Friday, June 5, 2009

"Sister, Can You Spare A Dime?"

Last night was our June Enrichment dinner...

(I've been so engrossed with getting all of the details in order that I completely forgot my dear friend, Christine's, birthday and my sister, Joanna's!) I feel literally nausous when I think about it...
June just kind of crept up on me...(So sorry girls!--I'll make it up to you!)

Heather and I decided to go with the Great Depression theme for this month's enrichment dinner...(this was in leiu of the garden party that we usually try to have at this time). Fortunately, we chose a covered location as it was a rainy day...

To say we had a ball planning this would be a total understatement!

These were the invitations...I printed them on the back of grocery bags...

Heather's mom had hosted a depression dinner once in her garage, but with a small amount of people. We decided to go with this same theme only on a larger scale! We were really sweating it even up to the last minute since it was raining out and we couldn't use part of her driveway as the overflow...

I think we ended up with a total of about 37 people...

We loaded up the chairs and tables from the church on Wednesday and got them set up. I went over to Heather's yesterday morning and we taped the unprinted newspaper onto the tables and set up the memorabilia. (old black and white pictures of people in the 1930's, depression glass and other trinkets). We really tried hard to recreate the feel of what it was like in 1930.

A few weeks ago, I went to the library and got books on the 1930's and photocopied some of the old depression time pictures as well as downloaded a few that I found on line...

I just used dollar store frames....

Heather found this awesome 1930's hair tutorial on the internet! It showed how to make a hairstyle using pin curls...It looked a lot easier than it was! We even had to bring the laptop in the bathroom to see step by step instructions on how to do it. We had a great time with this!

Lots of laughs--good times all around!

I didn't have pantyhoes that had seems up the back, so I had Brian use a permanent marker to draw the lines...(It's all in the details, people!)
(notice the tape peeking out)

Apparently, during WWII, there was a shortage of pantyhoes, so the women would sometimes just draw a line down the back of their leg...

This is for all of you sewing gurus out there! Just to prove to you how little sewing skills I posess, here is a picture of how I secured the hem of my dress! ----Packing tape!

Don't judge!--it worked--(although I could hear the sound of the tape rubbing against my leg everytime I walked)

The final look!

The women all wore simple cotton dresses with starched aprons...(I got this dress at Good Will). I really love that even though times were tough for everyone back in those days, people still took pride in themselves and looked as neat as a pin...

Is that apron fabulous, or what?! I have my friend, Suzanne, to thank for that! She had that made for me as a thank you gift for helping her stage her house before she moved. I love the colors, and it looked so perfect! Everyone kept oogling over it--(thanks again, Suzanne!--that was such a great gift!) And to think that I wasn't planning on wearing that as part of my costume at first!?

We used pie tins for the salad and pot pie bowls for the soup...

Nancy Hopkins and I working the soup line...

Menu: Potato soup, bean soup, iceburg lettuce (pre-tossed with an oil and vinegar dressing) and croutons. (As it was rainy and a slight bit chilly, this was a perfect meal on a night like this)

I was disappointed with how the potato soup that I made turned out...

I peeled 20 pounds of potatoes and made everything exactly as the recipe called for. I made it the day before and just heated it up yesterday afternoon. It tasted great when I first made it but after it was reheated, the texture and taste was completely different. grrrrr

Everyone filing through the "soup line"...
We had 1930's music playing during this was really cute....

After dinner, before our presentation started, we served dessert...

Depression Chocolate Cake and Stewed Apple Pudding

( this little Shirley Temple doll belonged to Heather's mother, Sue. It was her doll when she was little).

Both were delicious but we forgot to take pictures of the dessert table! We managed to get an after shot of the cake but never did get a picture of the stewed apple pudding (which was very delicious by the way!)


Depression Chocolate Cake

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 tsp. baking soda
10 level tsp. of unsweatened cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. salad oil
T. vinegar
2 c. cold water

Mix all ingredients until smooth and bake in a greased and floured 9x13 baking dish at 350 for 30 min. or until cooked. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting.

Stewed Apple Pudding

(Fruit was often cheap in Northern New Jersey in the 1930's because there was still quite a few farms and orchards were plentiful. Their harvest was a boon to all the local housewives and children. This was served as a dessert for the purpose of filling a stomach after a meal that perhaps was not quite so filling.)

**This recipe comes in three parts, cooking the apples, cooking the dumplings and making the hard sauce. All of these are very easy and served warm after the main meal.


Peeled, cored, and sliced apples

cinnamon and sugar to taste

Place apples, sugar and cinnamon in pan over moderate heat adding water to the bottom of the covered pot (you will need to judge for yourself as this will depend on the amount of apples you are using, but you will need enough to cover the bottom of the pan and see the apples through cooking), occasionally stirring to watch for scorching or burning and adjusting heat accordingly.

When apples ar cooked about half way (not yet fork tender), place dumpling mixture over top of steaming apple mix.


2 1/4 c. Bisquick

2/3 c. milk

Stir ingredients until soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls onto steaming mix. Cook uncovered 10 min. then cover and cook for another 10 min. Check to see if dumplings are done by looking in the centre of the largest one; it should be cake-like in appearance with no wet appearance in the center.

Hard Sauce

sugar (to taste)

Butter (softened, not melted)

Cream together and use over warm apple and dumplings

Heather did a great job of highlighting some of the struggles that people went through during those times and how they perservered in spite of their challenges...

She also tied it into how we, in these times, if we are prepared as we have been counciled, than we should have no fear despite what things might come our way.

We can have hope in knowing that we will be taken care of...

After Heather's introduction, I spoke for just a few minutes about depression glass and some of the facts about it. Depression glass was colored glass that was manufactured by machines very cheaply. Many places such as movie theatres or gas stations used it to encourage people's business. Quaker Oats and other food manufacturers used to put a piece of glassware in boxes of food, as an incentive to purchase. It was sold primarily at "five and dime" stores.

After my presentation, we showed a 7 minute video clip that was projected onto the side of the garage wall. We found a woman on you tube that teaches about depression cooking. Her name is Clara, and she's 93 years old. She shows how to make some of the dishes that they made back then and mingles in some stories. Although the sound wasn't very loud, it was still really cute.

If you're interested in seeing her cute clip, just click here!

Nancy Hopkins put together a really nice power point presentation about how the music back in the 30's helped pull people through. She had music playing thoughout...

I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of the vintage snow white and seven dwarfs that Nancy had brought for display. We had those sitting on the dessert table. They were really neat!

Here we are at the end of the night. Not a hair out of place! I kept saying that the reason why I think they called this "the depression era" was because the thought of having to get up every morning and go through all the trouble of putting their hair in pin curls must have been mighty depressing!

(Unless, of course, we could all be promised to have THIS hair afterward!)

I love this girl! We have so much fun together. I almost feel guilty sometimes that we enjoy our calling so much--

All in all, I think everyone had a fun time and left with a better appreciation of the sacrifices people had to make back in those times. I feel pretty certain that up until last night, most of us would never have been able to boast that we had eaten in a garage.

**Doesn't this sound like fun?
**Do you know any depression era recipes?
**Have you ever had dinner in a garage before?
**Would you have gone to the trouble of pin curling your hair?


  1. What an interesting theme! I would have thought it would be depressing, but it looks like fun!

  2. It does sound like a lot of fun! You are so creative...Where did you get all of the depression glass on display. My grandma just moved into an assisted living and was getting rid of a ton of stuff. My mom took the depression glass.

    The one thing my grandma came away hating after the depression was oatmeal. I guess they ate a TON of that!

    Our RS this month is on budgeting, couponing, etc. Kind of goes with your theme as well. I am going to miss it as I will be out of town. I would have enjoyed that one.

  3. Oh, and I think I would go through the trouble of pin curling if it looked like the last picture. Pretty hair!

  4. I am so jealous. It looked fabulous and you two looked so cute!

  5. I've missed you! You guys do such a wonderful job for your enrichment meetings--it is absolutely amazing. You absolutely look fabulous!

  6. very impressive!

    that's all.


  7. oh. wow! you have the most amazing enrichment meetings. i've never seen anything like it! and what a theme to pull off! it's fantastic. you are adorable!! i love your outfit- the hair! classic.

    thanks for posting the recipes! the only thing i know from the depression is that my grandpa got seriously tired of eating potatoes...and eggs (they raised them).

    and bonus points on authenticity for drawing the pantyhose lines. :)

  8. no wonder you forgot my birthday, you had a lot to do with that activity. and you look like you came right out of the 1930's. good job:-)

  9. It was all very lovely... you two are amazing!

  10. You guys did a great job on everything. It was a nice evening all around.

  11. wow, you really raise the bar. i am sure everyone was very enriched after that kind of activity. not only feeling more grateful for everything we have but also having learned such interesting stuff.
    great job.

  12. That is amazing. You did such a great job. What a wonderful idea for a dinner theme. You looked adorable.

    OK, so I've never done pin curls. They are so so so pretty. I would totally have done them. I probably would now (on my girls for sure) if I knew how.

    I read a depression era bread recipe recently. I think they are great recipes to keep around.

  13. Wow, you girls do the coolest Relief Society dinners! I've never seen anything as elaborate or creative as this! I love it that you both dressed up and did your hair in pin curls. Wow.

  14. This was such an awesome idea!!! I loved it! I will have to keep in my file for RS stuff if I ever get put back in RS again.

    I loved your outfits, the tables and the decorations! I am sure it was a TON of work but it looked so worth it!

  15. i love everything about this idea- you 2 are amazing- wish i could have been there- i'm thinking about how i could do an activity at the ward level... hhhmmmm

  16. Wowzers--y'all did a fantastic job putting together such a large event with so many special details/touches related to the Great Depression. How wonderful to have someone to speak based on her memories too.

    Your look came together perfectly! Loved it!

  17. You two make dang cute depression friends, not to mention Heather ending up a glamour puss! Holy Moly!

    The whole event looks so cute and fun and I'm jealous of two things:
    1. That clean garage.
    2. The fun that was had by all.

    I'm going to have to make sure that my store events don't conflict anymore with your enrichment activities...send me your schedule before it's too late!

    I had plenty of depression glass pitchers, creamers, sugar bowls....cake name it, all for the asking! Thanks for the good documentation.