Coffee Spice Cake

This installment of Recipes from the Archives comes from the Davidson Civic Club’s Davidson Cook Book (circa 1928), the source of some of our favorite archival recipes. Our library colleague, Sarah Crissinger, is departing Davidson for a new position at Indiana University as their Scholarly Communication Librarian, so I made Ruth Strickland Hengeveld and Kalista Wagner Hood’s “Coffee Spice Cake” for her going away party in library today.

The coffee spice cake on the snacks table during Sarah’s party, April 26, 2017.

As I’ve previously discussed on other Recipes from the Archives blogs, sometimes finding out information about women in Davidson prior to the latter half of the 20th century can be difficult – most of the cookbooks in our collection are town compilations, and the recipe contributors might only be referred to by their husband’s first and last name. This week’s subjects, listed as Mrs. Fred Hengeveld and Mrs. Frazier Hood, were particularly difficult to track down information on. However, between files on previous faculty members, alumni records, and some clips of local newspapers, I was able to piece together at least small parts of these two women’s stories.

Kalista Wagner Hood hailed from Water Valley, Mississippi, and came to Davidson in 1920 when her husband, Dr. Frazier Hood (1875 – 1944), took a position in the psychology department. Dr. Hood received a B.A. from Southwestern University (Tennessee), and went on to study at the University of Mississippi and Johns Hopkins University before receiving a Ph.D. from Yale University. Prior to joining the faculty at Davidson, Dr. Hood served as a first sergeant on the army psychology examining board during World War I and taught at Hanover College (Indiana), the University of Oklahoma, and West Tennessee Teachers’ College.

The Hoods married in 1903 and had one daughter in 1906, Kalista Hood Hart. The younger Kalista studied at St. Mary’s school in Raleigh, Le Femina in Paris, the Jessie Bonstelle School of Dramatics, and the American Academy of Dramatics and acted on Broadway before returning to Davidson and directing plays at the college. She married a Davidson alumnus, Walter Lewis Hart (Class of 1930), in 1945, and one of the upperclassmen apartment buildings on campus is named for the Harts.

Kalista Hood Hart and W. Lewis Hart are in the foreground of this group photo, taken at the 60th anniversary reunion for the class of 1930.

According to recollections written by Dr. Chalmers G. Davidson, in 1927 the Hoods “developed Davidson’s only approach to a ‘country seat.’ A mile from the college they purchased a magnificent wooded hill top and began construction of ‘Restormel,’ christened for a castle of the Hood forebears in England but connoting in the name the refuge from routine they intended despite the hurricane winds of the locality… For a lawn seat under the largest oak, they secured the first step of old Chambers Building (1859) when the portico was razed in 1927.” After her husband’s death. Mrs. Hood built a new home closer to the center of town, on Concord Road. Mrs. Hood attended Washington College in Maryland, and was an active member of the Booklovers’ Club, as well as contributing recipes to the Civic Club’s cookbook. She passed away in 1960.

“Restormel,” the Hood family home from the late 1920s until the late 1940s.

Ruth Strickland Hengeveld moved to Davidson in 1921, after marrying Fred W. “Dutch” Hengeveld (Class of 1918), who coached the basketball and baseball teams at the college in the early 1920s, and served as the college Registrar from 1922 until 1967 and as the Director of Admissions from 1946 to 1967. She hailed from Waycross, Georgia, which was also the hometown of her husband. The Hengevelds had two children, Virginia Hengeveld O’ Harra and Fred W. “Little Dutch” Hengeveld, Jr. (Class of 1951). The family lived on the corner of Concord Road and College Drive for many years, and Ruth Hengeveld passed away in 1970.

The Hengeveld family in 1963. From left to right: Mike O’Harra, Bill O’Harra, Fred W. Hengeveld III, Virginia Hengeveld O’Harra, Ruth Strickland Hengeveld, Anne Lowe Hengeveld, Fred W. Hengeveld, Fred W. Hengeveld, Jr., and Steve O’Harra.

Kalista Hood and Ruth Hengeveld’s coffee spice cake is a simple recipe, and its coffee flavor is subtle. It stood out from the other spice cake recipes in the cookbook due to the use of coffee – I brewed Cafe Britt’s Costa Rican Poas Tierra Volcanica blend for the 3/4 cup of cold coffee needed.

Hengeveld and Hood’s Coffee Spice Cake recipe, 1928.

Like many recipes from the Civic Club’s Davidson Cook Book, directions are sparse – since a baking temperature wasn’t given I set my oven for 350° and checked the cake every five minutes or so. Because I don’t have a good loaf pan, I used a sheet, which I think sped up the baking process since the cake was thinner. Overall, folks at Sarah’s going away party gave rave reviews – although the cake is very simple, it’s also very tasty!

The completed Coffee Spice Cake – very simple, but very tasty!

Danish Glogg

This installment of Recipes from the Archives is a festive winter punch from Davidson Senior Center’s 1985 printing of The Davidson Cookbook. – Bob Sailstad’s “Danish Glogg.”

Davidson Senior Services (later the Davidson Senior Center) opened September 1977 in the railroad depot building on Jackson Street. The Center sponsored programs, such as an income tax assistance service and a Senior/Student Friendship program, organized day trips, connected volunteers with seniors, put out a yearly newsletter (Tracks), and published three printings of a cookbook (The Davidson Cookbook). The Center closed in spring 2004.

Robert J. “Bob” Sailstad (1915-1998) worked as the Director of Development (1948-1949) and then Assistant to the President and the Director of Public Relations and Development (1955-1968) at Davidson College. After leaving the College he went on to serve at the Director of Educational Affairs and Public Information for The Duke Endowment (1968-1982). He received a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Minnesota, where he met his wife, Patricia Kreis Sailstad. Patricia had worked as a dental hygienist and preschool teacher in Minnesota, and when she moved to Davidson she continued teaching and also helped found the St. Alban’s Play School and the Davidson-Cornelius Day Care Center. Both Bob and Patricia were active members of the Davidson Senior Center.

Bob Sailstad's Senior Center portrait, as photographed by Frank Bliss.

Bob Sailstad’s Senior Center portrait, as photographed by Frank Bliss.

Glogg, a variety of mulled wine and spirits, appears relatively unchanged in the last few centuries. Sailstad’s glogg makes “14 Danish servings,” so I decided to invite a few folks over to make the warm, wintery punch and then consume some of it.

Bob Sailsted's Danish Glogg

Bob Sailstad’s Danish Glogg recipe.

Glogg heating on my stove, complete with orange slices.

Glogg heating on my stove, complete with floating orange slices.

Glogg is very simple to make, although if you choose to adapt this recipe make to have a large party to share it – Bob Sailstad’s glogg is very strong, and this makes over two dozen servings!

Jan Blodgett (College Archivists and Records Management Coordinator), Roman Utkin (Assistant Professor of Russian Studies), and Caroline Fache (Associate Professor of French & Francophone Studies) enjoy the archival glogg.

Jan Blodgett (College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator), Roman Utkin (Assistant Professor of Russian Studies), and Caroline Fache (Associate Professor of French & Francophone Studies) enjoy the archival glogg.

Sassy Spice Cake

For this installment of Recipes from the Archives, I chose to make “Sassy Spice Cake,” contributed by “Mrs. J.P. Stowe” to the 1965 The Village Cook Book: Recipes from the P.T.A. Pantry, Davidson, North Carolina. The members of Davidson’s Parent-Teacher Association gathered recipes from townswomen compiled the cookbook as a fundraiser for Davidson Elementary School.

I selected this recipe because of it’s fun title, and because it had some similarities with election cake recipes. Election cakes, as laid out in a Bon Appétit story on their history, were an American tradition at the polls in the days of the Early Republic. While our archival collections do not contain any election cake recipes, Sassy Spice Cake contains some of the same ingredients and flavors, so it seemed an apropos choice.

The cover of the 1965 PTA cookbook.

The cover of the 1965 PTA cookbook.

Finding out more about Mrs. J.P. Stowe proved to be difficult – she didn’t appear in any of our human resources records, and I couldn’t find any relatives who had graduated from or worked at Davidson College. However, some creative Internet searching led me to an obituary on obitcentral.com that seems to match:

“Agnes F. Honeycutt Stowe of Davidson died Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2001 at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center.

Born Jan. 9, 1923 in Stony Point, to the late James Ray and Minnie Triplett Foy, she was a member of Davidson United Methodist Church. For many years she worked at Laney’s Fish Camp. She founded Aggie ‘J’ Originals and was one of the first three cross-stitch designers.

Survivors include her sons, Tommy Honeycutt of Davidson and Tim Honeycutt of Charlotte; a daughter, Sandra H. Boyd of Davidson; a brother, Frank L. Foy of Virginia; sisters, Peggy F. Pender of Huntersville and Minnie Rae Barker of Denver; eight grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

Husbands, James Monroe Honeycutt and J.P. Stowe; son, James H. Honeycutt, Jr.; b[r]others, James and Joseph Foy, and sister, Sue F. Howard preceded her in death.

Funeral services were Saturday, Nov. 17 at Davidson United Methodist Church. Interment followed at the Mimosa Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 1229 Greenwood Cliff, Suite 109, Charlotte, N.C. 28204.”

Anges Foy Honeycutt Stowe is most likely the same “Mrs. J.P. Stowe” – U.S. Census Bureau data shows that in 1940, then 17 year old Agnes lived in Davidson with her first husband, James Monroe Honeycutt, in the same house as her mother Minnie and younger siblings. Laney’s Fish Camp, mentioned in the obituary as Agnes’ longtime employer, was a fried fish restaurant in Mooresville that closed in 2013.

Library Serials Assistant and longtime Davidson resident Mittie Wally mentioned that she’d met Agnes Stowe and that she was a great cook. She also confirmed that Agnes husband was “in a roundabout way related to Stowe’s Corner” – the triangular shaped building on Main Street that currently houses Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse, and used to contain a gas station owned by the Stowe family.

Agnes Stowe's Sassy Spice Cake recipe.

Agnes Stowe’s Sassy Spice Cake recipe.

The Sassy Spice Cake recipe is fairly simple, and I followed it to the letter with the exception of the pan shape – I chose to make the cake in a bundt pan instead of an “oblong cake pan,” since it was more reminiscent of the election cake recipe put out by OWL Bakery. The icing is definitely “not a stiff frosting”; it’s more like a glaze.

The final product!

The final product!

I shared the Sassy Spice Cake with the rest of the library staff, to rave reviews – several staff members have said they saved the recipe to make at home for the holidays.

Gingerale Fruit Salad

For this installment of Recipes from the Archives, I made Mary Black’s “Gingerale Fruit Salad” from the Davidson Civic Club’s Davidson Cook Book (circa 1928). The Davidson Cook Book has been the source of the some of our favorite archival recipes, including the Misses Scofield’s Ice Box Pudding #1. The Davidson Civic Club (1911 – 1959; Davidson Civic League from 1952) was founded to promote “a well-kept household and a place for good and pleasant living” in Davidson.

The Black family home, on Concord Road (circa 1987).

The Black family home, on Concord Road (circa 1987).

Mary Caldwell Black (1899 – 1989) moved to Davidson with her parents Dr. James C. and Emma Black, sister Emma, and five brothers in 1918, so that her brothers could attend Davidson College – John McKinley Black graduated from Davidson in 1918, Robert Lawson Black in 1922, William Morton Black in 1926, and Samuel Lacy Black graduated in 1929. All four were football stars while in college, and William was a member of the 1926 State Championship team. Their brother James C. Black, Jr. graduated from North Carolina State University.

Mary and Ellen both attended Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, North Carolina, as part of the 1922 and 1923 classes respectively. Coverage of town news in The Davidsonian makes it clear that both sisters were active in the social scene of Davidson, with Ellen performing a high jump at field games during “Senior Christian Endeavor Expert Class” on campus in March 1924, and Mary playing “the Spirit of Mexico” during a pageant in February 1923. Both women were active in bible study groups in college at Red Springs and in Davidson, and Mary was a longtime member of town book club The Tuesday Club. She gave a lecture on the history of religion in Davidson at The Tuesday Club’s November 1959 meeting; a copy of this speech is in the club’s archival records. Ellen lived in New York City for many years and took a nursing training course at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, but moved back to Davidson and into the family home with her sister by the 1980s. Both sisters then moved to The Pines.

This March 30, 1987 Davidsonian article on Mary Black provides insight into her life in Davidson.

This March 30, 1987 Davidsonian article on Mary Black provides insight into her life in Davidson.

Mary Black was interviewed by Nelle McCorkle ’87 for The Davidsonian, which included some lively reflections on Davidson College and town in the 1910s and ’20s:

“While her brothers attended Davidson, Black and her family frequently entertained their student friends. ‘I’ve always lived with a whole lot of men here,’ she said. ‘Some called this the Kappa Sigma Hotel… One Sunday my brother said, ‘Who slept in the front room last night?’ I said, ‘I don’t know; I thought it was a friend of yours.’ He said, ‘I thought you knew him.’ Before dark, here came a friend of ours who said he wanted to thank his hosts. He said he just looked around ’til he found an empty bed and got in it.'”

Mary also gave some insight on what it was it was like for women to take classes at Davidson College while it was still a men’s college:

“Although her brothers all enrolled at Davidson (four graduated from Davidson; one graduated from North Carolina State University), Black never attended Davidson classes. She said of the college attitude toward women who asked to attend classes at that time, ‘It wasn’t very pleasant really. They didn’t give them any recognition – no diplomas, no certificates, some of the people in town went for two years and then went somewhere else. They couldn’t take all the courses – some of the professors just wouldn’t have girls in class.”

Perhaps the most interesting archival trace of the Black family are the records we have of Mary Black’s travels – Mary and fellow Davidsonian Mary Richards spent 1923-24 studying at Oxford and traipsing around Europe. Mary Richards attended Converse College, was an English teacher in Mocksville, Mebane, and Davidson. The two Marys sailed for England on October 6, 1923.

One of the fascinating pieces of ephemera in the Black collection is this pamphlet from the United States Lines: "What's going on in Europe in 1923."

One of the fascinating pieces of ephemera in the Black collection is this pamphlet from the United States Lines: “What’s going on in Europe in 1923.”

Mary Black's reader's ticket for the Oxford Public Library, "to be renewed before 18 Oct 1924."

Mary Black’s reader’s ticket for the Oxford Public Library, “to be renewed before 18 Oct 1924.”

A card admitting Mary Black "to the lectures of Professor Gordon on 'The Seventeenth Century' in Michaelmas Term, 1923."

A card admitting Mary Black “to the lectures of Professor Gordon on ‘The Seventeenth Century’ in Michaelmas Term, 1923.”

Mary Richards' planned itinerary for a portion of the Marys European adventures.

Mary Richards’ planned itinerary for a portion of the Marys European adventures.

Mary's train ticket for her return to Davidson, via Charlotte.

Mary’s train ticket for her return to Davidson, via Charlotte.

Mary Black later took trips to Canada and the western United States, and we have some ephemera from those travels as well. The Canadian trip included a visit to Boswell’s, “Canada’s First Brewery,” Quebec City, and Montreal. Her western trip spanned several states and included stops at the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Yellowstone.

A suggested itinerary from one of Mary Black's later travels - this one is for a west coast trip.

A suggested itinerary from one of Mary Black’s later travels – this one is for a west coast trip.

A few stickers from Yellowstone Park, likely picked up on her western U.S. trip.

A few stickers from Yellowstone Park, likely picked up on her western U.S. trip.

I chose Mary Black’s “Gingerale Fruit Salad” for two reasons – I felt it was time that I tackled a gelatin salad recipe since we have so many in our archival collections, and I was intrigued by the travel ephemera of Mary Black, so choosing her recipe allowed me to look further into her collection and her background.

Mary Black's 1920's "Gingerale Fruit Salad" recipe.

Mary Black’s 1920’s “Gingerale Fruit Salad” recipe.

The recipe was simple to follow – essentially, boil the juice and melt sugar and gelatin into it, then mix everything else together, place in a mold, and pop it in the fridge to set. I chose to use Whole Foods 365 ginger ale and Granny Smith apples, as those are my favorite types of soda and apples respectively and the recipe did not specify. I also used crystallized ginger in place of preserved ginger, since my coworker Sharon Byrd (Special Collections Outreach Librarian) had some crystallized ginger at home that she contributed to the cooking effort.

The finished product, before and after un-molding!

The finished product, before and after un-molding!

I am pleased with how the fruit salad turned out, although the next time I attempt a molded gelatin recipe, I will look into decorating it in a more traditional fashion. A bed of lettuce and some parsley in the center may have spruced up this effort, but Mary Black’s recipe did not give decoration instructions as some of the other recipes do. Overall, an easy gelatin recipe from a fascinating woman of Davidson’s past!

Pumpkin Dessert Squares

Last week, Davidson freshmen ran the Cake Race – a Davidson tradition that dates back to 1930. According to an article in the November 13, 1930 issue of The Davidsonian, “It is intended that the first cake race held this year will set a precedent for future Freshman classes, and that in the future it will become an annual and looked forward to event in the yearly routine of the Freshman classes.”

The first cake race also saw the setting of "a new college cake race record," naturally.

The first cake race also saw the setting of “a new college cake race record,” naturally.

Track coach Heath “Pete” Whittle (Class of 1930) is responsible for beginning the Cake Race at Davidson when he began working in the athletics department in 1930. Whittle would stay in charge of the track team and serve as an Assistant Director of Athletics until 1971. The purpose was for Whittle to scout new running talent for the track team, and the cakes were the motivation for then mandatory race. Cakes baked by faculty spouses and townswomen were not the only prizes – students could also claim a number of items donated by local businesses.

Cakes are solicited from College employees and townspeople alike, as this 1990 memo shows.

Cakes are solicited from College employees and townspeople alike, as this 1990 memo shows. I heeded the helpful hint to use a disposable container for my cake.

Now the Cake Race is a voluntary event, with a fixed distance of 1.7 miles. The race wasn’t held in 1931-1933, 1941-1949, or 1972, as interest seemed to have waned, but upperclassmen insisted on the return of the race the following year and the 1.7 mile rite of passage has remained ever since. Sterling Martin (Class of 1963), a former winner of the Cake Race and organizer of the event from 1972 until the mid-1990s, said “The upperclassmen had a fit… they said they had to go through it, so they wanted to see everybody else run it. The next year we reinstated the race.” (Davidson Journal, Fall/Winter 1987) A few other colleges and universities have held cake races, and Georgia Tech’s also seems to have been tied to scouting new runners for the track and cross country teams, but it isn’t known whether Whittle was inspired by cake races at other institutions.

Sterling Martin selects a cake as his prize for winning the 1959 cake race.

Sterling Martin selects a cake as his prize for winning the 1959 cake race.

A group of freshmen women in the class of 1989 pose with their hard-earned cakes, August 1985.

A group of freshmen women in the class of 1989 pose with their hard-earned cakes, August 1985.

When Daisy Southerland married Pete Whittle in 1933, she too joined the Cake Race tradition. Daisy Whittle (1906-1991) hailed from Mobile, Alabama, and worked as the Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, prior to moving to Davidson. Once established in town, Daisy ran a nursery school out of the Whittle family home, was active in the Davidson College Presbyterian Church, and made cakes for every class of freshmen until at least 1987. Although Pete Whittle passed away in 1975, Daisy continued attending the annual Cake Race and was active in the Davidson Senior Center.

Daisy Whittle presents a cake to a winning racer in 1963.

Daisy Whittle presents a cake to a winning racer in 1963.

As Daisy described in the Davidson Journal Fall/Winter 1987 issue, “I don’t think I’ve ever missed a race… I’ve made cakes every year, and my daughters helped when they were in high school. The cakes were usually chocolate, because that’s my favorite.” This year, to honor Daisy’s legacy and celebrate a new class of Davidson freshmen, I selected one of her recipes to make for the 2016 Cake Race and for this installment of our Recipes From the Archives blog series. Unfortunately, we don’t have any of her chocolate cake recipes in our collections, but Daisy did submit a recipe for Pumpkin Dessert Squares to the Davidson Senior Center’s 1985 printing of The Davidson Cookbook.

Daisy Whittle's Senior Center portrait, taken by Frank Bliss.

Daisy Whittle’s Senior Center portrait, taken by Frank Bliss circa 1980.

As the Davidson Journal‘s Fall/Winter 1987 issue states, “there are several competitions going on here – one involving the 140 freshmen running the 1.7-mile race, and another fiercer contest among the cake bakers waiting and watching to see whose cake will be picked first.” Daisy Whittle’s cakes have long been picked early in the selection process – racers are given place cards as they cross the finish line, and select cakes by that placement, alternating between men and women winners. Utensils are handed out, so cake eating can begin right away.

Daisy Whittle's recipe

The Pumpkin Dessert Squares I made for this year’s Cake Race.

I followed Daisy’s recipe to the letter, with the exception of cutting the cake into squares and serving with whipped cream. I assumed the whipped cream wouldn’t hold up in the August heat of North Carolina, as cakes are placed outside an hour or so before the race begins. Instead I sprinkled a little bit of powdered sugar on top of the cake, and constructed a festive, inedible banner topping in order to make the cake more appealing to the runners.

Some this year's cake spread - one photograph can't capture all of the cakes!

Some this year’s cake spread – one photograph can’t capture all of the cakes!

My version of Daisy's Pumpkin Dessert, with "Welcome Wildcats" banner topper!

My version of Daisy’s Pumpkin Dessert, with “Welcome Wildcats” banner topper!

As Alex Hunger (Class of 2009) said in a 2005 Charlotte Observer article on the Cake Race, “I’ve never had to work this hard for a cake… running for (cake) definitely makes it more worth eating.” I hope all of the members of the Class of 2020 enjoyed their cake-filled welcome to Davidson!

Salade Niçoise

It’s time for another Recipe from the Archives – summer salad edition! This week’s recipe is Dr. Catherine Slawy-Sutton’s Salade Niçoise, from Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.

The cover of

The cover of Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.

As mentioned in the “Better Than the M & M’s Pimento Cheese” post, the Office Support Staff was born out of an earlier group known as The Chambermaids – a reference to the statues on Chambers Building, where most of the administrative staff worked, and a reference to the fact that the offices were almost entirely staffed by women. The Chambermaids, renamed the Office Support Staff (OSS) in 1982, was aimed at fostering professional development, advocating for needed changes on behalf of staff, and providing opportunities for social engagement. During the 1990-1991 academic year, the OSS compiled Though Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook as a fundraiser. Recipes were solicited from across all areas of campus.

Members of Office Support Staff in Fall 1989. 1st row: (from left to right) Jeanne Mandt, Jane Biggerstaff, Judi Murphy, Ann Callahan, Pat Snow, Mary Wilson, Barbara Mayer, Pat Richart, Mittie Wally; 2nd row: (from left to right) Pat Gardner, Mary Mack Benson, Glenda Erwin, Kristi Mayhew, Cheryl Branz, Jean Martin, Ethel Black, Katrina French, Frances White; 3rd row: (from left to right) Diann Cavin, Gail Hoke, Aileen Vinson, Harriet Kessler, Sara Paige Lewis, Barbara Carmack, Pat Burgess, Frances McCorkle, Jo Archie, Joan Franz, Gail Sloop, Brenda King, Sarah Jackson.

Members of Office Support Staff in Fall 1989. First row, from left to right: Jeanne Mandt, Jane Biggerstaff, Judi Murphy, Ann Callahan, Pat Snow, Mary Wilson, Barbara Mayer, Pat Richart, and Mittie Wally. Second row: Pat Gardner, Mary Mack Benson, Glenda Erwin, Kristi Mayhew, Cheryl Branz, Jean Martin, Ethel Black, Katrina French, and Frances White. Third row: Diann Cavin, Gail Hoke, Aileen Vinson, Harriet Kessler, Sara Paige Lewis, Barbara Carmack, Pat Burgess, Frances McCorkle, Jo Archie, Joan Franz, Gail Sloop, Brenda King, and Sarah Jackson.

The recipe I chose to make, Salade Niçoise, was submitted by Catherine Slawy-Sutton, Professor of French & Francophone Studies at Davidson. Born in Angoulême, France and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Catherine received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Nice and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington. She began working at Davidson College as Visiting Lecturer in 1980, moving to Assistant Professor in 1985, Associate Professor in 1991, and Professor in 1999. Catherine is married to recently retired French & Francophone Studies Professor Homer Sutton (Class of 1971), and the two professors have accompanied Davidson students on several study abroad programs in France.

Catherine Slawy-Sutton in 1997, from that year's Quips and Cranks.

Catherine Slawy-Sutton in 1997, from that year’s Quips and Cranks.

Since Catherine studied in Nice, I assumed she’d know a good Salade Niçoise! I hadn’t yet made a salad for Recipes from the Archives, and this hearty provençal staple seemed like a perfect fit. As Catherine describes it in the Great Expectations cookbook, “This is a recipe for a consistent summer salad.”

Catherine

Catherine’s recipe for Salade Niçoise and “ze reeal French Salad Dressing” vinaigrette that accompanies it.

I purchased oil-packed tuna in order to get the best flavor, and used tomatoes recently gifted to me by Davidson’s Systems Librarian, Susan Kerr, who grew them in her home garden. With boiling the potatoes and hard boiling the eggs, the preparation time for the salad was a bit longer, but completing the recipe was very easy, and the results are delicious!

Salade Niçoise with vinaigrette on the side.

The finished Salade Niçoise, with vinaigrette on the side.

Potato Poories

For this installment of Recipes from the Archives, I went back to the Athenaeum Book Club’s 1965-66 “Culinary Customs Around the World” cookbook, and chose Ruby Alexander’s “Potato Poories.”

The Athenaeum Club is one of several Davidson women’s book discussion groups, and although its date of founding is unknown, the Davidson College Archives holds materials on the club dating from the early 1950s until 2013. According to the club’s 1952 Constitution and By-Laws, the purpose of the Athenaeum Club is “to promote fellowship and mutual improvement of the members through the study and sharing of ideas.” Members would routinely select two books to host discussions for each year, and for the 1965 – 1966 year, members selected a theme of Culinary Customs Around the World – when a member would host a book discussion, they would also make a few dishes from a country or region of their choosing.

Recipes compiled from Athenaeum Book Club members for the 1965-1966

Cookbook compiled from Athenaeum Book Club members’ recipes for the 1965 – 1966 year.

According to book club minutes, members chose to make dishes reminiscent of “China, Persia, Mexico, Holland, South Africa, India, Ireland, Russia, Sweden, France, Pakistan, Hawaii, and Lebanon.” Each member was also expected to bring a dish from the country or region to the club’s Christmas party. Minutes also show that each book club meeting usually included some sort of presentation on region chosen, either by the book club member hosting or by an invited guest. While I’m not an expert on cooking by any means, my impression of the cookbook was that the recipes were more “inspired by” than necessarily accurate to the regional cuisine chosen by each member – recipes may have been clipped or adapted from magazines or other cookbooks, which was common practice.

alexandercollege1

The cover of the notebook used for recording minutes for the 1965-66 year of meetings, and the book list showing each member’s selection for their first book.

Ruby Alexander was a member of the Athenaeum Book Club from 1965 until at least 2013. Information on Ruby is sparse – from book club programs I was able to gather that another member of the club was her mother-in-law, Mildred Cashion Alexander (1917 – 2012). Mildred was also a long-time member of the Athenaeum Club, beginning in the early 1950s and continuing to be active until her death in 2012. Mildred was married to James B. Alexander, Sr., who graduated from Davidson College in 1938 and started the Alexander Trucking Company in town.  Ruby married their son, James B. Alexander, Jr., although I couldn’t find anything more in our records on Ruby specifically. However, James B., Jr. and Ruby Alexander are still residents of Davidson.

Ruby chose Pakistan as her theme for the Athenaeum Book Club’s cookbook. I chose Ruby’s “Potato Poories” because I was intrigued by the recipe – in the cookbook, it includes the subtitle “Delicious deep-fat bread rounds, greasy fingers, but so good you’ll lick them.” That sounded pretty good to me, and as we have a new staff member starting today (Alison Bradley, our new Collection Development Librarian), I decided to make “potato poories” for her welcome party.

Ruby Alexander's "potato poories" recipe.

Ruby Alexander’s “potato poories” recipe.

Making the “potato poories” turned out to be more of a logistical challenge than many of the recipes I’ve made from our archival collections before. Because they’re fried, I couldn’t follow my usual routine of making the recipe at home and bringing the resulting treats into work the next day. My coworker Jan Blodgett suggested I fry the poories at work, using a fondue pot. I made the called-for two packages of instant mashed potatoes at home, combined with flour, prepared the dough patties and stored them in the fridge overnight. Then, this morning, I fried the patties in our staff break room in the fondue pot.

Left: fondue pot frying setup (thanks to Davidson College's Technical Director/Scenographer Neil Reda for letting us borrow one of his fondue pots!). Right: the finished product.

Left: fondue frying setup (thanks to Davidson College’s Technical Director/Scenographer Neil Reda for letting us borrow one of his fondue pots!). Right: the finished product.

I used canola oil instead of fat, so that the recipe would be vegetarian-friendly. My finished product turned out differently than I was expecting – I made more of an ersatz latke or rosti than a poori. I learned a few things during the cooking process:

  1. I have no idea what the consistency of yeast dough is. Ruby’s recipe did not specify an amount of flour; rather, flour is added to the mashed potatoes “until mixture is soft and elastic like yeast dough.” I’ve never made bread, so I basically added flour until the consistency seemed different than regular old mashed potatoes. Since my “potato poories” never floated on top of the oil – they were too dense – I think I needed to add much, much more flour to this mixture.
  2. If you’re going to prep patties of dough the night before, you should use bakery release or parchment paper to separate the patties. I used tinfoil because I didn’t have baking parchment at home, and removing the patties was a gigantic pain – many of my “poories” were oddly shaped because of this.
  3. An electric fondue pot is actually a really great option for stove top frying. Because the sides are high, I didn’t have any issues with oil spatter, and the pot may have been hotter than using a pan on top of a stove. I would definitely recommend a fondue pot for all of your home frying needs!

While my “potato poories” may have been different than both Ruby Alexander’s and a Pakistani puri, it was still very delicious! I would make these again, perhaps just as a potato pancake, and experiment with adding more ingredients.

Luscious Brownies

For this installment in the Recipes From the Archives blog series, I made Marjorie McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies,” featured in the Davidson Senior Center’s 1985 printing of The Davidson Cookbook.

Marjorie Munn McCutchan (1903 – 1998) was born in Iowa, and received B.A./B. Music from Tarkio College in Missouri. After completing her studies, she taught at the American Mission School for Girls in Assiut, Egypt. While in Egypt, she met her husband, John Wilson McCutchan (Davidson College Class of 1931, faculty in the English department from 1951 to 1961), and they married in 1936. John Wilson McCutchan (1909 – 1966) taught at Assiut College in Egypt, Queens College (now Queens University of Charlotte), Davidson College, and University of Waterloo in Ontario. By 1961, the McCutchans had divorced and J.W. married again, to Betty Combs Ellington.

Marjorie, John Wilson, and their two daughters (Marjorie Ann McCutchan Clark and Mary Caroline McCutchan Henry) moved to Davidson in 1951. After her divorce, Marjorie spent the 1960s living in Philadelphia, where she attained a M.S. in library science from Drexel University and then worked as a librarian at the Board of Christian Education, United Presbyterian Church. After moving back to Davidson in 1969, Marjorie served as the Acting Head of Reference and Personnel at the Davidson College Library from 1972 to 1974.

"Dr. Beaty, Ms. , and Dr. Park stand together in front of book Stacks in Grey Memorial Library." Circa 1972

Mary Beaty, Marjorie McCutchan, and Leland Park in front of stacks in the Grey Memorial Library, circa 1972.

In addition to her teaching and library work, McCutchan worked as a piano instructor and was very active in the local Presbyterian community, serving as the first woman elder at the Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC). She  was one of the first residents to move into The Pines, the local retirement community, in 1988, and also was a member of the Davidson Senior Center. When photographed by Frank Bliss for the Davidson Senior Center, she wrote on her portrait information sheet that she “Returned to America at time of 2nd World War on S.S. Aquitania via Australia then to California, so I’ve been around the world.”

She donated funds to the library in 1988, establishing the Marjorie McCutchan Fund, which has allowed to library to purchase 80 titles.

Senior Center portrait of McCutchan, by Frank Bliss, cicrca 1980.

Senior Center portrait of McCutchan, by Frank Bliss, circa 1980.

I chose to make McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies” for the retirement party of my library colleague, Jean Coates. I selected the recipe because it sounded delicious, and making one former Davidson librarian’s recipe to celebrate the retirement of another Davidson librarian seemed very apropos.

Marjorie McCutchan's "Luscious Brownies" recipe in the 1985

Marjorie McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies” recipe in the 1985 Davidson Cookbook.

I didn’t deviate from this recipe very much – I was even able to use Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk! I made two batches of these brownies, one with walnuts and one without. The texture of these brownies is different than what I’m used to – the condensed milk and crushed graham crackers made the batter very thick and much harder to pour than I was expecting. I also ended up using a muffin pan to make the batches of brownies, since I didn’t have a metal pan of an appropriate size on hand. The most onerous and time-consuming part of the process was crushing the graham crackers – I broke the crackers into smaller pieces and then smushed them with a meat tenderizer to end up with a finely crushed product. I would recommend melting the chocolate chips prior to mixing the ingredients, a step McCutchan didn’t mention.

The finished product, topped with powdered sugar.

The finished product, topped with powdered sugar.

The "Luscious Brownies," amongst other goodies made for the retirement party!

The “Luscious Brownies,” amongst other goodies made for the retirement party!

Overall, this recipe was a crowd-pleaser – I was even asked for the recipe by one faculty member who sampled them!

Beacon Hill Cookies

When we began our Recipes from the Archives blog series a year ago, the Archives & Special Collections team had a few aims: we wanted to experiment with a new way of making our archival collections accessible and interesting, and we (well, mostly me) wanted to learn more about historic cooking and connect with small town southern culture. But it wasn’t lost on us that the vast majority of the recipes in our collections come from women – in fact, shining a spotlight on the women of Davidson was an explicit goal. March is Women’s History Month, so it’s an excellent time to reflect on how our archival cooking experiment has been going since the first entry in March 2015 (Ice Box Pudding #1), and share some of the research challenges we’ve encountered.

For this week’s recipe, I revisited the 1965 The Village Cook Book: Recipes from the P.T.A. Pantry, Davidson, North Carolina and selected Elizabeth Proctor’s “Beacon Hill Cookies.” The members of Davidson’s Parent-Teacher Association gathered recipes from women in the town and compiled a cookbook as a fundraiser for an American flag for the auditorium and a recorder and filmstrips for the library of Davidson Elementary School.

"PTA Cookbooks To Buy School American Flag," from the February 25, 1965 issue of the Mecklenburg Gazette.

“PTA Cookbooks To Buy School American Flag,” from the February 25, 1965 issue of the Mecklenburg Gazette.

The PTA’s Village Cookbook was organized by and contributed to solely by women, and one of the challenges our team faces when selecting recipes is figuring out who each individual woman was. If she was married, the recipe-contributor is generally referred to by her husband’s last name and first and middle initials. Many of the women active in town organizations that compiled cookbooks were wives of faculty members, and their records are the easiest to uncover – we have employment records and reference files for all past faculty members, which often includes information about and pictures of the faculty member’s spouse. We have other sources to gather further information about spouses of faculty members, as well as women living in the town who had no employment connection to Davidson College – the published histories of the town and college (Cornelia Shaw’s Davidson College, Mary Beaty’s A History of Davidson College, and Jan Blodgett and Ralph Levering’s One Town, Many Voices) often includes stories about women whose names crop up in our cookbooks, and if the individual was active in town clubs or societies, we can often learn more about her through the manuscript records we have from the town Civic Club, Senior Center, or one of the town book clubs.

In the case of this week’s recipe-submitter, Elizabeth Proctor, information was harder to find. The Proctor family collection consists of two letters, one to Elizabeth from her mother, and one from her brother G.D. Proctor to their mother. There is not a lot of information about the family – we know that members of the family lived on South Main Street from roughly 1919 until at least 1965. Elizabeth’s name did not come up in any of my searches through town club rosters, or in any of the Davidson histories.

G.D. Proctor's letter to his mother in Davidson, October 1941.

G.D. Proctor’s letter to his mother in Davidson, October 1941.

The two letters themselves also do not reveal much information – G.D.P. sent a letter to his mother from the Veteran’s Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia on October 8, 1941. The letter contains interesting tidbits about war games across North Carolina in advance of the U.S.’s entry into World War II, and contains references to his sister, Elizabeth:

“I hope Lizzie can get my book – tho I doubt that it can be found, since more than 100 years have elapsed since it was published. I received the magazine that Lizzie sends me – and am glad to get it… Lizzie stated that you had trouble with your head in the mornings. Writes, GDP Received Lizzie’s letters”

The other letter in our collection is from Mrs. Proctor to Elizabeth, sent April 16, 1951 from Alexandria, Virginia. The contents of the letter concerned buying clothing for Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s health – her mother mentions a fever and the cold weather possibly being to blame.

The envelope from the April 1951 letter from Mrs. Proctor to Elizabeth.

The envelope from the April 1951 letter from Mrs. Proctor to Elizabeth – note the P.O. box, as going to the town post office to collect mail has remained a tradition in Davidson today.

Outside of these letters, we know very little about the Proctor family. The 1920 census tells us that Elizabeth’s parent’s were Adolphus R. and Phinny R., and her father worked as a carpenter. The rest of the family consisted of her older brother Shirley R., and younger siblings Cynthia E., Dewy G. (likely the G.D.P. from the letter in our collections), Janice M., Sidney E., and Helen C. All family members were listed as being born in North Carolina, and Elizabeth and Cynthia both gave their occupations as teachers at the “graded school.” By 1930, the census only records Adolphus, Phinny, Elizabeth, Janice, and Sidney as living in Davidson, and Elizabeth no longer listed a profession. Elizabeth was 32 in 1930, making her probable birth year 1898.

Other news that made it into town/college newspapers and notes from Mary Beaty’s A History of Davidson College: Sidney Proctor made the fifth grade honor roll in 1919; in November 1922, Elizabeth’s younger sister Helen participated in a Girl Scouts entertainment; in March 1923 Elizabeth visited “friends and relatives in Denver” (likely Denver, North Carolina, from The Davidsonian); and in 1926 Helen Proctor attended “Eastern Carolina Training School at Greenville, SC” (Also from The Davidsonian, possibly referring to the forerunner of East Carolina University, the East Carolina Teachers Training School in Greenville, NC). Records of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church list Elizabeth and a Mrs. G.D. Proctor as members. We also came across references to the family phone number through copies of Southern Bell Telephone Company records.

Miss Elizabeth Proctor's recipe for Beacon Hill Cookies.

Miss Elizabeth Proctor’s recipe for Beacon Hill Cookies.

I chose to make Elizabeth Proctor’s recipe for Beacon Hill Cookies from the PTA cookbook because I was intrigued by the title of the cookie – I used to live in Boston, and worked in Beacon Hill for nearly two years. Unfortunately, I ran into similar dead ends when exploring the history of Beacon Hill Cookies as when our team was investigating the Proctor family. It was difficult to track down references to the recipe and its history, although my coworker Sharon Byrd did find a mention of  Nabisco producing a cookie called “Beacon Hill” on the Cambridge Historical Society’s “The History of Candy Making in Cambridge” page. It’s likely that the Nabisco Beacon Hill Cookies are the same or similar to the recipe that Elizabeth Proctor was making in Davidson.

My Beacon Hill Cookies, in a Tupperware and on a plate.

My Beacon Hill Cookies, in a Tupperware and on a plate.

Beacon Hill Cookies are very easy to make – the meringue style cookies have very few ingredients and a short baking time. I used walnuts as the chopped nuts in my version, since Elizabeth Proctor’s recipe doesn’t specify a type of nut. My cookies turned out very flat, so I think I didn’t beat the egg white-sugar mixture for a long enough period of time. However, despite being flat and misshapen, the Beacon Hill Cookies do taste very good!

I hope that sharing our research process and the lack of information about some of the townswomen in Davidson illustrated a point – writing women’s history and telling women’s stories often requires reading against the grain and looking for references to women and their lives in unexpected places. While the Davidson College Archives & Special Collections often has rich materials on local women, particularly spouses of faculty members who were active in the local book clubs, finding out information about women of color, unmarried women, and women not active in town organizations can be difficult or impossible. For all our work digging up references to the Proctor family, we still don’t know when Elizabeth Proctor passed away, or any details of her life before her family moved to Davidson (circa 1919). The Recipes from the Archives blog series has certainly served as a way for me to learn more about women in Davidson from the 1920s until the 1990s, and to learn more about how food was made during that time period, and I hope it’s done the same for our readers!

Better Than the M & M’s Pimento Cheese

Time for another edition of our Recipes from the Archives blog series – week’s dish is Gail Gibson’s “Better than the M&M’s Pimento Cheese” from Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.

The cover of

The cover of Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.

The Office Support Staff organization was born out of a long tradition of social groups founded by women staff members at Davidson College – in the 1950s, Professor Ernest Beaty (Class of 1920; English and Latin professor at Davidson College from 1925 to 1966) nicknamed the group of office workers “The Chambermaids,” a reference to the statues on Chambers Building, where most of the women worked. The group first drafted a Statement of Purpose in 1975, illustrating their goals: “The purpose of THE CHAMBERMAIDS shall be to support the students, faculty and administration of Davidson College; to encourage in a considerate and professional manner the full potential development of its members; to foster fellowship; and to establish an official line of communication between its members and the College in order to promote greater understanding and cooperation.”

The caption on this photo reads: "The original Chambermaids." Taken in 1955, this picture includes: Kathryn Halliburton, Kathy Wilson, Dela Shore, Mildred Little, Sally Wilson, Nan Lingle, Betty Wally, Peggy Cashion, Page Huckabee, Blanche Parker, A. Wilson, C. Bordeaux, B. Brooks, Joyce Fleagle, H. Allen, Loyce Chaney, Florede Meetze.

The caption on this photo reads: “The original Chambermaids.” Taken in 1955, this picture includes: Kathryn Halliburton, Kathy (Kitty) Wilson, Della Shore, Mildred Little, Sally Wilson, Nan Lingle, Betty Wally, Peggy Cashion, Page Huckabee, Blanche Parker, A. Wilson, C. Bordeaux, B. Brooks, Joyce Fleagle, H. Allen, Loyce Chaney, and Florede Meetze.

In 1982, The Chambermaids changed their organization name to Office Support Staff. At the time that the Great Expectations cookbook was produced as a fund-raiser, the organization officers were: Kristi Newton (President), Pat Gardner (Vice-President), Ethel Black (Secretary), and Jo Archie (Treasurer).  The front page of the cookbook provides a history of the Office Support Staff, including the major achievements of the group: “Ever since that time the ‘Chambermaids’, now known as the ‘Office Support Staff’, has accomplished a variety of goals such as tuition benefits for our children, flexible summer work hours, using a percentage of our sick days for personal leave time, cumulative years of service to count towards vacation leave, the posting of all jobs so that we are aware of the availabilities and representation on various campus committees, just to name a few.” The Office Support Staff ceased meeting as an organization in 2009.

Founding documents of the 1970s iteration of The Chambermaids

The front page of Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.

Though Great Expectations was compiled by the Office Support Staff, recipes were solicited from across all areas of campus. The recipe I chose was submitted by Gail Gibson, who taught in the English department from 1983 until her retirement in 2014. Gibson served as the College Marshall for many years, and is particularly well-known for staging a Chaucer banquet in her home as part of her curriculum. As the College news story on her retirement states, Gibson was very interested in food studies: “‘The best way to know a culture is to know how it eats!’ she explained. The Chaucer banquets ultimately led her to develop popular writing classes focused on food that she taught for years – food as symbol, food as a reflection of culture, food memoir and the anthropology of food.”

A photo of all new faculty for the 1983-84 academic year - Gail Gibson is on the far left of the front row.

A photo of all new faculty for the 1983-84 academic year – Gail Gibson is on the far left of the front row.

Gibson’s statement on the cultural import of food is particularly apropos as we look at her recipe for pimento cheese, a beloved Southern classic. Pimento cheese, as Scott Huler puts it in his story on the history of the food in Our State magazine, is a “Southern, rural, working-class icon — Carolina caviar, some call it” with a fascinating backstory. As a North Carolina transplant, I was particularly interested in having a go at making this cultural staple for the first time.

Gail Gibson's "Better than

Gail Gibson’s “Better Than the M&M’d Pimento Cheese” recipe, from the Office Support Staff Great Expectations cookbook.

Gibson’s take on pimento cheese is notable for the absence of mayonnaise, usually considered a key ingredient. The title, “Better than M&M’s Pimento Cheese” refers to what today’s Davidsonians just know as the Soda Shop. Opened in 1951 by Mary Potts and Murray Fleming (the two “M’s” in the name of the business), M&M Soda Shop has been a town staple ever since. Potts sold the business in 1985, but many of her original recipes remain popular menu items, including their pimento cheese.

a picture of M&M Soda Shop on Main Street, date unknown.

A picture of M&M Soda Shop on Main Street, date unknown.

Gibson’s recipe title is a playful homage to the popularity of M&M’s pimento cheese, suggesting this recipe is even better. I had a little bit of trouble making the recipe – the cream cheese did not easily combine with the other ingredients, and required a bit of milk to thin it out. I also ended up adding more grated cheese than the recipe called for, since once I had completed mixing the ingredients, the orange mixture seemed too smooth. Having never tasted the original M&M’s pimento cheese, I can’t say for sure that this recipe is better… but it is delicious!

The finished product, on toast!

The finished product, on toast!