Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? American Women and the Kitchen in the Twentieth Century

By Richards, Virginia | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, January 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? American Women and the Kitchen in the Twentieth Century


Richards, Virginia, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? American Women and the Kitchen in the Twentieth Century MARY DRAKE MCFEELY, (2000)

Amherst University of Massachusetts Press

Reviewed by: VIRGINIA RICHARDS, Ed.D., CFCS

Assistant Professor, Georgia Southern University

I am ambivalent about Mary Drake McFeely's Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?American Women and the Kitchen in the Twentieth Century. It is, at the same time, a delightful journey based on the types of cook-- books published during each decade, and a puzzling misconception about the influence of home economics on cooking modes. These mistaken assumptions about home economics are surprising in an otherwise meticulously researched and exquisitely written book.

OVERVIEW Ms. McFeely proposes that the kitchen and the chore of feeding families has been used throughout history as a way of suppressing women, but that women have countered by using the kitchen as a way of expressing creativity and control over their daily lives. The book begins with a verbal snapshot of Napton, Missouri, in 1928, found in The Napton Memorial Church Cook Book. The recipes and advice given in this cookbook reflect a hard but meaningful farm life in which a woman's cooking expertise was passed down from her female forebearers. These farmwomen viewed the cooking and preserving of the food produced by their men as an essential part of the total work of the family. Ms. McFeely contrasts the typical farm woman with intellectually elite women in the late Nineteenth Century who sought to free women from the drudgery of daily kitchen work by bringing families together to live in cooperative homes. The author related the unsuccessful cooperative housekeeping movement through the writings of Melusina Fay Pierce and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

At the turn of the century, The Fanny Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cookbook and the home economics movement brought science into the home kitchen, events which Ms. McFeely blames for the loss of instinctiveness in homemaking. Technological advances in kitchen equipment and application of factory efficiency to the home marked the first two decades of the twentieth century. According to Ms. McFeely, time and motion experts and scientific rules discouraged experimentation and incorporation of ethnic foods into the mainstream of food preparation.

As America plunged into the depths of the Great Depression, cook-- books turned from efficiency and technology to methods for feeding families on very little money. This endeavor included making whole-- some as well as comforting food during hard and uncertain times. In the forties, women were exhorted to help fight the war by cheerfully dealing with rationed staples such as sugar, butter, coffee, and meat. McFeely found that most women welcomed the opportunity to support the war at home, at work, and in the kitchen. Vegetable gardens and food preservation made a comeback with the help of agents from the Cooperative Extension Service. The forties also gave us our first national standards for nutrition with the seven food groups.

The postwar decade of the fifties was marked by the influx of convenience foods and cookbooks that gave menu and recipes incorporating them. This generation no longer felt the need for restraint, and a consuming public marked the fifties. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? American Women and the Kitchen in the Twentieth Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.