Friday, June 12, 2009

Fast Food

Yesterday I indulged in a little volunteerism. This Is The Place Monument in Salt Lake City also has a full scale Mormon pioneer village/settlement, and they use a TON of volunteers. Those who know me might remember I worked at TITP as their historian a dozen years ago. So anyway, I thought it might a good place to experiment with some of this food stuff I've been researching. I got all dressed up in my duds and went to do an afternoon of sharing info with visitors.

Yesterday was "free day" at TITP and they say they had about 8,000 visitors. It was busy. It was also raining most of the afternoon. I tried to work in the garden as much as I could between spats of rain. I brought my excerpts from Elijah Larkin's diary to share, and I managed to share some of it sometimes (mostly with the other volunteers). In the garden, the most I ever was able to share with people was, "Yes, this is how they grew their food. These are beans coming up here." So I never really got to talk about the research I've been doing. Even though people came to the park to see history, not many wanted to stop and talk about history. In the house, they were using the coffee grinder-- wait, I mean the "spice grinder" to show people how to grind wheat. (Some pioneers did use coffee grinders to grind wheat before mills were established).

It seems that people want fast and dirty information; condensed snippets void of context. Wheat ground in a coffee grinder. Beans in the garden. This makes me think that perhaps a more successful book would be "1,001 strange facts about pioneer food" or "101 Mormon recipes void of context." Just the quick and dirty. After all, isn't that what a blog is? Just a quickie.

4 comments:

Cowboy Curtis said...

Just means you'll have to write two books. One more scholarly, one more cutesy-fun. That way everyone feels good about it.

Lori Ann said...

I am guilty of wanting info void of context. I think it is because we all have our own areas of interest and zone out when people go in depth on theirs. Which is sad.

I think the next time you go, you should say outrageous stuff to see if they believe you and pass it on.

Like " What what most people don't realize is the the Word Of Wisedom was temporarily revoked during the poineer crossing. Those jugs are where they distilled their whiskey. Oh yes, Brother Brigham liked a nice glass of whiskey after a hard day on the trail"

Jen said...

I agree with Lori. ha ha

After all, if Paul H. Dunn did it, so can you.

Brock said...

The thing is, I wouldn't have to make that stuff up. It happened just like you say. Consider this diary entry on the trail from Caroline Barnes Crosby: "Sept 15, 1848 [Guests in camp, so she]...treated them to a drink of whiskey alcohol. We had a very sociable time with br. F who staid with us until bedtime."

But I'm sure if I riled the visitors up, they'd ask me not to come back again.