Friday, October 27, 2017

1900 NYWSA Convention Reenactment: The Location & the Food

As you may have heard, 2017 is NY state's Suffrage Centennial year. On November 6, 1917, the majority of male voters cast ballots in favor of granting women the right to vote!

Seventeen years prior, the small village of Glens Falls hosted a statewide convention for three days in the fall of 1900 for the New York Woman Suffrage Association. Held at Ordway Hall & Rockwell House, delegates came from all over the state: Counties represented were Cayuga, Chatauqua, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Onondoga, Queens, Warren, and Washington.  

Yellow flags represent delegates from 1900. Purple pins show attendees in 2017.

What the Glens Falls Area Suffrage Centennial Committee wanted to do was to come up with a way to celebrate the spirit of that convention in just two hours. It was a daunting task that required lots of meetings, collaboration, & and action grant from HumanitiesNY. What we put together was very well received!

NYWSA 32nd Convention, Glens Falls, NY 1900

& I will share with you what we did...

Ordway Hall, Glens Falls, NY c 1900

Since Ordway Hall (currently a Spot Coffee) & Rockwell House (destroyed by fire) were not available, we looked to the site of a successful regional suffrage convention in 1894, First Baptist Church of Glens Falls. The folks there were thrilled to learn of their church's suffrage history as they are trying to get the church on the National Registry for historic landmarks. 

Rockwell House, Glens Falls, NY c1900

Once we had our location & date secured, we set to research & funding. Luckily HumanitiesNY awarded us an action grant so that we could pay performers, a photographer & videographer, & advertise.

One of the things I was able to do was convince people to make food from the Suffrage Cookbooks for refreshments during intermission. My friend Lillian Lasher tackled the appetizers. A few of us baked.

Suffrage Cookbooks on display at the food table

The appetizers Lillian made were featured in the 1915 Suffrage Cookbook compiled by LO Kleber. The recipes she chose were Chicken Croquettes, Spitine, & Savories. They were quite tasty & surprisingly well received by those in attendance. I have listed the recipes below.

Chicken Croquettes (1915, p. 63)

1 pound of chicken
3 teaspoons chopped parsley
1½ cups cream
1 small onion
¼ pound butter
¼ pound bread crumbs
season to taste
1 pinch of paprika 
Grind meat twice. Boil the onion with the cream and strain the onion out. Let cool and pour over crumbs. Add parsley and butter, and make a stiff mixture. Now add seasoning.Mix all together by beating in the meat. If too thick add a little milk and form into croquettes, and put in ice box.When cool dip in beaten egg and then in crackers or bread crumbs. Fry in deep fat.

Spitine (1915, p. 50) 
Cut from raw roast beef very thin slices. Spread with a dressing made of grated bread crumbs, a beaten egg and seasoned to taste. Roll up and put all on a long skewer and brown in a little hot butter.

SAVORIES (1915, p.95-99) 
Hot savory and cold salad are always to be recommended—some suggestions that are worth remembering.A hot savory and a cold salad make a good combination for the summer luncheon, and the savory is a useful dish for the dispositon of left-over scraps of meat, fish, etc.The foundation of a savory is usually a triangle on a finger of buttered brown bread toast, or fried bread, pastry or biscuit. The filling may be varied indefinitely, and its arrangement depends upon available materials.Here are a few suggestions for the use of materials common to all households. 

Tomato Toast 
Half an ounce of butter, two ounces of grated cheese, one tablespoon of tomato; paprika. Melt the butter and add the tomato (either canned or fresh stewed), then the grated cheese; sprinkle with paprika and heat on the stove. Cut bread into rounds or small squares, fry and pour over each slice the hot tomato mixture.

Ham Toast 
Mince a little left-over boiled ham very finely. Warm it in a pan with a piece of butter. Add a little pepper and paprika. When very hot pile on hot buttered toast. Any left-over scraps of fish or meat may be used up in a similar way, and make an excellent savory to serve with a green salad.

Cheese Savories 
Butter slices of bread and sprinkle over them a mixture of grated cheese and paprika. Set them in a pan and place the pan in the oven, leaving it there until the bread is colored, and the cheese set. Serve very hot.

For baked goods we served molasses crinkles, gingersnaps, gingerbread, & "cocoanut cookies" I made using a recipe from the 1886 Suffrage Cookbook. This recipe was submitted by a Mrs. H. R. Shattuck.

Cocoanut Cookies. (1886, p. 81)
Into two and one-half cupfuls of pastry flour, rub with the hands one-half cupful of butter. Add one cupful of sugar, one and three-fourths cupfuls of grated cocoanut (that which comes by the pound is best) and two saltspoonfuls of cream of tartar. Beat one egg and stir in; dissolve one saltspoonful of soda in boiling water and add, moulding the mixture well together with the hands. If it is not wet enough, add a very little milk or water. The danger is in getting it too wet to roll out well, and probably no moisture will be needed. Roll thin, cut with a doughnut cutter and bake quickly.

saltspoon= 1/4 teaspoon

Butter, flour, sugar, coconut, cream of tartar

Add egg, baking soda in water

Combine into dough, not too wet

Roll out & cut out with a doughnut cutter

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Bake at 350 F for about 7-10 minutes

Finished cookies out to cool

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