Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. The Saturday show airs again at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast.
Also, you can join us in the West Reading Room of the Central Library on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. to listen to and discuss the live show. Prizes are available for those who know the answer to the History Mystery.
Dec. 12, 2009 show - Victorian-era dining
Hold on to your hat. Indianapolis-based dietitian Kim Galeaz has hunted up Christmas Day menus from the 1890s in Indianapolis that featured oysters among the delicacies served. How could this be in the landlocked Hoosier state? Kim, the owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, will be Nelson’s guest to share insights about what the Victorians ate as well as their approach to meals and how they dined, including a look at some of their bygone dining ware. The Victorian era generally is defined as 1837 to 1901.
For a cover story in the December issue of Urban Times, Kim hunted up three Christmas menus from 1890s homes in Indianapolis that include food choices that are, as she puts it, “striking similar to ours today.” For example, potato chips are listed on one of the Victorian-era menus. (Nelson plans to inquire whether these chips of yore were similar to the munchies that tempt people today.) Other items served during Victorian-era meals would seldom be found in Hoosier homes of 2009, including venison and (gulp) opossum.
To put together the article for Urban Times, the newspaper that covers downtown Indy’s historic neighborhoods, Kim explored the kitchens and dining rooms of three home museums: the Morris-Butler House, the President Benjamin Harrison Home, and the James Whitcomb Riley Home. She found an unusual serving platter for venison and a specially designed dish with a swiveling base for oranges. Kim says the swiveling base allowed Victorians to drink the juice “and not waste one bit” of the precious citrus during our cold months.
Speaking of oranges, venison and opossum: Nelson plans to ask Kim how the Victorians’ menu choices compare to ours in terms of healthful eating. A culinary nutrition expert, Kim is a consultant to food and beverage companies, restaurants and supermarkets in Indy and Jacksonville, Fla. (Although her primary residence is in the historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, Kim will join Nelson by phone because she’s at her Florida abode this week.)
Some fun facts:
- Victorians had much different attitudes than today’s families about how and where their children dined, according to Kim’s article. They also had different approaches to portion control and the pace of their meals. Tune in to learn the details.
- Full breakfasts were daily occurrences during the Victorian era, which Kim says is a good thing. Apparently, their morning meals often included suet, which – well, Nelson will ask whether that was such a good thing. He’ll also ask Kim to describe suet for those who have never partaken.
- In addition to venison and potato chips, other items featured on Victorian-era holiday menus, as reported by Kim, include turnips, beef tongue, plum pudding and cranberry pie.
- A frequent guest on TV and radio shows with her tips about healthy eating, Kim writes "Dining with the Dietitian" features for Urban Times; they can be savored at www.urbantimesonline.com.
History Mystery question
During the Victorian era in Indianapolis, the oldest restaurant in the city (that’s still operating today) opened.
Question: Name the restaurant. Note that this is a sit-down restaurant, not an establishment that’s primarily a tavern.
The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and the prize for the correct answer is a pair of tickets to the Indiana State Museum, courtesy of the ICVA. Additional prizes will be available at the Fireside Chats group at the Central Library for those with the correct answer. Please do not call in to the station until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.
Speaking of the History Mystery, at least five of you came up to Nelson in person at last Saturday's Holiday Author Fair and whispered the words "Natalie Wood" in his ear. Well, Nelson was quite excited, as "Natalie Wood" was the answer to last week's History Mystery! Some of the other authors thought this was a little bizarre, but we had to have the History Mystery answered in a different way because we didn't have telephone call-in to the show last week. Visit our website to learn the History Mystery question for which "Natalie Wood" was the answer.
Chris Gahl of the ICVA will tell us about the city's upcoming 12 Free Days of Indy Christmas. Is there that special Central Indiana attraction that you've never quite made it to? Are holiday financial woes getting your attention? It's time to be carefree and celebrate Indianapolis! From Dec. 13 to 24, you can take a special Roadtrip each day that is FREE and open to the public. From the Harrison Home to the Eiteljorg, from Conner Prairie to Morris-Butler House, our Roadtripper will tell us about this very special holiday journey.
Your friends in Hoosierdom,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Armstrong Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Richard Sullivan, tech and web director
Garry Chilluffo, online editor
Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Antique Helper, Skip Sauvain of Sycamore Group Realtors, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.
Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia Inc., Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Drew Pastorek, and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through sponsorships and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn more.
Dec. 19 - Fletcher Place neighborhood history
Among the earliest movers and shakers in Indianapolis history, probably no name looms larger than Calvin Fletcher. An entrepreneur and banker who kept extensive, detailed diaries, Fletcher also owned a sprawling farm south of the Mile Square. In the 1850s, the Fletcher farm was divided into lots, and the Fletcher Place neighborhood eventually began to blossom. Today it’s in the midst of a revival, along with nearby Fountain Square to the south, making Fletcher Place ideal as the next focus of our rotating series exploring Indy neighborhoods.
Nelson will be joined in studio by Jeff Miller and Mary Jo Showley, both of whom are longtime neighborhood residents. Jeff, the president of the Fletcher Place Neighborhood Association, renovated an Italianate home built in 1874 that, he says, had been dubbed “one of the three ugly stepsisters” because of its once-dilapidated condition. (It’s now home, sweet home, for Jeff, his wife, and their 3-year-old son.) Mary Jo, a Realtor, arts patron and former choral conductor at the long-closed Harry Wood High School, once taught students who lived in Fletcher Place and Fountain Square.
There’s much turf to cover with them, including everything from economic development initiatives to a proposed “bark park.” Fletcher Place generally is defined as east of East Street, west of I-65/I-70, south of Lord Street and north of I-70. Jeff likes to tout part of the neighborhood group’s mission statement that calls for “preservation, revitalization, and the promotion of the neighborhood as a walkable community ... with the goal of creating a total urban community while maintaining a respect for the past.”
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Our newly revamped website is chock-full of Hoosier history, including details of past and upcoming Hoosier History Live! shows. Visit us at www.hoosierhistorylive.info to see what's up. And tell your friends to subscribe to the weekly show email at our website as well.
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