Glenna Snow was the home economics editor for the Akron Beacon Journal in the 1930s and 1940s. Snow and the newspaper produced a book of readers’ recipes in 1938. Six years later, adding more recipes and a substitution section due to government rationing during WWII, the 1944 edition was published.
Introduced by historian, Kevin Kern, this reprint edition contains 1385 “recipes in a readable form so that each ingredient, with its amount falls into the proper place at the proper time, to give the best results.” The recipes are diverse and unique including instructions for “War Cake” and “Martha Washington Omelet.” Common staples like “Coffee Cake,” “Pot Roast with Vegetables,” and “Apple Sauce” are included. Among the more distinctive recipes are “Potato Doughnuts,” “Squirrel Stew,” and “Souse.” Kern explains that the cook book is an historical primary source. These recipes are not only a list of ingredients, but a record of the ethnic groups that populated the Akron area prior to and during WWII.
The cook book also illustrates the scarcity experienced during war by containing a substantial section on preserving food with methods such as canning, drying, and pickling. During the period covered by the two publications, electrification is becoming more widespread with recipes reflecting the change in technology. The cook book is a perfectly-preserved “fossil” of the archaeology of Akron and the Midwest during a period when America was recovering from the Great Depression and fighting a global war. More though, the book is a collection of recipes and techniques that are as relevant today as when they were collected.