As the opening of the Knox County Fair approaches, we’re reminded of the rich agricultural history of the State of Indiana and Knox County. As we make plans to go to the Fair, July 18-24, we find ourselves having conversations and reminiscing about sharing food with friends and families.
When the topic of reminiscing about food in Indiana is discussed, I recall the excellent series of books published in 1983 by I.U. Press entitled “Memories of Hoosier Homemakers.” This six volume series is the culmination of an oral history project edited by Eleanor Arnold. Indiana’s first home economics clubs were formed in 1913. The purpose of the clubs was to receive home economics lessons developed by the Cooperative Extension of Purdue University. Thirty one years ago, the IEHA (Indiana Extension Homemakers Association) launched an oral history project. Most of the women interviewed were over the age of 70 and the books focus on the time period between 1910 and the 1940’s. The intriguing titles are: “Feeding Our Families — Volume 1;” “Party Lines, Pumps and Privies — Volume 2;” “Buggies and Bad Times — Volume 3;” “Girlhood Days — Volume 4;” “Going to Club — Volume 5;” and “Living Rich Lives — Volume 6.”