Archive for Radio

Earning the Home Legion Distinguished Service in Homemaking Medal

In an earlier post (here) we learned about the prestigious Home Legion medal for distinguished service in homemaking. I was incredibly fortunate to come into possession of a medal, but I don’t feel that I have ‘earned’ the pin until I have completed the steps that all original Home Legion members had to complete for the recognition.

Step one: Join the Home Legion by filling out the application. I shall check the boxes of ‘good meal planning, careful household management, thrift — preventing waste, maintaining morale, creating a happy atmosphere, and interest in and work for the community’.  Check!

Step two: Hang the Homemaker’s Creed on a wall in my kitchen. Check!

Step three: Answer the questions in the first round of mailings: “How do you make your meals fit your situation?” and “What do you do to insure taste, appeal, and eating satisfaction in your meals?”

How do you make your meals fit your situation? My household consists of me, my husband and our beloved dog. I prepare meals in smaller batches for the two of us and freeze what cannot be eaten in one sitting. As my husband likes meat dishes and I don’t, I prep food that is half vegetarian all in one dish. This works great for casseroles or soups where I can pick out pieces of meat (guess who gets to eat what I don’t). I can also cook meat ahead of time, freeze it in servings and add it to dishes after I have taken out my portion. Breakfast meals are usually quick and on-the-go, like homemade granola bars. Lunches are on our own at work, usually a peanut butter sandwich and cookies packed the night before. Dinner typically follows a routine of my go-to dishes that can be made from memory.

 

What do you do to ensure taste, appeal, and eating satisfaction in your meals?  For taste, I use as many spices and seasoning as possible. Everything can use a little something — lemon peel in broth, sage and thyme added to gravy mixes, etc.

For appeal, I rely on simplicity. Plates and serving bowls are all pure colors such as white or jadeite or similar. As long as plates and utensils are clean and the food on them is tidy, not spilling over or splashed allover the counter tops and prep areas, I feel they are appealing.

For eating satisfaction, I rely on experience of past meals and knowing what we truly like to eat. I have a collection of recipes that are ‘tried and true’ in our household and only try new dishes once in a while from ingredients that I know we like. There is enough variety in our meal routine and we end up always eating our favorites.

 

Bonus Step: Tuning in to the Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air radio show.  (No affiliation with The War In My Kitchen — just a cool website to find old time radio shows.)

The Home Legion Medal of Distinguished Service in Homemaking

“Believing that good homemaking is a vital contribution to a better world…

Homemaking should have a greater recognition as a contribution in the world…

I would like to be a member of the HOME LEGION dedicated to good homemaking for a better world.”

So read the Betty Crocker Home Legion membership application in Fall, 1944.

My endless search for home front keepsakes never fails to remind me of the goodness of people willing and supportive of a mission to honor and memorialize the women who held together the country and values of a nation at war.

In October of 2018 I received an email from a soon-to-be friend in Texas who had found The War in My Kitchen through her own research of an item found that was too good to be true — The Home Legion Distinguished Service Medal. !!!!

The gift of this medal was truly the 2018 highlight of The War in My Kitchen. I had never come across mention of a Home Legion medal in all my research or reading and found it to be incredibly difficult to find any Google mention of it either. Piece by piece, through persistent emails, phone calls, and searches I was able to find just two more instances of the medal on auction sites and an honest-to-goodness, still-in-the-envelope Home Legion membership application.

Let me start from the beginning (thank you to Rebecca Brown, an archivist at General Mills, for filling in the details):

“The pin you have is indeed from the Betty Crocker Home Legion, started during World War II. The Home Legion was dedicated to “Good Homemaking for a Better World” and “Greater Recognition for Good Homemaking”. It began in the fall of 1944 through the Betty Crocker Radio Cooking School. To join the legion a homemaker registered (for free) in the Betty Crocker Radio Cooking School. Once Betty received the membership application, she would send back the Homemaker’s Creed (a list of ideas and beliefs that legion members held to) and it could be hung up in the kitchen for inspiration.

Source: General Mills Archive

 

To receive the pin, two questionnaires had to be returned. The first was sent out with the Homemaker’s Creed. It had to be returned before January 5, 1945. Questions on the first report included: “How do you make your meals fit your situation?” and “What do you do to insure taste, appeal, and eating satisfaction in your meals?”  Then, later in January, the second questionnaire was sent. This one was a bit longer. Questions on this one included: “What do you do to insure a smooth-running home?”, “What little tricks do you use for saving time and labor?” and “How do you practice thrift in conserving food, household supplies, and equipment?” The second questionnaire had to be received by March 23, 1945. If both questionnaires were turned in on time, then the homemaker received that pin as proof that they were a distinguished member of the legion.

Source: General Mills Archives

Additionally, the questionnaires (which were more like essays with several prompts) were given out to those who “show that they are making the greatest contribution to other American homemakers”. The questionnaires were judged by a group of experienced homemakers. By the end of March 1945, 20,000 women had joined the legion.”

Source: General Mills Archive

Source: General Mills Archive

So…here’s my task before January 5th: Reply here answering the first questionnaire — How do you make your meals fit your situation? What do you do to insure taste, appeal, and eating satisfaction in your meals?

Wish me luck in earning the Home Legion Distinguished Service in Homemaking Medal! My responses will be posted in my next entry within deadline!

We Interrupt This Program…

250px-Radio_-_Keep_It_Free

For those who could afford one before the war started (production factories were converted to war production), radios served as important fixtures of the home front house. Styled more like furniture, and called “consoles”, you’d find one in a prominent place of the home within hearing range of the kitchen.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “Infamy” speech was delivered through radio waves and it’s easy to picture every home in America tuned in with family and neighbors gathered around. The news of the bombing at Pearl Harbor and the speech land radio an earned spot of WWII history.

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan….

“I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again….

“With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounded determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God….”

FDR continued Fireside Chat radio broadcasts focused on rallying the country throughout the war.

“We are now in this war. We are all in it—all the way. Every single man, woman and child is a partner in the most tremendous undertaking of our American history. We must share together the bad news and the good news, the defeats and the victories—the changing fortunes of war….

“To all newspapers and radio stations—all those who reach the eyes and ears of the American people—I say this: You have a most grave responsibility to the nation now and for the duration of this war.”

Broadcast news updates of the war via radio formed the modern style of half-hour news programs. What was three- to four-minute updates a few times a day became a regular thirty-minute event.

Happier times were spent listening to comedies, soap operas and music, especially while cooking and baking. Since the 1920’s, corporations realized the enormous reach of radio to their target consumer: the homemaker. WWII advertising was delicately delivered via sponsorship of radio shows: The A&P Gypsies, The Planters Pickers, The Yeast Foamers, King Biscuit Time , and Light Crust Doughboys.

Proctor & Gamble’s Sisters of the Skillet, a soap opera, was part of Mrs. Blake’s Radio Column advertising Crisco. PET Milk sponsored The Mary Lee Taylor Program from 1933 to 1954. For many, the famous PET Milk Pumpkin Pie recipe was first heard over the radio and hastily written down.

The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air played from 1924 until 1948. Over time, the school saw over 1 million homemakers enrolled. Students took the homework seriously. Listeners mailed in reports for grading and received cooking pamphlets and other promotional literature.

I feel grateful that the Cooking Shows have been saved and archived. The Old Time Radio Catalog collected all of the shows for purchase.