Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trout "a la Woods"

This article first appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of "New York Archives" magazine, a benefit of membership in the Archives Partnership Trust www.nysarchivestrust.org.  It is reprinted here with permission from the Trust.

Trout "a la Woods"
by Christine Karpiak

Fishing in the Adirondacks is great sport.  Cooking and eating the catch is good, too -- especially with lake trout on the menu.  This "Adirondack Trout" recipe by Martin E. McClary appears in records of the New York State Federal Writer's Project.  As part of the Works Progress Administration, the Writer's Project gave jobs to thousands of unemployed writers during the Great Depression.  Editors and "field workers" compiled guides, collections of rural and urban folklore, ethnic studies, and oral histories for publication

In 1941, research was underway for New York's contribution to a series on food customs, to be called "America Eats."  On January 8th, WPA field worker Alfred S. Bendell (Franklin-Saranac Lake district) sent Mr. McClary's recipe, as it had appeared in the Malone Cook Book, to the project director's office for consideration.  But with the advent of World War II, the Writer's Project was nearing its end, and as the program was phased out cookery suggestions joined other works in progress sent from district offices to Albany for review.  Mr. McClary's trout recipe has today fared better than "America Eats," which was never published.

Note:  The recipe appears in the 1923 (7th) edition of The Malone Cookbook (page 33). 

Other resources:
Photos taken for WPA "America Eats" project at the Library of Congress
-  2008 book based on the unpublished "America Eats":  America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA - the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin Feasts That Define Real American Food by Pat Willard
-  Listen to NPR segments on the "America Eats" project 
New York's contribution to the Federal Writers' Project "American Guide" Series
National Archives Guide to Records of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)

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