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In case you missed our November 20 show, "Gus Grissom and the Liberty Bell: 60 years later"
In case you missed our November 13 show, "Jimmy Mack - Indy’s version of Dick Clark"
In case you missed our November 6 show, "German freethinkers in Indy - Encore"
November 27, 2021
Foods of the pioneers - Encore
When you dig into questions of what Hoosiers ate in the 1820s, '30s and '40s, when they gathered for meals, the dining utensils they used, and related topics, you have a lot to savor.
Indianapolis-based food historian Sheryl Vanderstel even described what she calls "lost" foods as Nelson's guest on a show with a smorgasbord of information and historical facts about the foods of pioneers. During this encore broadcast from 2020, she also shared insights about dining routines during Indiana's earliest era as a state. Misconceptions abound, including the "myth of pioneer self-sufficiency," Sheryl says.
"Even the earliest settlers were interdependent, bartering with each other," she explains. "Grocers and merchants were among the first residents of Indianapolis and could easily obtain goods from thriving, established communities like Salem or Connersville and Ohio River cities Madison, New Albany, Cincinnati and Louisville."
During the first half of the 19th century, the largest meal was eaten at midday and called "dinner," not "lunch." The evening meal, "supper," was much lighter.
Except for the spoon, Sheryl says the pioneers' dining utensils "looked much different."
In addition to explaining the utensils used by the pioneers, she will describe Jerusalem artichokes, salsify, pattypans and other food items that fell into obscurity when subsequent generations did not consume them and forgot about them. Sheryl notes, however, that some of the lost foods "are being rediscovered by foodies today."
Topics of conversation at our historical feast will include technical questions as well, such as how pioneers preserved milk and eggs.
Sheryl Vanderstel, a board member of the Irvington Historical Society, was among the guests on a Hoosier History Live show in 2013 that explored the life of Alexander Ralston, the surveyor who platted Indianapolis in 1821. In addition to researching food history, Sheryl has spent years researching Ralston, who was born in Scotland and helped plan Washington D.C. before coming to the Indiana wilderness.
A native Hoosier, Sheryl is a former assistant director of education at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, where her duties included overseeing hearthside dinners and other food programs. Since then, she has been involved in food programming at other historic sites and museums as well as educational seminars about historic foods.
Roadtrip: Gus Grissom sites in Mitchell, Indiana
Guest Roadtripper Ray Boomhower, Indiana historian and biographer, suggests a visit south of Indianapolis to Lawrence County to see sites associated with Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom in the town of Mitchell.
Grissom was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts. Along with other crew members, he perished in a tragic fire during a test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft on January 27, 1967.
The town of Mitchell has made sure that Grissom's accomplishments and contributions to the American space program are not forgotten, with three sites honoring him in the community.
First on our stop, Ray suggests the Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park, which includes items from the astronaut's space career, including the Gemini 3 spacecraft. He and his crewmate nicknamed the capsule "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," hoping to avoid the accident that occurred on Grissom's Mercury flight aboard the "Liberty Bell 7."
Back in the town of Mitchell, on the site of Grissom's former elementary school at 407 Sixth St, a 44-foot-tall rocket monument honors the fallen astronaut and gives details about his life.
And finally, Ray says be sure not to miss the Gus Grissom Boyhood Home , located at 715 West Grissom Ave. The simple, white bungalow now contains many items that belonged to the Grissom family.
Ray is the author of the book Gus Grissom: the Lost Astronaut.
From the Hoosier History archives
“Vonnegut and an array of misconceptions” was our Hoosier History Live show on Feb. 15, 2020. We still had guests in studio, pre-Covid! Now all guests are call in. Guests were Julia Whitehead, CEO of the Vonnegut Library, and, by phone, Dan Simon of New York, founder of Seven Stories Press, publisher of Vonnegut’s final three books
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