Pease porridge hot

Finally — at long last — I understand why I grew up eating creamed peas.



Georgia Brooks

Finally — at long last — I understand why I grew up eating creamed peas.

I didn’t realize this was one of my life’s mysteries. In fact, I never thought about creamed peas at all.

And then, I read the book “A Square Meal” by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe and all came clear. The subtitle of the book is A Culinary History of the Great Depression. During lean times, food was stretched by pouring a white sauce (two tablespoons of flour, two tablespoons of butter and one cup milk) over vegetables, cold meat, seafood, eggs and macaroni. It expanded limited quantities of food and disguised bland foods. Home economists called it the workhorse of the American kitchen.

My mother was a child of the Depression. By the time my mother served it to our family, she wasn’t stretching food; she was dressing peas from my father’s garden. He, too, was a Depression child and always grew a kitchen garden.

So what I was eating for supper was social history.

The book’s title is misleading. I was about one-third into the book before it got to the 1930s. Before that, it was a troubling history of how we in the United States have hated/helped our hungry citizens. The national attitude was set by the Puritans who brought with them England’s notion of poor houses as punishment.  

Then, as now, we want to help the deserving poor, but the question is: Who is deserving? Widows, orphans, the elderly and the ill, of course.  These are victims of bad luck. The rest of the poor might be morally corrupt beggars on the slippery slope to sloth. Gosh, once a guy finds the road to the free soup kitchen, he might never take the higher path to hard work and self-sufficiency. 

Sometimes, other factors are influential. In the South during the Depression, poor whites were given food assistance with no strings, but poor blacks had to do road work to earn their food.

The first breadlines in the nation were in New York in the early 1900s for “Bowery bums.” They were open only in the winter and only between midnight and 1 a.m. to make sure only the truly desperate and destitute showed up to get dry bread and coffee. Breadlines were listed in tourist guidebooks as entertainment.  

The breadlines spiked following the Financial Panic of 1907 and then again after 1918 when returning Doughboys raised unemployment. A decade later, Herbert Hoover ran for president with a boast that the nation was near “the final triumph over poverty.”

Oops. 

In 1929, the stock market crashed, followed by a series of droughts, crop failures, failed business and unemployment of unimaginable numbers. By January 1930, New York soup kitchens had sprung up across the city, operated by religious communities, political clubs, business associations, veterans’ groups, socialites and even crime bosses. 

The storm crested in March 1930 on fashionable Fifth Avenue. Hungry people five abreast lined around the block for the soup kitchen at the Church of the Transfiguration. Shoppers were startled, but merchants were so distraught they protested to city officials and the mayor threatened to have the church rector on grounds of creating a public disturbance.  

Hungry citizens? Frightened shoppers? Angry retailers? Hello Tulsa!

The villain of the book is President Hoover who ate caviar off of gold plates in the White House while blocking funds for federal relief. He favored self-help and local relief. Before him, Grover Cleveland refused drought aid to Texas farmers, saying “the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.” 

Federal policy changed when Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president and said that providing victims with shelter, clothing and food was not charity, but social duty. From this tumbled new ideas of relief — food stamps and school lunches — and a new approach to how Americans eat — canning, casseroles and white sauce.

Not all has ended happily ever after. When it comes to our attitude about feeding our hungry, I think of the philosopher Friedrich Hegel who said, “The only thing we learn from history, is that we learn nothing from history.”

 


Editor’s Note: Connie Cronley is the former executive director of Iron Gate, a soup kitchen and grocery pantry located in downtown Tulsa. 

 

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March 2017

This is a ORU Baseball Game    For more info and tickets click the link https://mabeecenter.com/oru-baseball-2017/ 

Cost: 14 // 11 // 7 plus 2 s/c

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Cost: $5-$7

Where:
Savage Space
1213 East Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Telephone: (918) 947-9806
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
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Business Casual.

Cost: $75, individual tickets; $750, tables of 10

Where:
Sky Room, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
777 W. Cherokee St.
Catoosa, OK
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Sponsor: Benefits Will Rogers Community Foundation
Telephone: 918-495-0742
Contact Name: Beth Abdo Dennis
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Cost: $75-$350

Where:
River Spirit Casino - Paradise Cove
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 607-6005
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Where:
Utopia Bar & Lounge
3508 S Sheridan Rd
Tulsa, OK  74145
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Where:
The Beehive Lounge
2405 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 607-6005
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Spotlight Children‰Ûªs Theatre presents this world premiere play by Machele Miller Dill and Ed Dill.

Cost: $10

Where:
Tulsa Spotlight Theatre
1381 Riverside Dr
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 587-5030
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
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Dr. Kathy M. Campbell will facilitate this informative seminar. She will discuss hormones, their functions and how to keep in balance. Topic will include: eating and living for hormone balance....

Cost: $79.00

Where:
Medicap Pharmacy
130 S MAIN STREET
OWASSO, OK  74055
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Sponsor: Medicap Pharmacy
Telephone: 918-274-1737
Contact Name: Dena Wind
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This is an ORU Baseball Game   https://mabeecenter.com/oru-baseball-2017/

Cost: 14 // 11 // 7 plus 2 s/c

Where:
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Join us in celebrating local tulsan CYNTHIA MARCOUX!                    TOYS - A Caricature of Reality' With a seamless blend of whimsy and...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main st
tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Learn the haunted histories of some of the Brady Arts District's most notable pubs. High spirits guaranteed.

Where:
Brady Arts District
2-98 W M.B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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  Join us in celebrating local tulsan CYNTHIA MARCOUX! TOYS - A Caricature of Reality' With a seamless blend of whimsy and social critique, Cynthia paints hyper realistic tableaus with a...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main st
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Lavish evening to revel in fine dining, lively dancing and plenty of surprises. Black Tie.

Cost: $1000, individual tickets; $2000-$100000, sponsorships

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: Benefits Mental Health Association Oklahoma Housing Programs
Telephone: 918-382-2410
Contact Name: Lisa Turner
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Nicole Carrington hosts this night of Bingo, with appearances by Rainbow Granny and Trailer Trash Teresa, and a Lip Sync Contest with DJ Crystal.

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
Dennis R. Neill Equality Center
621 East Fourth Street
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 743-4297
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Sisters in Song presents Romance and Chocolates Dinner & Concert

Cost: $ 30

Where:
East Side Christian Church
1438 South Indianapolis
Fellowship Hall/Chapel
Tulsa, OK  74113
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Sponsor: Sisters in Song
Telephone: 918-296-4334
Contact Name: Jane

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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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 The University of Tulsa’s Department of Theatre will present a contemporary adaptation of the Greek comedy Lysistrataat 8 p.m. March 23-25 and at 2 p.m. March 26. All performances will...

Cost: $15

Where:
Lorton Performance Center
550 S Gary Place
Tulsa , OK  74104
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Telephone: 918-631-2566

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Where:
The Fur Shop
520 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-4292
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Where:
pH Community House
306 S. Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Cost: $49.50-$85

Where:
Brady Theater
105 West Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-4208
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Where:
pH Community House
306 S. Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Where:
Billy and Renee's
6373 E 31st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: 918-836-0655
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Cost: $50-$85

Where:
Brady Theater
105 West Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Where:
Hunt Club
224 N Main St
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 599-9200
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Cost: $10-$12

Where:
The Beehive Lounge
2405 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
The Blackbird on Pearl
1336 E 6th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-1345
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Live music, silent and live auctions, one-of-a-kind artwork by local artists and students. Black tie.

Cost: $100, individual tickets; $800, host a table; $250+ sponsorships

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society
2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: Benefits Operation Aware of Oklahoma Inc.
Telephone: 9185827884 x. 103
Contact Name: Jeni Dolan
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
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Cost: $50-$165

Where:
River Spirit Casino - Paradise Cove
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Website »

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Cost: $10-$12

Where:
The Beehive Lounge
2405 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Soundpony
409 N Main St
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 582-7669
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Treasures and antiques await at over 200 booths.

Where:
Expo Square - Exchange Center
4145 E 21st St
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 607-6005
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