Farm Food

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Time Frame: 1929-1945

Family life in 1920s and 1930s revolved around food and mealtime.
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The People in the Pictures
2003
Iowa Public Television

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Transcript

Don White: Cutting wood I can remember. I think all three of us had the duty of packing wood for the evening. Carrying up heating wood in and then carry the wood that was split up for the cooking. I can remember that. That’s one of the duties that we had to look after every evening.

Leonard White: The small chunks of wood went on the right and the big ones went on the left. I remember that.

Don White: I don’t remember that.

Using the wood stove was the era’s version of multitasking. Water for dishes and baths steamed on top, while pies and cakes and breads baked inside. The heat that escaped warmed the entire house. Everyday a farmwoman would prepare three or more substantial meals, plus morning and mid-afternoon lunches. Family life revolved around food.

Robert Wettach: My grandfather had pie every morning for breakfast. Every morning of his life he had pie. I presume he had coffee but I don’t recall that. We had, in those days, typical farmer meals which - now that I’ve had a bypass - wasn’t too good for me, but I got through all that all right. But they were generous and they were at noon, not in the evening. When you said dinner, you mean dinner.

Marie Johnson: The fried chicken. The chicken then taste different when it’s right out of your own barnyard. That was really good. I liked when we’d have a pork butchered. I liked the bacon and the meat that was cured because that would be hanging on a sawhorse in our North bedroom in one of the houses. I can remember that. And to up and get that and bring it down and slice it was really good. She made good gravy too. It wasn’t lumpy.

Back then the farm family was really a mini food processing industry. Every member helped out when livestock was butchered. Processing the meat, rendering the lard for baking and for frying foods. Women and children usually raised the chickens; gathering the eggs, nurturing baby chicks, and dressing the fryers.

Patty Dook: I do remember the chicken butchering. We would butcher probably, maybe even a hundred chickens a year. And mother would do 25 a time, you know, and my father – it was a family type thing – would take care of the butchering, and mother and us girls would help cut it up. And that wasn’t a very fun job.

Inez Hilt: Well I was supposed to go out and get the eggs, but I didn’t like that because some of them were sitting hens and they’d peck at me. So I’d come in and say I can’t get those eggs under that hen.

 


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