Tag Archives: Cooperative Extension

Friday Foodie: Crumbs in the Cream

Homespun Ice Cream
Mrs. Twidale, Lost Cabin

Dry whole wheat muffins or bread and put through fine food chopper. To one cup of the crumbs, add one cup of brown sugar, one quart of thin cream, two teaspoons vanilla, few grains salt and a quarter cup of coconut or nuts ground with the crumbs. Freeze.

As odd as this recipe sounds to modern American palates, it dates back to Victorian England and has a strong following in modern Ireland where it is best known as brown bread ice cream. The question is, how did it come to Fremont County in 1929?

Twidale 2

Ethel’s recipe for ice cream appears on the very bottom of the front page of this Fremont County Extension newsletter as a part of their suggested Thanksgiving Menu. (WSA Fremont County Clerk, Home Demonstration Agent Annual Report, 1929)

Mrs. Ethel Cleworth Twidale was born in England in 1880. She married Joseph W. Twidale on March 12, 1910 in Manchester, England. Their honeymoon must have been their voyage to the US, because they arrived New York City in April and were in West Casper, Natrona County, Wyoming, just in time to be enumerated in the Federal census on May 12-14.

Twidale NY Passenger List from Ancestry copy

Joseph and Ethel arrived in New York on April 2, 1910 on the ship Campania. They gave their destination as Casper, Wyoming. (New York passenger List, Ancestry.com)

Born in 1877, Joseph was the 2nd son of a farmer with 8 other children. Ethel interesting is listed as a “spinster” on her marriage record. She was 30 years old at the time. The couple followed Joseph’s younger brothers Samuel and Frank who came to America in 1905 and settled in Natrona County. In 1915, the couple became US citizens and in 1916, they proved up on their homestead just across the Fremont-Natrona County line from Lysite.

Twidale

County and State Extension Agents often asked for volunteers to allow them to demonstrate new techniques, methods or skills to the local community. The Twidale’s home was used to model landscaping and home beautification by planting native trees and shrubs. The county agent’s 1929 report included the site plan and a photo of the property before work began. (WSA Fremont County Clerk, Home Demonstration Agent Annual Report, 1929)

The family agreed to allow the State Forestry Extension Agent to use their newly built log home to demonstrate ranch beautification. A plan for the planting of trees, bushes, flowers and a clover lawn were included in the Fremont County Extension Agent’s 1929 annual report.

Later in life, the couple moved to Billing and lived on Wyoming Avenue. Joseph died in early 1954 and Ethel in 1959. Both are buried in Billings.

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How To Make A Mattress

Not satisfied with the commercially produced mattresses available today? Have you ever wonder how to make your own? Well thank goodness the Wyoming Agricultural Extension Service (now the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service) can help! Since 1914, in addition to providing advice on livestock and crops, the Extension Service provided folks with demonstrations and workshops on everything from canning garden produce and sewing clothes to how to use color in home decoration and how to refinish furniture. In this series of photos from the 1940s, Wyoming Home Economics Specialist Pauline Bunting helps an unidentified community group stitch and stuff mattresses.

Between 1987 and 1989, the Wyoming Extension Homemaker’s Council interviewed many of the long time homemakers club members  about their experiences with homemakers extension clubs over the years. Many of these women started in the clubs in the 1930s and 1940s as new brides. Several mentioned community mattress making projects and demonstrations like this one during their club days, and especially during the early 1940s and World War II.

In the fall of the year we used to make mattresses. We went to the community hall, everyone in the neighborhood that needed mattresses. The government would furnish the cotton and the material for the mattresses, but we had instructions that showed us how to make ’em. We could make about four mattresses at a time… I can’t remember how long it took us to make a mattress, three days I think. By the time we got finished, everyone [had] a mattress… [Folks came by] Model T’s or team and wagon or whatever. Some of them came on horseback. We’d take our lunch and stay all day. We were pretty tired at the end of the day. — Mabel Doris Hageman of Douglas, Wyoming (H98-44 Box 4)

The first step was to make patterns and cut out the ticking for the mattress covers. Ticking is the sturdy cotton fabric used for mattress and pillow covers. It is usually off-white with brightly colored pin-stripping.

(WSA P2008-10/81)

(WSA P2008-10/81)

Here an extension agent helps a man sew the ticking together for the mattress cover. They are wearing bandannas over their noses so they do not breath in the fine cotton dust.

(WSA P2008-10/82)

(WSA P2008-10/82)

Weighing cotton for stuffing the mattresses. Notice the bandannas again. Cotton came in large bats and the cotton was weighed out to ensure each mattress received its fair share. According to a 1940s USDA circular, 50 pounds of cotton went into each mattress.

(WSA P2008-10/83)

(WSA P2008-10/83)

Rolling out the cotton onto the ticking. Rolling rather than stuffing produced a more even mattress.

(WSA P2008-10/84)

(WSA P2008-10/84)

Then it is time to add the top ticking and stitch it to the sides. The stick that is waiving in the foreground is a broomstick used to beat out the lumps in the stuffing.

We’d go down there and we’d take our broom, and I suppose you’re wondering how a broom helped? We had to beat ’em when we got those layers in. We had to beat those layers of cotton so long to mat ’em together. — Mabel Doris Hageman

(WSA P2008-10/85)

(WSA P2008-10/85)

After the ticking is sewn closed, a welt was sewn around the edges to give it shape and keep it square. Look how handy these men are with those long needles!

(WSA P2008-10/86)

(WSA P2008-10/86)

Almost done!

(WSA P2008-10/87)

(WSA P2008-10/87)

The mattress was then couched to keep the stuffing from shifting. Couching is a process where you attach buttons to each side of the mattress and pull them tightly together. The buttons keep the thread from pulling or wearing holes in the fabric.

(WSA P2008-10/88)

(WSA P2008-10/88)

The finished mattress is ready for a bed and a good night’s sleep after all that work.

(WSA P2008-10/89)

(WSA P2008-10/89)

For more information, take a look at this wonderful  ca 1940 circular from the USDA encouraging farm families, especially in the south, to turn surplus cotton into mattresses. Thanks to our friends at the National Agricultural Library Special Collections for digitizing this gem!

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