether You Live Close or Farther Away

Do you live locally? Suggest to your school they come.

Do you live some place else? Look for a one-room museum near you. Most have a school program of some kind.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Have you gone looking for the Big Woods?

Sarah's Notebook

Although, it shares a name with Laura’s book, this state park actually was named as the only remnant of Big Woods in its area. The Big Woods in this area covered about 5,000 acres when permenant settlers arrived in 1854. It features 1,280 acres of land and was established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1945.  It remains today a good example of the Big Woods which once covered much of the northern states.  It has sugar maples, basswood, elms, green ash, and Ironwood trees. There are also 50 varities of wildflowers and many varities of ferns and mushrooms.

Although it doesn’t take its name from Laura’s title, it does come from the same source and I think the park will be well worth a visit.

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/nerstrand_big_woods/index.html

UPDATED March 9 2018: I added my current signature block.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at…

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Quote: “What’s popular…”

Sharing this again in honor of this quote “What’s popular may not be credible, and what’s credible may not be popular.”

Sarah's Notebook

The November 1, 2008 issue of Library Journal features a review of a new search engine called Hakia. It weights according to content and context rather than popularity and relevancy (as does Google).  Instead it considers peer-reviewed information, commercial bias, currency of content, and source authenticity and has a section called credible sites that are identified by real librarians. So far those are limited to the environment and health, but plans are in the works to expand them to other areas.

COO Melek Paulatkonak of Hakia gave this great quote “What’s popular may not be credible, and what’s credible may not be popular.” A true quote and one well worth thinking about. (p. 22)

UPDATED March 6 2018: I’m very sorry that this search engine no long exists, but I think the quote from the article about it remains powerful and worth sharing. I added my signature block.

Sarah S. Uthoff

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Top 10 Posts During February 2018

Sarah in Costume in Front of the Toledo Public Library
Sarah in Costume in Front of the Toledo Public Library

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

Iowa City Park Zoo

Laura Ingalls Wilder Events During 2018

My Upcoming Schedule

Missing Murals of Iowa City

Monkey Business in Iowa City

Ellis Island Didn’t Change Your Relative’s Name

In the Kitchen With Laura Project February 2014

T-Shirt of the Month February 2018

Spring Valley Events 2018

T-Shirt of the Month January 2018

One-Room School Survey Update Jan 2018

Sarah Uthoff By the Numbers February 2018

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.