Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving in 1921 at the Marion Hotel

It's always interesting to see the hotel menu for Thanksgiving 100 years ago.

November 24th, 1921

Some of these are obvious typos, but some of the items may be unfamiliar also. I did not know about Toke Point Oysters, which now seem to have been absorbed into Willapa Bay Oysters, for example. The Marion Hotel was where the Conference Center is now. The menu:

The Marion
Salem, Oregon
Thursday, November 24, 1921
5 to 8 p.m.
Toke Points on Half Shell or Canape ala Trionon
Mock Turtle Aux Quenelles
Consomme De Steal
Stuffed Celery Heart
Burr Gherkins
Mixed Olives
Fresh Lobster ala Nerburg en caise
Pommee Sauffle
Sliced Cucumber
Small Baucheese ala Perigoux
Thanksgiving Sherbert
Roast Oregon Turkey Chestnut Dressing Cranberry Sauce
Domestic Goose Dressing Prince Jam
Prime Rib of Beef Yorkshire Pudding
Whipped Cream Potatoes
Sweet Potato Victoria
Baked Hubbard Squash
Brussel Sprouts Buerr
Salade ala Marion
Hot Mince Pie
Fresh Mince Pie
Palmer House Ice Cream
Nabisco Wafer
English Plum Pudding Hard and Hot Sauce
Mixed Nuts
Cluster Raisins
Camembert Cheese Bent Water Crackers
Demi Tasse
$1.50 Per Plate

Two recent pieces on agriculture and our food supply were of interest, and both made connections, one direct and one indirect, with our approach to housing.

Rent, heat, low wages - LA Times this week

The Los Angeles Times had a piece on the movement of farmworkers from California to Oregon as they followed crops to harvest. The relative cooler summer and lower cost of shelter had made Willamette Valley farms more attractive, but with our heat and smoke, and with increasing costs of housing, the advantage is disappearing. "Fewer and fewer Californians are now showing up for the blueberry harvest. Experts and farmers say economics and a lack of affordable housing are largely to blame." That's a trend to watch.

Less directly, a piece on the enduring myth of the yeoman farmer suggested its persistence in the way we valorize the urban and suburban single home and the property owner with a large yard, and subordinate other forms of housing and land use in policy and cultural preference.

via Twitter

From the piece:

“We live in a country that has romanticized small family farms a great deal,” Nate told me by phone in 2020, “and has made the highest and best form of agriculture this small family farm. It’s actually pretty unique to the United States. When you go across the rest of the world, people don’t have the same kind of romantic notions.”....

What I learned is that this country, at its core, is infatuated with agrarianism. Our founding myths are steeped in farming symbolism, from the deeply American (and problematic) harvest festival-turned-founding saga that is Thanksgiving, with all its patriotic, religious, and genocidal baggage, all the way to George Washington the farmer-warrior, resting under his own vine and fig tree. ...

One of the simplest contributions each of us can make to a truly attainable future farm system is to interrogate the agrarian bias that we carry. When we see the image of a farm or farmer, we must be mindful of what’s being signaled and how the symbolism might be being used to shape our opinion, be it of a food item, a policy, or a news story.

(Less accessible, a more academic paper, "The Yeoman Myth: A Troubling Foundation of the Beginning Farmer Movement" also discusses this.)

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