The Evanston Community Kitchen

A food memoir about women in the kitchen and history in the making. Food = Story.

1926: Juney goes to the Big Apple to Work for Alice Foote MacDougall — Takes a Big Bite

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My grandmother left Evanston, Illinois in 1926 for the Big Apple.  She left her job as the assistant manager of the Community Kitchen to go to New York City.  Juney (my grandmother) was single. Why not? She was an independent woman and had secured a great job working as Alice Foote MacDougall‘s manager.

I am sure Granny Dell was not very happy about her youngest daughter going to New York by herself. But Juney did.

Granny Dell must have appreciated it a little. I wish I could ask her. “Granny Dell, how did you feel when Juney left Evanston for the Big Apple?”

For more historic images of New York City, see this article in The Atlantic.

Perhaps Granny Dell would answer something like this, “Well, I went to Spokane in 1880 all by myself from Ohio. I didn’t know anyone in Spokane and I had secured a great job as a teacher, so I understood. Deep down I understood. Freedom is a beautiful thing.”

My grandmother wrote down quotes on little scraps of paper and cut out newspaper cartoons and clippings that were inspiring. I have some of them.

One of my favorites that Juney wrote down is: “Wear your learning like your watch, in a private pocket; and do not pull it out, and strike it, merely to show that you have one.” –
Lord Chesterfield

This certainly was true for Juney. She never bragged about her experiences or career. I sure wish she would have when I was a child. But she sure did brag about her grandchildren and her daughter.  Mary Liz, Juney’s niece did not even know that Juney had been to Europe twice. My mom told me last year about her two trips to Europe. Juney went to Cuba in the 30’s too.

My grandmother, Elizabeth Odell Welch -- "Juney"

My grandmother, Elizabeth Odell Welch — “Juney”

Juney was so elegant.  I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful she was.  Well, actually I can and I will — in the book, which I have to get back to writing.

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Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

“Women are the real architects of society.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Events sometimes converge to create opportunities for people to gather and create great things that have a profound effect on our world. At the height of WWI, in the midst of food conservation, labor shortages, the Temperance Movement and Women’s Suffrage, the Evanston Community Kitchen emerged as a lightning rod for women who found their world and roles in it rapidly changing. The Community Kitchen was an innovative idea that sparked advances in food preparation and delivery — becoming the model replicated throughout the nation in the early 1920’s. Read more about the exceptional grande dames of the Evanston Woman’s Club and their solutions to this challenging period in history.

What women inspire you? What  women would you invite to a dinner party and what would you serve for dinner? It’s hard to settle on a number of women to invite, so choose your own.

I would invite Elizabeth Odell (my great-grandmother), Elizabeth Odell Welch (my grandmother), Elizabeth Welch Miller (my mother), Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Helen Palmer Dawes, Nellie Appleton Kingsley and Susan B. Anthony. Elizabeth Odell, Helen Palmer Dawes, and Nellie Kingsley were the co-founders of The Evanston Community Kitchen.

I would serve a four-course gourmet meal catered by The Community Kitchen, of course!

“Evanston is remarkable in nothing if not for the ability, individuality, and enterprise of its women.”

— Frances E. Willard

Image Source: http://exhibits.library.northwestern.edu/archives/exhibits/willard/willard.html

Frances Willard on her bicycle in Evanston, Illinois                                                  Image Source: exhibits.library.northwestern.edu/archives/exhibits/willard/

 

 

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