Monday, August 29, 2016

Grocery Store History

1920s Dry Goods Store
Market Place ran a story Friday on a super market price war going in North America. Stores are slashing prices in the attempt to attract consumers away from their competitors. The story became the impetus for a series on the history of grocery stores we will be running this week. In the early 20th century, with little capital or knowledge one could open a store, purchase a how to become a grocer instruction book which contained sample ordering and bookkeeping forms.  Moreover whole salers made credit available to purchase needed inventory to small retailers.  One also could rent a store front with an upstairs apartment making the grocery store business attractive. 

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Grocery Store Stories: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Stores

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Super Market Price War Heating Up [Listen Now 2min 9 sec] https://www.marketplace.org/2016/08/26/world/supermarkets-slash-prices-boost-sales

Friday, August 26, 2016

Peanuts Salted In The Shell

More on regional food preferences and fanfare. Here is a story about goobers. At County Stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the old home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, fans one of their peanuts served up in a specific way. Back in the 1950s food vendors learned that their customers wanted peanuts salted in the shell. So they came up with a method which involved soaking peanuts in a salted brine solution and until the salt penetrated the shell. By the way, my son and I picked up a sizable .99 cent bag of peanuts salted in the shell at a Trader Joe's in Cambridge. It appeared to be a new product. The bag of peanuts tasted great and served us well as we watched a Harvard football practice. What are your Stadium food memories from your childhood?

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Peanut Stories with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Peanuts


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wisconsin is Bratwurst Country

Green Bay Packer fans grilling bratwurst before a game in Wisconsin, Courtesy of the Library of Congress
For this segment of our series fanfare, we travel to the Midwest. If you had attended a ball game in Wisconsin in the 1950s you would have likely heard a vendor in a ball park callout, “Get your bratwurst here on a seeded rye roll!” Milwaukee fanfare had historically meant a “big fat German sausage-a pork and veal product, served with barbecue sauce on a seeded rye roll. It's unique with us as I don't believe any other big league park sells them,” said Earle Yerxa, concessions manager at the old County Stadium in Milwaukee in 1958. What regional food did you eat at sports stadiums where you grew up?

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Wisconsin Food Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=wisconsin

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Regional Food Preferences Part 2

Eating popcorn in an unnamed stadium, courtesy of the Library of Congress
In this addition of our series fanfare, which looks at the history of the stadium food industry, we turn to the Northeast. By the 1930s, the Harry M. Stevens food concessions company, the pioneering business in the industry, had operations in five ballparks in the National and American leagues. Over time the company had to learn the regional eating differences in each of its ballparks. New York fans preferred eating peanuts. Fans in the West favored popcorn. Stevens officials spent several thousand dollars “to learn that while can lead an Eastern router to the popcorn, you can't make him eat,” said a writer in the pages of the New York Times in 1935.  When he tried to introduce popcorn to New York stadiums, fans protested loudly saying things like bring back the peanuts “To hell with popcorn!” they roared. 

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Peanut Stories with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Peanuts


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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Regional Food Preferences Part 1

Left to right, Frank Stevens, son of Harry M Stevens and August Herrmann, one time president of the Cincinnati Reds and president of the National Baseball Commission From 1903 to 1920, Courtesy of the Library of Congress
August is national Sandwich month. Today we turn to another segment in our series fanfare which looks at the history of the ballpark concession industry. Harry M. Stevens Inc had been the dominant player from the turn-of-the-century until the 1980s. By trial and error Stevens learned by the time of the Great Depression that Eastern fans ate few sandwiches while watching the New York Giants, Yankees, or the Brooklyn Dodgers. Instead New Yorkers preferred hotdogs.  Western fans, on the other hand, devoured ham sandwiches in a big way in places like St. Louis and Chicago.  They ate hot dogs but not nearly as much as in New York and Boston. What were the top regional food items at the sports venues where you grew up?

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Hotdog History: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=hot+dog 

Sandwich Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=sandwich

Fanfare Series: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=fanfare

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Food and The People’s Campaign

Eating Brunswick in Caswell County, North Carolina, Courtesy of the Library of Congress
During the 1912 presidential election, Democratic Party leaders organized Wilson and Marshall Day on Saturday, November 2. The parties structured it as an event to be celebrated in communities across the country which had a space to host a large political meeting which would include the serving of food and beverages. Wilson had been slated to give an address to his supporters in New York while local campaign workers would read copies of the same address in their meetings, creating “one vast democratic mass meeting from coast-to-coast.” In southern states Democratic Party supporters made “preparations for an all day picnic and barbecue more like the old-time political meetings than any that have been held,” in decades wrote a journalist for the The Austin Statesman, a Texas paper. The paper called the populist movement the supported the Democratic ticket in 1912, the “people’s campaign.” 

Brunswick Stew Recipe

Ingredients
1 chicken
6 ears of corn
1 pint butter beans
6 large tomatoes chopped fine
¼ cup onion chopped fine
salt-and-pepper

Instructions
Cut up one chicken, preferably a good fat hen, cover with cold water, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly until about half done. Add six ears of green corn, splitting through the kernels, one pint butter beans and six large tomatoes chopped fine. A little onion may be added if desired. Cook until the vegetables are thoroughly done, but very slowly, so as to avoid burning. Add strips of pastry for dumplings and cook five minutes. 
Rufus Estes, Good Things to Eat, As Suggested By Rufus Estes: A Collection of Practical Recipes for Preparing Meats, Game, Fowl, Fish, Puddings, Pastries, etc. (Chicago, Published by the author, 1911)

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Stumping and Eating Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Electoral+Politics+and+Food

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Food Network Early Days

Left, Linda Pelaccio, the host of A Taste of the Past
Host Fred Opie interviews Linda Pelaccio, the host of A Taste of the Past a successful weekly radio show on food history. Today we talk about her observations on food media outlets including her stent on the Food Network.[Listen Now 34min 34sec] https://soundcloud.com/thedinnertablewithfredopie/food-network-early-days

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Politics, Picnics, Barbecues, and Fish Fries

1910 Indiana Picnic, Courtesy, Wylie House Museum, Indiana University
How do you know when someone is seeking public office? Here’s a tip from a 1912 description of a Democratic Party barbecue. Those at the barbecue in hot pursuit of a party nomination to run for office increased their attendance and mingling with people at community wide picnics, barbecues, and fish fries. They made no speeches from high places but instead got down and drank and ate among the common folk sharing with them important political issues. For example, issues important to Kentucky voters in 1912 included getting the owners of railroads to pay their just proportion of operational expenses at tax time and reducing the tax burdens of citizens. What would be candidates be talking about today in your state at a fish fry?

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Stumping and Eating Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Electoral+Politics+and+Food

Kentucky Food History and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Kentucky

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Burgoo, Bourbon, and Beer

Making Burgoo, 1916 Democratic Barbecue, Winchester, Kentucky, Courtesy of the Kentucky  DigitalA Library
In 1912 the Cincinnati Enquirer reported, “It has been a long time since so many Kentucky Democrats have gotten together” for an old-time political meeting where they enjoyed “burgoo, bourbon, and beer.” They turned out to support their nominees Woodrow Wilson for president and Thomas Marshall vice president. Those in attendance at the Democratic meeting avoided any mention of the issue of prohibition or if a particular candidate had been wet, against prohibition, or dry, in favor of prohibition. Similarly in 2016 Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have avoided mentioning their position on the national debt.

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Stumping and Eating Series and Recipes:

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Howard Johnson and 1963 March on Washington

August is national Sandwich month! In 1963 Howard Johnson’s, (Ho Jos) founded in the early 1900’s, had the only nationwide chain of hotels and restaurants in the United States. The company also had monopoly control of all of the rest stop refreshment stands on then newly constructed New Jersey Turnpike. It’s not clear if organizers of the march negotiated with Ho Jos but the restaurant chain made massive changes in its turnpike concessions for the march.  Previous to March its stands remained open for bus traffic on the turnpike “only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday” reported the New York Times in August, 1963. Benton E. Caldon, New Jersey manager for the refreshment stands, moved to expand bus parking at turnpike rest stops from 85 per stop to 800 and kept the stands open between 1 and 6 weekdays and weekends. He increased his staff from three shifts of 22 people employees to two shifts of 200. He stocked piled his supplies at the stands to have on hand “2,400 ham sandwiches” in addition to other refreshments. reported the Times.

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Sandwich Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=sandwich

March on Washington and Food Series: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=March+on+washington

Feeding the Revolution Series with Related Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Feeding+the+Revolution

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