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March 6, 1913: Vegetables, nuts ‘just as good’ as meat

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: March 18, 2013 - 11:53 PM
 
Anna Barrows, author of “Eggs: Facts and Fancies About Them” and “Principles of Cookery,” taught cooking and home economics for many years at Columbia Teachers’ College in New York. She was in high demand as a speaker in the early 1900s. A century ago this week, she gave a series of talks in Minneapolis, speaking at the Woman’s Club on how to save money in the kitchen. She advised women to rely less on “ready-made” foods such as meat and eggs and to resist the urge to go “far afield” for costly grapefruits, oranges and bananas. The Minneapolis Tribune covered each of her lectures, including this one on meat substitutes: 
 

Substitute for Meat
Given Woman’s Club

 
Miss Anna Barrows Names Vegetable and Nut Combinations “Just as Good.”
 
Nutritious and Savory Qualities of Meat Found in Cheaper Dishes.
 
Careful Study of Various Meat Cuts Urged Upon Housewives.
 
 
 
  Anna Barrows (Photo courtesy of the University of New England)
A strong odor of onions permeated the atmosphere of the Handicraft guild yesterday when Miss Anna Barrows inducted the Woman’s club class in household economics into the mysteries of onion soup making. A large Bermuda onion was cut up into small bits and put to simmer on the electric stove used in the demonstration lectures. While the onion was cooking Miss Barrows took up her subject, that of meat substitutes.
 
“In the selection of substitutes for meat,” she said, “it is necessary to begin at what may seem at first to be the point of least importance, that of flavor. Generations of habit have accustomed us to expect certain qualities from our food other than that of mere nutrition. The satisfaction we enjoy at the sight of a large joint or juicy roast of beef upon our tables is an evidence of this, and whether this is a remnant of savagery or not, it must be taken into consideration in the question of devising dishes to take the place of meat.
 
“We must, of course, demand of our meat substitutes that they furnish us the same nutritive qualities as the meat products they take the place of, and in order to determine this it is necessary to know something of the chemical composition of foods.”
 
Vegetables and Nuts Recommended.
 
As the nearest substitutes to meat were mentioned peas, beans and lentils, and to these were added the various nuts, bread, macaroni and other grain foods. But the addition of certain relishes, as red and green peppers, pimentoes and mushrooms, in various ways and forms, a flavor might, she said, be given to these foods that they otherwise would lack.
 
The nutritive value of nuts was especially spoken of, in combination with the fruit and oils of salads, or with bread such as fricandelles. Cheese brewis, a composition of bread and cheese with the addition of milk, egg and seasoning, was suggested as an occasional meat substitute. Boston brown bread to be used for sandwiches with cream cheese, nuts or peppers was recommended as another agreeable and nutritious variety of food.
 
Miss Barrows has consented to give a special lecture Monday evening on the reduction of the high cost of living. The lecture has been arranged because of the demand of the women for more of  Miss Barrows’ time, and the Woman’s club has planned to open this meeting to the public for a nominal admission fee.
 
This postcard shows the Minneapolis Woman's Club in about 1915. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society)

 

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