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Museum Food Employees in D.C. Strike

Museum Food Employees in D.C. Strike


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Demanding a raise in pay, workers protested on July 11

Tourists went without food at D.C.’s top museums on Thursday, July 11 when dining workers walked out in a one-day strike. Skift reports the workers went on strike to demand the federally funded museums pay them a “living wage.”

The workers protested outside the National Air and Space Museum. The protest includes workers from the National Museum of American History and the space museum. The workers are employed by McDonald’s Corp. and Restaurant Associates, which operate the museums on the National Mall.

Workers are currently being paid the minimum wage of $8.25 and hour, but the workers are demanding a living wage, which is about $13.68 per hour for an employee with no children or $26.37 per hour for an employee with one child, McClatchy Washington Bureau reports.

A Smithsonian spokeswoman clarified that the protesters were not directly employed by the museum, but instead by private businesses like McDonald’s within the museum. Although about 100 protesters gathered, all of the restaurants in the museum were still fully staffed and none were forced to close.


Fast-food strikes and protests planned for 100 US cities

Fast-food workers in about 100 cities are planning to walk off the job on Thursday, Dec. 5, to call attention to the difficulties of living on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Fast-food workers in about 100 US cities will walk off the job this Thursday, organizers say, which would mark the largest effort yet in a push for higher pay.

The actions would build on a campaign that began about a year ago to call attention to the difficulties of living on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or about $15,000 a year for a full-time employee.

The protests are part of a growing push by labor unions, Democrats and other worker advocacy groups to raise wages in low-wage sectors. Last month, President Barack Obama said he would back a Senate measure to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. That's more than a dollar higher than the $9 an hour rate he previously proposed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised a vote on the wage hike by the end of the year. But the measure is not expected to gain traction in the House, where Republican leaders oppose it.

Protesters are calling for pay of $15 an hour, although many see the figure as a rallying point rather than a near-term possibility.

In Israel, Arabs and Jews alike recoil from mob violence

It's not clear how large the turnout will be at any given location, or whether the walkouts will be enough to disrupt operations. Similar actions this summer had varying results, with some restaurants unable to serve customers and others seemingly unaffected.

The National Restaurant Association, an industry lobbying group, called the demonstrations a "campaign engineered by national labor groups," and said the vast majority of participants were union protesters rather than workers.

The group said that the demonstrations in the past "have fallen well short of their purported numbers."

Kendall Fells, a New York City-based organizer for Fast Food Forward, said demonstrations are also planned for 100 cities, in addition to the 100 cities where workers will strike. He said plans started coming together shortly after the one-day actions in about 60 cities this summer.

Organizers face an uphill battle in changing an industry that competes aggressively on low prices, a practice that has intensified as companies including McDonald's Corp., Burger King Worldwide Inc. and Yum Brands Inc. face growing competition and slow growth in the weak economy.

Fast-food workers have also been seen as difficult to organize, given the industry's high turnover rates. But the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2 million workers in health care, janitorial and other industries, has been providing organizational and financial support to the push for higher pay over the past year.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said she thinks the protests have helped encourage more states and localities to raise their minimum wage this year. She expects the number of cities and participants in the protests to grow next year as the union tries to keep pressure on fast food companies.

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"I think we've totally changed the conversation about what these jobs are worth," Henry said. "These are no longer jobs being done by teenagers who need extra money. These are jobs being done by adults that can't find any other work."

AP Labor Writer Sam Hananel contributed from Washington, D.C.


Gullah Geechee Recipe: Carolina Crab Rice

To me, crab rice is one of the most underrated, well-kept, and well-loved recipes from out of the Lowcountry, the geographic and cultural region comprising South Carolina&rsquos coast and the Sea Islands. Everyone has their own way of doing it, but it&rsquos always recognizable no matter where it&rsquos served.

Usually, we would use the just-caught-and-cooked sweet blue crab meat that&rsquos found and eaten throughout the region. Since I&rsquove moved around the country, however, the beloved blue crab of my youth becomes harder for me to find, and I use substitutions when I can. When the warmer days come around, I find myself craving a big plate or bowl of crab rice.

Using Sallie Ann Robinson&rsquos recipe for her &ldquoOl&rsquo Fuskie Fried Crab Rice&rdquo as a base, I was not only able to make my own version of the crab rice I grew up eating, but I was able to feel like I was at home in Charleston, and feel connected, even for just a moment, to my community and culture.

I invite you to cook along with me and Chef BJ Dennis during &ldquoMigration Stories: Sustaining Gullah Geechee Cooking Across Land and Sea&rdquo on Wednesday, February 3, at 8 p.m. ET. You can even cook ahead and enjoy during the program. The event will stream on Zoom, and tickets are required. Register for $15 through our partner organization, the Museum of Food and Drink.

If you plan on cooking along, we recommend having the following items prepped before the start of the program:

  • Rice: Rinse, drain, and cook fully.
  • Bacon: Dice, cook in pan until crisp, remove from pan. (Leave the fat in the pan it will be used to cook the vegetables and rice.)
  • Vegetables: Dice celery, bell pepper, and onion.
  • Crab meat: If using frozen, defrost.

Recipe by Amethyst Ganaway
Adapted from Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way by Sallie Ann Robinson

Serves 2 for a full meal or 4 sides

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
2 cups water
Small pinch of salt
2-3 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 bell pepper, any color, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 pound crabmeat, cooked (lump preferred, but any will do)
Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper to taste

Preparation

Rinse the dry rice under cool water 3 to 4 times and drain. Put the rinsed rice into a small pot, cover with 2 cups of water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the rice cook undisturbed for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, crack the lid of the pot so that the rice can stop cooking, and set aside.

In a small skillet, fry the bacon pieces over medium-low heat until all of the fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove the bacon pieces and set them aside. Reserve the rendered fat in the pan.

Over medium heat, add celery, bell pepper, and onion to the pan with the bacon fat and sauté until vegetables have softened and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add crabmeat and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until crab has begun to crisp.

Add the cooked rice, bacon, and seasonings to the pan with the vegetables. Incorporate all ingredients until evenly mixed, turn to low, and let cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

Amethyst Ganaway, aka the Geechee Gordita, is a food industry professional and a North Charleston native. She began her career in restaurants as a server and cashier and now works in recipe development, catering, and food writing.


How to Celebrate Diversity Month at Home During COVID-19

Diversity and Inclusion is a key part of our DNA at ON Semiconductor. We work on a daily basis to provide our employees with a safe, respectful and inclusive environment where each of our unique attributes, abilities and personalities can thrive. From working with our partners at Fairygodboss and DiversityComm to being listed on the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, our employees are the focus of all of our efforts.

In the month of April, we celebrate diversity by organizing and hosting global gatherings highlighting our employees and their cultures. This includes learning more about global games, customs, entertainment and cuisine. While we do these special activities every April, we are not limited to these 30 days as the only time we can look for and promote the diversity within our lives and communities.

Now, more than ever, we live in a world with endless opportunities and resources to learn about the cultures and people around us. Take advantage of learning about other cultures and customs, as we all are dealing with a global pandemic putting a different focus on the importance of understanding all cultures and people while taking advantage of opportunities and resources to connect us and learn from one another.

During this season of social distancing, see below for a list of virtual or in-home activities that can help you start your diversity celebration!

Seek to understand! Take the initiative to learn about other cultures and people groups. Even those of us who work in the diversity and inclusion field have more to learn. It is our responsibility to learn about other cultures and what makes them unique. We have to learn how to be an ally and check our social privilege before we can help others. If you do not know how to define, understand or talk about privilege, I suggest reading this article from GlobalCitizen.Org. Additionally, I have found that TEDTalks are a great resource as many of these short videos are powerful, impactful stories and have follow-up readings to enhance your learning. I suggest starting with “The career advice you probably didn’t get” by Susan Colantuono to learn more about the missing 33% of your business education.

Check Social Media! Look up #diversitymonth on your favorite social media channel and see what people are posting. Note, while you might not always agree with the content the goal is to try to understand where someone is coming from.

Watch a documentary! Documentaries are an excellent source of information and can range from the food industry to fashion to history and so much more. Documentaries can help with our personal education and professional development. I suggest watching The Out List (2013) to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.

Take an online course! Look to your company’s learning and development department to see which resources are available to you. LinkedIn Learning, amongst many other resources, offers free online courses about unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion.

Try a new recipe! A huge portion of any culture is food and drink. While you are learning about different cultures, take the time to try a recipe from a culture you are learning about to get a taste for it. For example, you can learn more about Spanish cuisine by visiting one of the online exhibits from the Real Academia de Gastronomía in Madrid, Spain.

Read a book! Books are a simple way to explore the world. To learn more about aging in America, check out Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age by Jo Ann Jenkins. Look for virtual memberships to your local library to gain access to their catalogs of international books, movies and more.

Visit the Google Art and Culture site! Google has provided some amazing resources to explore the art of the world! You can learn more about Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, visit Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, take a tour of the National Gallery in London, England or the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. One of my favorite museums, The J. Paul Getty Museum, is available to tour virtually providing insight into the life and times of many famous and diverse artists of all mediums. Search for virtual tours or information about your local museums to see what else you can learn about the artists around you.

Find a virtual run for a cause you care about! Reducing social stigmas and creating a sense of community is essential for diversity. Considering joining a virtual charity race that allows you to track your running and participation from anywhere in the world for a cause that matters to you! Visit sites like Gone for a Run or your local newspapers for other virtual charity run opportunities.

Spend time talking with loved ones about diversity! While having a discussion around diversity may be rough or awkward at first, do not be afraid to have these conversations. They can help alleviate social stigmas and provide an opportunity to understand your loved ones better. To start a discussion, watch a family movie about the importance of diversity and moving past our own biases. A recent example of this is the Walt Disney Studios hit, Zootopia (2016). Zootopia is a fantastic family film that shows the importance of diversity, understanding and inclusion of those who may differ from us in one way or another. Watching Zootopia as a family will allow you to start key discussions about how we treat one another and finding the value in every person. Another wonderful option is looking at the modern retelling of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms painting series and talking about the stories told within each reimagining.

Consider taking the Project Implicit Test! Part of a research study on unconscious bias, take this test to help you identify your implicit bias. We all have an unconscious and conscious bias. Learning where these biases lie will allow you to better navigate the world and open yourself up to new understanding and possibly new relationships with those around you.

Together, we can all take part in these activities, furthering our awareness and knowledge of diversity in our local communities and in the world. It is now up to you to take action! Visit the ON Semiconductor Diversity and Inclusion site to learn more.


Culinary Services announces Employees of the Month for January and February 2021

Ohio University Culinary Services has announced the January 2021 and February 2021 awardees of its Employee of the Month program, recognizing excellence in its employees.

Nominations may be submitted by OHIO employees via the Culinary Services’ website nomination form.

The employees awarded for January 2021 are Marsha Grubb and Veronica Hixson.

Grubb is a cook 1 currently working at the Central Food Facility. A few of the nomination remarks:

  • Marsha was instrumental in the testing process of CSK Tuc’s system and establishing our procedures. She maintains our expectations and looks for ways to improve production while maintaining a consistent high-quality product.
  • Marsha has excellent attendance. Marsha has a fantastic “CAN DO!” personality and puts others before herself. She is deeply valued and respected by management, her co-workers and the students.
  • Marsha is knowledgeable in all aspects of the kitchen and willingly shares her expertise.
  • Marsha was featured in the Ohio University Culinary behind the scenes mac -n- cheese YouTube video.

Q&A with Grubb:

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Read, visit friends and family, look for flea market finds.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working together with fellow employees and also making the best products for student meals.

What is your favorite song?

Hixson is a cook 3 currently working at The District on West Green. A few of the nomination remarks about Hixson:

  • The cook 3 position is a demanding job involving training and leading other cooks, organizing the daily production sheets, and building recipes for upcoming meal periods.
  • Vicky is hardworking, devoted and dedicated. She shows up to work on time and goes above and beyond when the need arises. Vicky does a great job keeping other cooks productive while working on recipes for the next day.
  • Vicky treats everyone around her with respect, and she is helpful and kind to all the students and BUE staff.

Q&A with Hixson:

What is your favorite motivational quote?

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I went to college to be a park ranger.

What is your favorite meal?

Chicken piccata and orzo pilaf.

What would you share with prospective OHIO candidates?

The employees awarded for February 2021 are Michael Holley and Cecilia Mensah.

Holley is a cook 1 currently working at Nelson Court. A few of the nomination remarks about Holley:

  • A+ on quality of food, presentation, interaction of customers, student workers and managers.
  • Mike has always had a strong work ethic, taking pride and ownership in his work. He has a strong knowledge of Nelson and all concepts in the venue. Day in and day out, he provides selfless acts of kindness to all around him.
  • Positively fun, kindhearted, humble but a silent ninja when it comes to getting the quality food out to our students!
  • Mike is a highly dedicated employee he is self-motivated and driven by his pride and ability to do amazing work. His food is as beautiful as his personality. Mike is a true Culinary team member. I'm proud and honored to work with Mike. This gentleman gets my vote every day!

Q&A with Holley:

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Relax and spend time with my daughter.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The cooking and interaction with the students.

What would you share with prospective OHIO candidates?

Keep your head up and aim for your goals.

What is your favorite motivational quote?

“Be so good that they can't ignore you.”

Mensah is a cook 1 currently working at Nelson Court. A few of the nomination remarks about Mensah:

  • Cecilia is always willing to jump right in and help other cooks.
  • Cecilia always has a great attitude and is a pleasure to work with.
  • I always know if I ask her to do something or need help, I can ask, and she'll be happy to assist.

Q&A with Mensah:

What is something most people don't know about you?

I had the opportunity to serve former President Bill Clinton during his 1998 visit to Accra, Ghana when I worked as a chef at the U.S embassy there.


Masarap, Masaya ang lutuin.

Make meals more delicious and enjoyable with your favorite NutriAsia products. Whatever it is that you want to cook or eat, we have a condiment to flavor and enhance it.

Pinoy Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is probably the most universal dish ever discovered as every country has its own version of this dish. In this recipe, we made it more Pinoy na Pinoy by marinating the chicken in patis overnight. The process allows the patis flavor to seep into the meat. To finish off the cooking process, the chicken was deep fried using Golden Fiesta Palm Oil, bringing out a golden crispy texture that’s perfect for dipping in a mix of banana catsup, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Winner! Winner! Pinoy fried chicken for dinner!

INGREDIENTS: 2 pc whole chicken (about 2.4 kg), cleaned and drained ½ cup DATU PUTI Patis 2 cups cornstarch 8 cups GOLDEN FIESTA Palm/ Canola Oil DIPPING SAUCES: 1 cup JUFRAN Banana Catsup ¼ cup UFC Hot Sauce ¼ cup Old English Worcestershire Sauce Procedure: 1. Marinate chicken in Datu.

Pork Binagoongan

The pungent smell of bagoong is as much a part of our sensory memories as langka and durian. The fermented shrimp paste takes center-stage in this popular dish from central Luzon.

INGREDIENTS ½ cup GOLDEN FIESTA Palm Oil ¼ cup chopped white onion 1 Tbsp chopped garlic ½ kg pork liempo, cut into chunks 2-1/2 Tbsp DATU PUTI Vinegar 1 Tbsp DATU PUTI Patis 2 Tbsp bagoong alamang 2 cups water ½ cup sliced tomatoes 1 pc siling labuyo, sliced 2.

Fried Pork Chop

Who wants their fried pork chop a little salty? We do! In this recipe, we’ve marinated the pork chop in Datu Puti Patis and calamansi. We let them roll around the Golden Fiesta Big Crunch Breading Mix and fried them using the Golden Fiesta Oil. Don’t forget to serve this with rice and catsup to fill your family’s tummies for the rest of the day!

INGREDIENTS 1 kg (5-6 pc) pork chops (1 inch thick slices) 1 Tbsp DATU PUTI Patis 1/2 tsp UFC Ground black pepper 3 pieces calamansi, juiced ¼ cup water 1 pack (60g) Golden Fiesta Big Crunch Breading Mix 2 cups Golden Fiesta Palm/ Canola Oil 1/2 cup PAPA Banana Catsup or Mang Tomas All-Around.

Inihaw na Baboy

Smell of smoke wafting from a grill signals that perfectly charred inihaw na baboy is up for lunch. Dipped in a mix of vinegar and soy sauce, this dish conjures memories of indulgently lazy summer weekends spent at home.

INGREDIENTS ½ cup SILVER SWAN Soy Sauce ¼ cup DATU PUTI Vinegar 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 pc onion, sliced 3 pc siling labuyo , chopped ½ tsp UFC Ground Pepper 1-1/2 kg pork liempo, sliced DIPPING SAUCE 1/2 cup DATU PUTI Sukang Sinamak 1/2 cup DATU PUTI Toyo Magic PREPARATION 1.


Heinz

Experience 150 years of the H.J. Heinz Company as part of the History Center’s new Heinz exhibition. Discover how the Heinz family business began with eight-year old Henry John Heinz selling produce from his mother’s garden in Sharpsburg and grew to a worldwide company with more than 5,700 products in 200 countries around the globe.

The History Center houses the largest collection of Heinz company artifacts and archival material in the world. The collection is beautifully highlighted in this 2,700 square-foot exhibit. Eye-catching displays and innovative interactives envelop the visitor in the world of H. J. Heinz and the Heinz Company.

A long-term exhibition at the History Center, the Heinz exhibit explores the important history behind one man’s entrepreneurial spirit and how he shaped the global corporation that continues to bear his name today. From its humble beginnings in a Sharpsburg garden, Henry John Heinz’s commitment to quality and innovation made the Heinz name synonymous with these qualities. His innate understanding of branding made his products immediately recognizable and his commitment to the product from seed to table made an impact on everything from the ingredients he used to how he treated his workers. After his death in 1919, the company continued to grow based on his principals of quality, innovation, and sustainability.

Heinz celebrates one of America’s most beloved companies.


Fast Food Workers To Hold One-Day Strike To Protest Low Wages

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fast food workers in New York and six other cities across the country were set to go on strike Monday, on the grounds that their wages are just too low to live on.

Workers will walk out for a one-day strike at several major and well-known fast food purveyors, including McDonald&rsquos, Burger King, KFC and Wendy&rsquos, according to a Washington Post report.

The walkouts will be held in New York, as well as Chicago Detroit Milwaukee St. Louis Kansas City and Flint, Mich., the newspaper reported.

Jonathan Westin, director of Fast Food Forward and the executive director of New York Communities for Change, said fast food workers are not paid a living wage despite having to raise families.

&ldquoA lot of the workers are living in poverty, you know, not being able to afford to put food on the table or take the train to work,&rdquo he told 1010 WINS. &ldquoThe workers are striking over the fact that they can&rsquot continue to maintain their families on the wages they&rsquore being paid in the fast food industry.&rdquo

Westin said the purpose of the strike is to spur interest and momentum across the country among all fast food workers whom he said are suffering from low wages and unfair labor practices.

&ldquoWhat it has accomplished is mobilizing workers having them get excited about a campaign to really change the conditions that are really pervasive in the fast food industry of paying poverty wages, throughout the history of the industry,&rdquo he said.

The protesters called on fast food restaurants to pay $15 per hour, almost double the current statewide average pay of $8.25 per hour.

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


A Brief History of the Crock Pot

When Leeann Wallett reflects on happy days from her childhood, she thinks of New Year’s Eve. Each year, Wallett’s mother would whip up an impressive spread of 1970s-style appetizers. “My mom was never a huge cook,” Wallett recalls, “but when she did cook, it was spectacular.”

The centerpiece of these meals was a miniature Crock Pot called the Crockette, which kept food hot from dinner until the clock struck midnight. The recipes varied from year to year—sometimes tangy-sweet meatballs mixed with pineapple, sometimes cocktail weiners jazzed up with cherry pie filling—but all still strike a deep chord of nostalgia for Wallett, who grew up to become an avid home cook and, in her spare time, a food writer for local and regional outlets in her home state of Delaware.

These memories took on new significance when Wallett’s mother passed away in 2008. The Crockette went into storage for a few years, but eventually, it found its way back into her kitchen. Today, she uses the little Crock Pot to serve warm artichoke dip during football games, and to keep her mother’s memory alive.

Nearly 80 years after its patent was issued, the Crock Pot continues to occupy a warm place in American kitchens and hearts. For Paula Johnson, curator for the Division of Work & Industry at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the Crock Pot’s ubiquity lends to its charm. When Johnson returns to family potlucks in her own Minnesota hometown, she can count on seeing a long, buffet line of Crock Pots.

“The idea of being able to produce something quickly and without a lot of mess, either prep or clean up, is a time-honored tradition,” Johnson says.

Irving Nachumsohn's "Cooking Apparatus," patented January 23, 1940. (U.S. Patent 2,187,888)

The Crock Pot’s story began during the 19th century in Vilna, a Jewish neighborhood in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania. Once known as the " Jerusalem of the North," Vilna attracted a thriving community of writers and academics. There, Jewish families anticipated the Sabbath by preparing a stew of meat, beans and vegetables on Fridays before nightfall. Ingredients in place, people took their crocks to their towns’ bakeries—specifically, to the still-hot ovens that would slowly cool overnight. By morning, the low-and-slow residual heat would result in a stew known as cholent .

Long before he invented the modern slow cooker, Irving Nachumsohn learned of this tradition from a relative. Nachumsohn was born in New Jersey in 1902, where he joined an older brother, Meyer, and later gained a younger sister, Sadie. His mother, Mary, who immigrated to the U.S. from Russia, left Jersey City for Fargo, North Dakota, after her husband’s death, eventually crossing the border into Winnepeg, Manitoba, to help Meyer avoid being drafted into service during World War I. Irving Nachumsohn grew up to study electrical engineering through a correspondence course, later returning to the United States, specifically Chicago, as Western Electric’s first Jewish engineer.

Duck cholent (Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post/Getty Images)

When he wasn’t at work, Nachumsohn explored his passion for inventing, even passing the patent bar exam himself to avoid hiring a lawyer. With time, Nachumsohn was able to start his own company, Naxon Utilities Corp., where he focused on honing inventions full time.

Nachumsohn’s inventions—such as his electric frying pan and his early version of the modern lava lamp—found traction in stores and homes. His telesign laid the groundwork for the electronic news scrollers that light up major cities, delivering headlines and stock movements to passersby. (The most famous of these is Times Square’s “Zipper.”)

According to Nachumsohn’s daughter, Lenore, her father’s broad range of inventions is evidence of his curiosity and devotion to problem-solving. In their household, the slow cooker was a solution to summer heat, allowing the family to prepare meals without turning on the oven. Nachumsohn applied for the patent on May 21, 1936, and it was granted on January 23, 1940.

Nachumsohn’s slow cooker went to market more than a decade later, during the 1950s, although the reason for this delay is not clear. At the time, the slow cooker seemed unlikely to catapult Nachumsohn to fame, though it did highlight another significant development in his family’s life—a new name. In 1945, World War II put an uncomfortable spotlight on Americans with German names, prompting Nachumsohn to shorten his family’s name to Naxon. This explains why Nachumsohn’s first slow cooker was called the Naxon Beanery, a squat crock with a fitted lid and a heating element built around its inner chamber to promote even cooking.

When Naxon retired in 1970, he sold his business to Kansas City’s Rival Manufacturing for cash—marking a turning point in the Crock Pot’s history. By then, the Naxon Beanery was nearly forgotten, according to then-president Isidore H. Miller. As Rival integrated Naxon Utilities into its larger operations, its team of home economists were tasked with testing the Naxon Beanery’s versatility.

At Chicago’s 1971 National Housewares Show, Rival unveiled its newly rebranded version of the Naxon Beanery. Dubbed the Crock Pot, the appliance received a new name, refreshed appearance and a booklet of professionally-tested recipes. Home cooks eagerly brought their Crock Pots home, in distinctly 󈦦s hues like Harvest Gold and Avocado. Advertising campaigns, along with word of mouth, drove sales from $2 million in 1971 to an astounding $93 million four years later.

Pennsylvania residents Robert and Shirley Hunter received this Rival Crockpot as a Christmas gift from Shirley's mother Martha around 1974. It is now part of the National Museum of American History's collection. (NMAH)

It was during this initial boom that Robert and Shirley Hunter received their own avocado-toned Crock Pot as a gift. Now on display at the National Museum of American History, the Crock Pot once cooked the Pennsylvania-based family’s favorite meals, like halushki, a hearty Polish dish of cabbage, onion, garlic and noodles.

Those meals—home cooked, comforting and nutritious—form the basis for the Crock Pot’s place in American food culture, Johnson says. The Crock Pot arrived at a poignant moment in America’s evolving relationship to food, as companies pumped time-saving technologies into the market at a rapid clip. The Crock Pot arrived alongside Tupperware, microwaves and frozen dinners, all promising greater convenience for working women and their families. In fact, a 1975 advertisement that ran in the Washington Post explicitly branded the Crock Pot as “perfect for working women.”

At the same time, chefs such as Alice Waters and Julia Child encouraged home cooks to embrace fresh ingredients and professional cooking techniques. Williams-Sonoma had provided home cooks with specialized cookware since 1956, and it was joined in 1972 by the arrival of Sur La Table. The Back to the Land movement rejected processed foods, instead urging Americans to rediscover the value in gardening and artisanal products.

“It’s just part of the bigger context of changes in how we eat in that post-war period,” Johnson says. “There are strands of technology and innovation, and there are also strands of different ideas about producing and preparing food.” The Crock Pot seemed to span both perspectives. “Crock Pot is one of those examples of one brand that really, really resonated with a lot of people around the country,” Johnson adds.

A multi-use appliance, most Crock Pot recipes don’t require any special equipment or knowledge. While some recipes—like the cocktail weiner and cherry pie mixture Wallett remembers—called for heavily processed ingredients, the Crock Pot can also be used to prepare fresh ingredients with a fraction of the effort. Today, modern recipe websites like the Kitchn explicitly marry technology with a Back to the Land mentality by encouraging home cooks to slow cook, then freeze, batches of CSA produce.

Ultimately, the Crock Pot’s legacy is that it encourages cooks of all experience levels to get into the kitchen. “It's a simple device,” Johnson says. “It's hard to go wrong. People who don't have a lot of culinary training can figure it out.”

Homemade cranberry sauce simmers in a Crock Pot. (Ronda Kimbrow Photography/Getty Images)

This widespread appeal continues to drive sales today. According to Statista, Americans purchased 12.7 million slow cookers in 2018. Crock Pots now share a crowded slow cooker market with dozens of competitors, including KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach and Instant Pot, a Canadian pressure cooker that was the most wish-listed item on Amazon in 2017. Still, the Crock Pot remains iconic, reliably nabbing spots on "Best Of” lists by Consumer Reports, New York magazine’s The Strategist and Good Housekeeping.

In a strange twist, the television show This Is Us gave the Crock Pot both a PR crisis and an unexpected boost in sales. In January 2018, the NBC drama revealed a faulty Crock Pot as the cause of a main character’s death. The plot point ignited a storm of social media outrage, even pushing Crock Pot to join Twitter for the first time to defuse the communications crisis.

Despite public blowback, the incident spurred a new wave of sales. According to Mark Renshaw, then Edelman’s global chair of brand practice, Crock Pot sales leapt by $300,892 during the month after the episode aired. (Crock Pot is a client of Edelman, a global PR and marketing firm.)

The Crock Pot’s continued impact is also apparent on AllRecipes, America’s most popular—and revealing—online recipe aggregator. There, amateur cooks and professionals alike have compiled nearly 2,500 recipes designed for slow cookers. In fact, slow cooker recipes are so popular that they command their own category.

At the time of writing, AllRecipes’ most popular slow cooker meal was a version of Salisbury steak, made with lean ground beef, Italian breadcrumbs and a packet of onion soup mix. More than 5,000 people have made it, generating hundreds of comments and photos. “This recipe is our ‘go-to’ for busy days,” one reviewer praised.

For Wallett, too, slow cooker recipes save time and energy. During the final month of her pregnancy last summer, Wallett prepared and froze dozens of scratch-cooked meals. These days, she’s more likely to reach for her Crock Pot or Instant Pot to make an easy dinner while caring for her newborn son.

“Now that he's here, I always want to do those dump meals, where you dump everything in the slow cooker and just let it go,” Wallett says, laughing. “In between naps, I can sauté onions and everything, then throw it all in the Crock Pot.”

Wallett’s vintage Crockette is still going strong, though she now reserves it for special occasions. Maybe one day, she’ll pass it down, too.


What you may not know about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire

Shirtwaist made by Fisk, Clark & Flagg, about 1910.
Shirtwaists, tailored blouses of the 1890s and early 1900s, became especially popular with working-class women because, unlike a full dress, they were easy to clean and offered freedom of movement.

One of the most infamous tragedies in American manufacturing history is the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire of 1911. You may recall the story—how a blaze in a New York City sweatshop resulted in the fiery death of 146 people, mostly immigrant women in their teens and 20s. When workers found exit doors locked, jammed narrow staircases, and a fire escape collapsed, they resorted to jumping from the 10-story building to a gruesome death.

However, what happened at the Triangle factory is more than an industrial disaster story it has become a touchstone, and often a critique, of capitalism in the United States. As an online exhibit from Cornell University's Kheel Center explains, "The tragedy still dwells in the collective memory of the nation and of the international labor movement. The victims of the tragedy are still celebrated as martyrs at the hands of industrial greed."

As I reflect on the episode, many thoughts swirl through my mind. But two big questions rise to the surface: Are the details of the story accurately remembered? And what can we still learn from the incident today? Let us run down the facts.

Anti-sweatshop advertisement, Saturday Evening Post, 1902.
Sweatshops were common in the early New York garment industry. An 1895 definition described a sweatshop operator as an "…employer who underpays and overworks his employees, especially a contractor for piecework in the tailoring trade." This work often took place in small, dank tenement apartments.

Was Triangle a sweatshop run by greedy owners?

Sweatshops were (and continue to be) a huge problem in the hypercompetitive garment industry. The Triangle Waist Company was not, however, a sweatshop by the standards of 1911. It was a modern factory for its time, occupying about 27,000 square feet on three floors in a brightly lit 10-year-old building, and employing about 500 workers. Of course, even work in a legitimate factory can be monotonous, grueling, dangerous, and poorly paid.

Most of the workers killed in the Triangle factory fire were women in their late teens or early 20s. The youngest were two14-year-old girls. It was not unusual in 1911 for girls that young to work, and even today 14-year-olds—and even preteens—can legally perform paid manual labor in the United States under certain conditions.

While calling the Triangle Waist Company owners 'greedy' was not a perfect assessment, its true that they were not saints. Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were hard-driving entrepreneurs who, like many other business owners, cut corners as they relentlessly pushed to grow their enterprise.

Singer sewing machine, about 1920.
Triangle had modern well-maintained equipment, including hundreds of belt-driven sewing machines mounted on long tables and run from floor-mounted shafts.

What caused the fire?

Attributing the cause of the fire to negligence on the part of the owners fit the media narrative of the time. That understanding continues today. Period newspapers reported several different causes of the fire, including poorly maintained equipment. Court testimony attributed the source of the blaze to a fabric scrap bin, which led to a fire that spread explosively—fed by all the lightweight cotton fabric (and material dust) in the factory. Despite rules forbidding smoking, the fire was probably ignited by a discarded cigarette or cigar. Few women smoked in 1911 so the culprit was likely one of the cutters (a strictly male job).

Like many other garment shops, Triangle had experienced fires that were quickly extinguished with water from pre-filled buckets that hung on the walls. Neither the owners, nor the landlord, invested in extra firefighting systems like sprinklers. While the contents of the factory were highly combustible, the building itself was considered fireproof (and survived the fire without structural damage). Triangle dealt with fire hazards to their equipment and inventory by buying insurance. Worker safety in this period was not the first concern.

Union banner, about 1910.
Around 1910 the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) began to gain traction in their effort to organize women and girls, such as those who worked at the Triangle factory. Radical labor leaders like Clara Lemlich displaced many of the conservative male unionists and pushed for socialism and a more equitable division of profits.

Were workers demanding safer conditions?

In the early 1900s, workers, banding together in unions to gain bargaining power with the owners, struggled to create lasting organizations. Most of the garment workers were poor immigrants barely scraping by. Putting food on the table and sending money to families in their home countries took precedence over paying union dues. Harder yet, the police and politicians sided with owners and were more likely to jail strikers than help them.

Despite the odds, Triangle workers went on strike in late 1909. The walkout expanded, becoming the Uprising of 20,000—a citywide strike of predominantly women shirtwaist workers. The workers pressed for immediate needs—more money, a 52-hour work week, and a better way for dealing with the unemployment that came with seasonal apparel change. The workers directed less pressure at gaining safer shops.

Triangle owner Blanck and Harris were extremely anti-union. They eventually gave in to pay raises, but would not make the factory a "closed shop" that would employ only union members.

The (New York)World front page, 1911. Media coverage of the Triangle factory fire was extensive. Joseph Pulitzer's World newspaper with its sensational "yellow" journalism stories led the way. Vivid reports of women hurling themselves from the building to certain death were widely reported. The outpouring of interest helped propel new laws and regulations. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Had the owners followed the law, would lives have been spared?

The Triangle factory fire was truly horrific, but few laws and regulations were broken. Accused of locking the secondary exits (in order to stop employee theft), Blanck and Harris were tried for manslaughter but acquitted.

That New York's building codes were outdated, and its high-rise buildings were finding new (and sometimes unsafe) uses, was a major cause of the loss of life. Instead of tall buildings warehousing dry goods with just a few clerks inside, as in the past, buildings were now housing factories with hundreds of workers. What few building codes existed were woefully inadequate and under-enforced. Outrage over the fire motivated politicians in New York and around the country to pass new laws better regulating and safeguarding human life in the workplace.

The media coverage of the Triangle factory fire also marked the rise of progressive reformers and a turning point in the politics of New York's democratic political machine, Tammany Hall. The political machine woke up to the needs, and increasing power, of Jewish and Italian working-class immigrants. Affluent reformers such as Frances Perkins, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, and Anne Morgan also pushed for change. While politicians still looked out for the interests of moneyed elite, the stage was being set for the rise of labor unions and the coming of the New Deal.

Cash register from Marshall Field's, 1914. At the turn of the century a shopping revolution swept the nation as consumers flocked to downtown palace department stores, attracted by a wide selection of goods sold at inexpensive prices in luxurious environments.

Epilogue

Today most Americans know a mostly accurate, if jumbled, account of the Triangle Waist Company factory fire, but few realize the role of consumers in the death of the 146 workers. The women in the factory made ready-to-wear clothing, the shirtwaists that young women in offices and factories wanted to wear. Their labor, and low wages, made fashionable clothing affordable. Seeking efficiency, manufacturers applied mass production techniques in increasingly large garment shops. Entrepreneurs prospered, and even working-class people could afford to buy stylish clothing. When tragedy struck (as happens today), some blamed manufacturers, some pointed to workers, and others criticized government.

In a paradox of action, Americans pushed for both lower prices and safer, better-regulated factories, throughout the 1900s. Today attitudes have largely changed. While workplace tragedies like the Imperial Food Co. fire of 1991 in North Carolina and the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster of 2010 in West Virginia have taken the lives of many, the desire for regulation and enforcement has abated. The pressure for low prices, however, remains intense.

Peter Liebhold is a co-curator of the American Enterprise exhibition.


Watch the video: Museum of Food and Drink (May 2022).