ROAST CORN VIDEO: Seasonal special from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School. Inspired by Grandmother Edna Kearns who canned corn, jams and jellies to raise funds for the suffrage movement.
Are you planning to do something special on August 26th, Women’s Equality Day? Resources from the National Women’s History Project. The NWHP also has a brochure for August 26th that can be downloaded to your computer and printed out. Do you subscribe by email to the NWHP? It’s a great resource.
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by Marguerite Kearns
Toshi Seeger, AKA Pete Seeger’s wife and working partner, is no longer with us, but her memory lives. Last year I sent a card to the Seeger family to say that I had a tree planted in El Salvador in Toshi’s memory.
For the ten years I worked at Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in the Hudson Valley, Toshi Seeger was a permanent fixture in the Poughkeepsie, NY building serving as office and headquarters. I gathered news, features, and photos, and with graphic designer Nora Porter, we published the organization’s bi-monthly publication. Toshi arrived at the office after hours often to iron out the details of the Great Hudson River Revival, the summer organizational fundraiser that kept the sloop sailing on the Hudson. Before she retired, everyone understood all the different ways in which Toshi’s tender loving care made the event possible for upwards of 20,000 people each summer. So with all the attention on Pete Seeger’s death in January 2014, I’ve been thinking of Toshi and how he and family members must have missed her in the months following her death.
Toshi had her fingers in many pies. She made the Husdon River Sloop Clearwater engine run. Pot lucks represented the grassroots engine, and for many organizational and business meetings, the chances were good that a pot luck accompanied the gathering, plus great desserts and song.
I can see Toshi Seeger now carrying heavy shopping bags of food and supplies from the car to the building where we met. That’s why the Suffrage Wagon web site features recipes from the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School as a way to reinforce the point that food fuels activism and relationship. Food and pot lucks represent the physical manifestation of a grassroots strategy of bringing people together for hard work, relaxation and celebration. Toshi understood the connection, and she kept the awareness sharp and clear during her many years of being involved in the heart of the organization. No one could call Toshi Seeger invisible. She was and remains a rock permanently installed on the banks of the Hudson River. Today I’m remembering her unique role in keeping hope alive.
Pete and Toshi Seeger supported the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon and the importance of New York State putting it on permanent exhibit for now and future generations. Support our campaign of getting the suffrage wagon out on the road again so people can see it. More information available on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.
Photo: Toshi Seeger, 1985. Photo by Marguerite Kearns.
VIDEO for “Hot Tea Month” is “How to make a cup of tea.” It’s Suffrage Wagon Cooking School’s contribution to reducing the effects of cabin fever and the cold front impacting most of the nation.
In other news and commentary: We’re going into a year when it’s difficult to get much at all passed through the U.S. Congress. Various battles over voting rights are expected to set a trend in which the act of voting may become even more difficult for students, the poor andethnic minorities. At Suffrage Wagon we’re celebrating what it took to win the vote. Not even a hundred years have passed since that accomplishment. It’s expected to be a challenging year.
Meanwhile, let’s party with hot tea and sweets by inviting over our friends and family to celebrate women’s freedom to vote, although there are numerous vested interests that we stay behind in the kitchen. If so, let’s party in the kitchen and declare all attempts to suppress our vote as unacceptable.
Calendars have a relatively short shelf life in the marketplace. But it’s a close companion as the year passes. It’s still not too late to buy a 2014 Suffrage Calendar. This is the Howland Stone Store Museum’s first calendar of its type and what a treasure. See ordering information on the web site.
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During “Hot Tea Month” in January, you can watch videos about how the suffrage movement and tea were related. And while you’re at it, make a pot of hot tea, put up your feet and relax:
Find out about Alice Paul’s teahouse in Washington, DC and how it became a refuge for women who picketed the White House to win the vote for women!
Another video takes a look at suffrage tea memorabilia, plus articles by Ken Florey about how tea parties and receptions were extremely important for the movement!
There’s video special from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School on how to make a cup of hot tea.
Plus a new rap video that highlights many women’s events where you can show off your hostess skills, bake and invite friends over.
These videos will be showcased during January 2014 on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter, Facebook, or email subscription.
When Thanksgiving comes around each year, I love to cook and become the center of attention like I did at age ten.
My mother Wilma didn’t mind telling people about how she was a terrible cook. This was always accompanied by the explanation that her own mother, Edna Kearns, was a suffrage and women’s rights activist, and not a terribly good cook either. Because Edna had died when my mother was a young teen, even boiling water had been a challenge for my mom. So, in the absence of any of the other young’ins in my family stepping forward to care about Sunday dinners, I vowed to become a good cook.
Lemon meringue was a delicate and delicious dessert surprise –the one thing I could carry from the kitchen and present to everyone at the dinner table, guaranteed to evoke waves of comments and compliments.
Lemon meringue pie was lip-smacking good. Roll out the pie dough. Clean up the flour mess. Make everything from scratch. No lemon pudding mix. Not me.
I dug into the back kitchen cabinet for my mom’s double boiler to prepare the lemon custard with fresh lemons, egg yokes and sugar. Yum. Bake the pie and hold the meringue until the end. Then, beat the egg whites with sugar until they form a stuff peak and spread over the top of the baked custard pie. That’s what I remember. Place the pie back in the oven and toast to a quick brown.
“You’ll make a good wife for some man, someday,” my father said after polishing off every crumb on his plate and standing in line for more. I don’t ever remember making lemon meringue pie for any of my husbands. Nor do I ever remember them making it for me. Perhaps it’s time to search for a women’s suffrage lemon meringue pie recipe as Thanksgiving approaches. There are several great suffrage movement recipe books online. I can see my dad peeking around the corner of some heavenly cloud and wondering if I’m searching for a new husband.
Follow Marguerite’s Musings on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Postings twice a week and a newsletter four times a year. Suffrage Wagon Cooking School has yet to schedule a lesson on making lemon meringue pie. But stay tuned; you never know!
Photo of meringue by Annie Mole.
The suffrage movement or “women’s suffrage” may seem like a niche topic, yet the news items concerning Votes for Women events and activities increase by the day. Here’s a sampling:
Statewide conference planning underway for 2017 suffrage centennial of women voting in New York State by CRREO (the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach) and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at SUNY New Paltz. Yeah! #1. #2.
If Susan B. Anthony were a Disney princess. #1. #2. What would Susan B. Anthony think of secrecy in government? One commentator wonders why all the secrecy when naming an elementary school after Susan B. #1. #2. And why is the South Dakota school being named after Susan B. Anthony when another suffrage leader, Matilda Joslyn Gage, had South Dakota connections? #1. #2. Kick-Ass quotes from Susan B. Anthony. #1. #2.One upstate New York woman dresses her daughter as strong women, including Susan B. Anthony, Jane Goodall, Helen Keller. #1. #2.
Women voters will face challenges in voting because of name changes. #1. What are women voters concerned about? This commentator says that the women’s vote is essential to an election outcome, yet many political strategists still don’t understand what women really want. #1. #2. Legislation is pending in Congress (HR 863 and S. 398) that would create a Congressional Commission to identify a building site for a national women’s museum. Where do your representatives stand on this? #1. #2.
Voiceless speeches played an important role in the public relations strategies of the suffrage movement. Check out an excellent article illustrating this point. #1. #2. Kate Roosevelt and her campaign to oppose the right of women voting in New York State. #1. #2. Women in the Civil War and their role in the suffrage movement. #1. #2. Colorado women reflect on how far they’ve come as voters in the past 120 years since their suffrage movement achieved victory. #1.
A commentator from Iowa claims that suffragists like Louisa May Alcott, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and Elizabeth Cady Stanton have become household names. She makes the point that equal pay for equal work still leaves much to be desired. Her point is well taken, though it’s still debatable if the names of these individuals roll off the tongue of many Americans easily. See #1. #2.
Follow the suffrage wagon with postings twice a week and a special newsletter four times a year? Where else do you get up-to-date news about the suffrage movement, as well as today’s news and views and stories? New York History features my writing with Olivia Twine, as well as LetsRockTheCradle.com. We’re shaking up the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement. How about joining us?
An old friend, Chef Cutting, dropped by the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School to show us how to prepare fresh English scones. Check in with the link. He’s not only making them for Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, but also as a way to remember Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
November 12th is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday, and it’s also my mother Wilma’s birthday, Olivia Twine’s birthday, my goddaughter Alicia’s birthday, and I’m sure there are many more birthday celebrants out there.
Tea parties are very much part of the suffrage movement. I’ve seen photos of “Let’s Have Tea,” the statues of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony having tea, a project of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association (artist Pepsy M. Kettavong) in Rochester, NY. Seeing these sculptures for myself was a highlight of the fall 2013 LetsRockTheCradle blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY. It made me think about how the month of November is a great time to dust off the old teapot, make scones from scratch and invite friends over.
These occasions are but two reasons why Chef Cutting’s instruction on English scones from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School fits perfectly into your plans to hold a tea party. And as someone with English roots himself, Chef Cutting reminds us that the English suffragettes were great tea house enthusiasts, as were their American sisters in the movement.
Suffrage Wagon Cooking School is but one reason to follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Our 4th birthday is coming soon, and we’ll be celebrating women’s freedom to vote. Also, 2013 is the centennial year of the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon’s first journey back in 1913. This year both houses of the New York State Legislature passed a resolution designating July 1, 2013 as “Wagon Day” in the State of New York. If you missed any of this news, you’ll find highlights in the Suffrage Wagon archive.