For those of us who revel in digging through books and papers, little treasures appear at every trip to the local archive. For example, in February I went to the monthly Researchers Anonymous meeting, where they had planned a tour of the Museum of Art and History archive. The archive itself is extensive, and lovingly organized by a group of staff and volunteers deserving of their own blog post. After viewing the incredibly the well cataloged front room, we were taken to the back room, where only half of the items have been cataloged. I came across a box labeled “Stikeman and Pierce Food Fairs, Armory – Front St, SC, circa 1916.” In it are pictures nearly a century old of food stands. But not the Downton Abbey-style market stands I expected. It was entirely large companies like Jello and Crisco advertising their goods. All of the Researchers and I were taken aback when we saw the images of a stand selling Swastika brand flour… but then you have to remind yourself that this was 1916 and the dozens of flags featuring the notorious symbol did not have the same association that they do now. But not only are there food fair pictures, there are recipe books like the one entitled “Heritage Recipes by the Senior Citizens of Santa Cruz.” The project team has a date set to spend an entire day in the archive reviewing these cookbooks – sure to be one of the highlights of the year!
And speaking of the team, we had a fantastic and productive study session recently at the Agricultural History project archive, another brilliant local resource. In fact, we had to put a no-speaking rule into effect because every few minutes someone would interrupt the silence with their own newly discovered gem. Did you know that ice cream is real food, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to have for dinner? That is according to Dr. Frank McCoy, diet specialist and author of “the Fast Way to Health”. His advice comes from a full page Evening Pajaronian advertisement for local ice cream from 1927. The caveat, according to this “Health and Diet Advice” is that you shouldn’t eat it with any other heavy foods, like eggs, meat….or really anything we would call dinner.