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Farm-to-Table: 1957

Farm-to-Table: 1957

September 9, 1957. "Mrs. Willis Cooper baking and canning in the kitchen of her farmhouse near Radcliffe, Iowa." Color transparency from photos by Jim Hansen for the Look magazine assignment "Iowa family." View full size.

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I'm exhausted just looking at the picture.

Canning *and* baking

My guess is Mrs. Cooper is fixing to enter her handiwork in several categories in the county or state fair. For all we know, out back she may have a fine laying hen and some flowers to cut before she is fully prepared.


I would so work as her swamper in exchange for a tithe of what her kitchen puts out.

Been there

That could be my mom's kitchen in our city house in Detroit in 1967. Row upon row of shiny clean jars (that my sister and I cleaned) filled with stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, pizza sauce, and the smell of roasting peppers permeating the air.


I'm suddenly so hungry.

Kitchen cabinets

I ended up taking over my grandparents house for about 15 years. I refinished everything in the house. That house had those cabinets and definitely that metal hardware.

I agree with Jim Page. Canning and baking aren't the same thing. Obviously. Who would do that? What are you going to do with the baked goods? Roadside stand? Selling to the local grocer? I kind of see the canning, but unless you lived an hour from the store, it was dying off back then.

My mom would can plum, grape and crab apple jelly. One vine and tree of each and it was a PITA, but it was a hobby and not a necessity.

That empty feeling

And more sparkling jars still on the workbench, waiting to be filled. I'm hoping for bread and butter pickles.

Can no one stop this woman?

No offense, but Mrs. Willis Cooper has clearly gone nuts.

Farm or no farm

I wonder how many perople still do this today?

And if they still do, to that scope and in that quantity? Altough quantity seems to have already declined when compared to Shorpy's photos from the 1940s.

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