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Cheers: 1923

Cheers: 1923

March 9, 1923. Washington, D.C. "Miss L.M. Alexander," possibly of the Department of Agriculture. National Photo glass negative. View full size.


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Agriculture Specialist

Washington Post, January 30, 1969.

Lucy M. Alexander, Agriculture Specialist

Lucy Maclay Alexander, 80, an Agriculture Department home economist for 38 years, died Jan. 22 in Belleville, Ill., after a long illness.

Miss Alexander retired in 1953 from the Agriculture Department, where she conducted meat and poultry research and wrote several home economics publications. She moved to Belleville to join her family in 1964.

Born in Pennsylvania, she held bachelor's degrees from Vassar College and the University of Illinois. She received the Department's Distinguished Service Award in 1950.

She is survived by a brother, R.P. Alexander, of Belleville, and a sister, F.A. Ingalls, Palo Alto, Calif.

Washington Post, May 26, 1950.

… Miss Lucy Maclay Alexander, whose research led to the modern method of cooking meat at low temperatures, received the first Distinguished Service award ever given to a woman in the department. Her work has influenced many a cookbook writer and many a cook to turn the heat down low, keep protein tender, lessen meat's shrinkage and keep it juicy. She works in the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics here. …

Washington Post, November 25, 1928.

… A meat thermometer, which Miss Alexander has perfected, kept in the center of most of the roast during the cooking removes the guess-work and makes it possible to get the exact stage of heat desired. Beef is rare according to the meat thermometer, between the temperature of 130 degrees and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, medium between 150 degrees Fahrenheit and 170 degrees and well done at about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

“When the home-maker goes to the market to buy a piece of beef,” Miss Alexander said, “she has to think of two things, she wants a cut that will fill the desired place in the menu and at the same time be consistent with the contents of her pocketbook. With the knowledge of different cuts and how to cook them in order to bring out their best qualities, she can select and serve appetizing meats to suit any family budget.” …

Titles we wish she'd penned

"Mutton in a Minute," "Offal Over Easy," "Goat Grills Great!"

Lucy Maclay Alexander

Born in 1888, Lucy Alexander was a longtime food tester at the USDA, and is recorded as the author of several USDA informational leaflets about cooking methods for various kinds of meat, as well as eggs. Various online bibliographies indicate that she was still at the USDA into the 1940s. Some of her titles are available at, including "Cooking Beef According to the Cut" (1927), "Lamb As You Like It" (1928), "Pork in Preferred Ways" (1929), and "Eggs At Any Meal" (1931).

[Excellent detective work! - Dave]

Looks like

she's also a fairy!

Hey, wait a minute!

This is lemonade! What happened to my culture of bovine amoebic dysentery?

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