Julia Wolcott Kiene

Bette and her mother, Julia Kiene, 1939.
Bette and her mother, Julia Kiene, 1939.

J is for Julia.

Julia, my daughter is named after Julia Wolcott Kiene. Doing a quick search spawns a respectable amount of information about this woman which is pretty amazing to me. I never expected to be connected to such cool people, but you just start talking about your family with your elders (which I have started to become one, but this is “J” for Julia, not “O” for old or “G” for geezer).

Who was Julia Wolcott? She is best known for her work for Westinghouse in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

She wrote several cookbooks for Betty Furness and many Victory Garden booklets for families during WWII.

She has a patent or two and a scholarship fund in her name.

She was photographed and written about in Life Magazine.

She was a force to recon with and made huge contributions to society.

Just wait until we start talking about her mother.

Do you have amazing people in your family who have surprised you with amazing accomplishments?

We Interrupt this blog… Part 2. Cool Beans.

December rolled along and we bounced through the holidays. Holiday visits, chorus events, vacationing with family. What happened in January was really, what rocked the boat most. Red1 became a blogger herself and I started actually getting real web work.

Betty and mother, Julia Kiene. 1939.

Red1 was at her grandfather’s house looking through the cook books her great great grandmother wrote. My daughter’s GGGrandmother is Julia Wolcott Kiene.

Ms. Kiene wrote several cook books for Westinghouse in the 1950’s and according to the Amazon reviews, they are very much loved but out of print. Red1 said how much she’d like to try some of the recipes and her mother suggested that she write about her experiences and “blog her way through the cook book” like the Julie did with the Julia Childs book. We’ve been learning a lot more about Juila Kiene and will definitely be sharing some more terrific stories. Not everyone’s great great grandmother was photographed and written about in Life magazine.

One of her books, The Step-by-Step Cook Book for Girls and Boys, was written specifically for children and has stories mentioning Red1’s grandfather and great uncle. They helped test many of the recipes. This was the book for her.

Castroville's nickname celebrates its status a...Image via Wikipedia

So we talked about her project, explained the Julie/Julia project and movie and set out to make a plan. Red1 pulled out her Girl Scout calendar and started writing page numbers of recipes on the weekends. We plotted out a good bit of the year. I was really impressed and we started cooking. GroovyArtichokes.com was born. We plan, cook, eat and talk about the experience. We are recording the interviews and turning those into brief posts that explore the differences in the way people cooked in the 1950’s and now. One of the observations: Sometimes she would say, let something thaw for several hours before you start. Red1 explains that now we can defrost things in the microwave oven.

There’s a cute story about the name of the site, http://GroovyArtichokes.com. Mrs. SFDaddy and I met in art school about the time, when saying “cool beans” became popular. Translation: “that’s cool.” She got really sick of hearing it and started adding “and groovy artichoke hearts” when ever anyone said, “cool beans.” I always thought she was quoting a movie, but I should have known better. She isn’t one to quote movies, that was more of a trait my other friends and I shared. After several Google searches, I said to her, “You must have made that up.” She about hit me.

So, basically the thing that has kept me from posting and nurturing this site were a few other sites. Now that I have a couple more plates to spin, I have to learn to keep them all from wobbling around.

These are good problems to have. I’m thankful. Cool Beans.


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