Cooking With Betty: Expenses and (More) Pickles

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet!

 

Like now, balancing expenses and managing credit and finances were just as important to running household in the 1950’s , as you can see in this week’s excerpts from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

EXPENSES

Water and sewer was installed on 103 Avenue by our house in the summer of 1950 and we got a bathroom installed and water on by the fall. First electric ringer washing machine for me that fall – cost $148.00, before that in the wash tub and scrub board. The electricity and water bill paid every month, property taxes once a year. House heated and cooked on coal and wood stoves, so this had to be ordered and purchased. Natural gas installed on our street in 1953 so changed to a gas heater and electric cook stove. No vehicle for two years, truck ordered and it arrived in ’49 or ’50 – a new Chevy pickup truck – cost $995.00

 

CREDIT AND FINANCES
Most grocery stores ran a monthly credit system, also butcher shops. We didn’t use credit very much – planned and saved for a purchase before buying it and paying cash. With boarders and my gang we were 10-12 per meal, three times a day, so lots of cooking and food bills.

Pickling was an excellent way individual households could preserve food for long periods of time and were, as you can see, quite popular, given Betty had four distinct recipes for them.

Dill Pickles

 

Soak cucumbers overnite [sic] in H2O with alu [sic] about size of 1/2 pea to 1 qt. pickles. In A.M wipe dry & cut & pack in jars with 2 heads of dill. Make following solution & pour over pickles boiling hot & seal.

 

2 c. vinegar 2 c. water & 1/4 c. salt
4 c. 4 c. 1/2 c covers 9 qts
10 lbs cukes makes 8 qts pickles

Green Tomato Pickles

 

19 green tomatoes & 10 onions, soak overnite [sic] in salt H2O. In AM drain and add 4 apples, 8 red peppers, 4 c. br. sugar 1 tbsp. cinnamon & cloves 1 qt. vinegar. Cook slowly 4 hrs or till thick.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

Cooking With Betty: Finances and Pickles

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet!

 

Family finances were as important in the 1950s as they are now. Enjoy Betty’s thoughts from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

FINANCES
Records in old expense books states take-home pay from $75.00 to $90.00 every two weeks. I did some custom sewing; had boarders (two junior boys who worked for the Royal Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia) their wages were $100.00 a month. They paid $30.00 a month board and room, each sharing a room. I did their laundry for $3.00 a month which included 10-12 dress shirts a week. I also did some mending for them. They had to wear suits or blazers and dress pants and good shoes to work – neither had a car and walked to work. Family allowance was $5.00 a month per child. Senior pension started at age 70 and was $20.00 a month in 1957.

Like any good cook, Betty collected recipes from her friends, family and neighbors. Her recipes are often accompanied by the name of the person who shared them. This week, we are showcasing two of Betty’s pickle recipes.

Thousand Island Pickles (Jessie L.)

 

8 large cucumbers
1 “ cauliflower
12 “ onions
2 sweet green peppers
2 “ red “
1/2 c. salt

 

Dressing
8 c. mild vinegar
6 c. w. sugar
1 tbsp. mustard
1 “ celery seed
3/4 c. flour
6 tbsp. mustard
1 “ turmeric

 

Grind all above veg. sprinkle with salt & add 5 c. H2O let stand 1 hr. Mix above ingred. & cook till thickened stirring carefully. Add well drained vegetables & cook 20 min. Bottle and wax.

Dutch Pickle

 

1 qt chopped green tomatoes, onions, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower & 3 heads of celery.

 

Soak in salt H2O overnite [sic] and in A M drain & cook in following solution:

5 tbsp. mustard, 2 tsp. turmeric, 1 c. flour, 4 c. br. sugar & a little vinegar.

Stir till smooth & add 3 pts. vinegar & cook slowly till thick. Pour over vegetables & cook slowly 15 min.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

Cooking With Betty: Meet Betty

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet — but first, let’s meet Betty!

Elizabeth “Betty” Smart was born in Bassano, Alberta in 1921, the daughter of Archie Smart and his English War Bride, Mable. In 1928, the family moved north to the Flying Shot Lake District in the Peace River Country. Betty started school in Patricia, Alberta, but grades 2 through 8 were spent at the one-roomed Flying Shot Lake School. Grades 9 and 10 were completed by correspondence through the Western Canada Institute, part of it under very difficult circumstances after her mother passed away in 1938. In 1939, after a year at home, keeping house for her father and two younger siblings, Betty went on to Vermilion Agricultural College for 2 years and obtained a Home Economics Degree. She became an expert cook, seamstress and craftsperson. Returning to Grande Prairie in 1941, Betty cooked for the Grande Prairie Hospital, helped her father with his market garden and later cooked for the first group of students in the Wapiti Dorm (Grande Prairie High School’s student accommodations) when it was located at the Military Training Center. Later she worked at Nelson & Archibald’s General Store. In 1944, Betty married Jack Welter, from Sexsmith. He passed away in 1987. Jack & Betty raised six children: Fred, Margaret, Frances, Ruth, Janet and Wayne. Betty Welter died in 2013.

Image: Ma Brainard, her two nieces, Maude Lucas and Betty Welter in front of Ma’s stopping place at Brainard Lake, 1942. (SPRA 0129.01.05)

Betty enjoyed writing, and the stories were collected and enjoyed by her children & grandchildren. Enjoy the first excerpt from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

WORK

We had two children born in ’46 & ’48 and four born in the 50’s. Jack, my husband, was a heavy duty mechanic starting with Caterpillar in 1950 at 75 cents an hour – he was 32. He had to buy numerous larger tools, these at he own expense, these were needed for bigger equipment as he was already a mechanic for car motors. I was an at-home Mom ’til the late 60’s. His wages increased to $1.00 in early 1950. Postage was 5 cents per letter; gasoline around 50 cents a gallon.

And here is the first recipe (we’ll start with a good one):

Apple Floating Island

 

Boil together 2 c water & 3/4 c sugar for 10 min.  Wash, pare & core 6 large apples.  Place them in the syrup, cover tightly & cook gently until apples are tender.  Then carefully remove the apples & place them in a shallow baking dish.  Let the syrup boil until reduced & thickened.  Pour it over apples & allow to cool.

 

Make a meringue by beating 2 egg whites stiff & adding to them 3 tbsp. gran sugar.  Pile meringue on top of apples & bake for 15 min. or until a delicate brown.  With egg yolks make a custard sauce.  Beat yolks slightly, add 2 tbsp. sugar mixed with a pinch of salt.  Mix well & add 1 c. milk.  Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture coats a metal spoon.  Remove from fire & cool.  Just before serving pour custard around apple.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

New Items in the SPRA Store

Richmond Avenue, 1918

Photograph: “The north side of Richmond Avenue looking west from midway down the 100-101 Street block. The telegraph and electrical power lines are visible, as are many early businesses.” (SPRA 032.08.008.08.1056)

 

Phase 4 of the Downtown Rehabilitation begins next week in the City of Grande Prairie and will continue throughout the summer. This construction project marks the newest chapter in Grande Prairie’s continuous development. Richmond Avenue has a rich history of community and commerce, as the location of many early businesses and social activities. To mark the newest phase of construction, the South Peace Regional Archives is taking a look back on downtown… by launching a series of photographic reproductions in our online store!

The prints showcase Grande Prairie’s Main Street through the years, excellently showing the development of Grande Prairie between 1918-1965, from dirt roads and and wooden buildings that wouldn’t look too terribly out of place on the set of a Western in 1918 (We can make out no swinging saloon-doors though, and the weather in Northern Alberta would make that a rather foolish choice by a business); to crowds and automobiles flooding Richmond Avenue on their way to the circus in 1928; to paved streets festooned with lights, parking meters, and dozens of business signs in 1965.

You can view and order them the prints yourself here. and learn more about the history of downtown here.

Supplies are limited, so if you’re interested, you should act sooner rather than later!

Thank You Volunteers!

Happy Volunteer Week!

The work of the Archives would not be possible without the support of our board members and volunteers. In 2020, they contributed more than 817 hours of service to support our mission. Although their duties vary widely, all their support is valuable and appreciated. Please join us in thanking our volunteers for all that they do!

 

South Peace Regional Archives Volunteers, 2020:

Meg Archer             Leita Askew             Ron Boyce

Karen Burgess             Shelley Calliou             Suzanne Dunn

Betty Dyck             Kaylee Dyck             Dave McRae

Gail Prette             Randy Repka             Gail Schau             Cathy Scott

Pat Wearmouth             Grace Wideman             Victoria Wanihadie

 

South Peace Regional Archives Board of Directors, 2020-2021:
Jan Shields, President             Duff Crerar, Director

Eleanor Dalen Whitling, Vice President              Gary Dixon, Director

Meg Archer, Secretary             Maxine Maxwell, Director

Gail Prette, Treasurer             Shawn Morton, Director

Eunice Friesen, City of Grande Prairie             Pauline Norton, Director

Peter Harris, County of Grande Prairie             Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown, Director

Shawn Acton, M.D. of Greenview             Gail Schau, Director

Stan Bzowy, M.D. of Spirit River             Daryl White, Director

 

Close Contact at the Archives

We are pleased to announce the launch of our newest virtual exhibition: Close Contact at the Archives. This multimedia experience highlights the ongoing work at the Archives during the pandemic closure to preserve our local heritage. Close Contact features archival film, textual records, photographs, and oral history from the collections of the Archives. Enjoy from the comfort of your own home! Click the image below to enter the exhibit.
Enter the exhibit button

What’s the Deal with the Watermark?

We’ve received several questions recently about the presence of watermarks on photographs from the Archives collections. We thought this would be a great opportunity to educate our readers about why we watermark these photos and why it is important to credit the Archives as the source of these images!

Why do we add watermarks to our photographs?

The Archives adds watermarks to photographs in our collections so that people know the source of image when it is shared online. We know it can distract from the beauty of the image, which is why you won’t see a watermark on all photographs, but we have many important reasons why we do it!

Who gets the “credit”?

The photographs that you see online (on the Archives’ website, Facebook page, or Alberta on Record) are the culmination of many people’s efforts: the material donors, who not only donated the records but also graciously agreed that they could be made public; the staff and volunteers at the Archives, who put in countless hours of work to arrange, describe, and digitize the materials; the Archives Society of Alberta, who hosts Alberta on Record as a public service website for its institutional members; the local service organizations like the Grande Prairie Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society, who provide funding so we can buy necessary special equipment like our professional scanner; and last but certainly not least our municipal funding partners (the City of Grande Prairie, County of Grande Prairie, Municipal District of Greenview, and the Municipal District of Spirit River), who support the Archives through operational funding so that we can serve the residents of our region.

Why should I credit the Archives?

Recognizing the South Peace Regional Archives as the source of the image, “crediting” us, acknowledges the extensive time, effort, and financial contributions that went in to making the image easily accessible on the internet. It helps future researchers locate the source of the image and discover more information about it. This is especially important for folks who wish to order high-quality reproductions of the images; our collections include over a hundred thousand photographs, negatives, and slides, so it is extremely difficult to locate the original without proper sourcing. It is also the law, under the Canadian Copyright Act, as the Archives is the legal owner of the photograph and copyright. Most often, failing to provide credit is an honest mistake, which is why we seek first to educate the public about its importance. Whether you are publishing the image in a academic publication or sharing it with your friends on Facebook, it is important to give credit!

How should I credit the Archives?

It’s easy! When sharing a photograph, mention the South Peace Regional Archives as the source of the image and list the item/location code (see below). If sharing online, you can also add a link to where you found the image. If the image has a watermark, please don’t crop it out.

Why do you make the photographs available at all?

The Archives makes photographs available online because it accomplishes a key aspect of our core mission: gathering, preserving, and sharing historical records of the South Peace region. We are very happy to see the images shared and to see people connecting with our local history! Here at the Archives, we add value to people’s lives by increasing their understanding and appreciation of the past; you can help us do this by sharing the images and other content we make available online, and crediting us as your source.

What’s the big deal?

The South Peace Regional Archives is a non-profit organization, and we are only able to operate because we have the support of the community and our funding partners. If people don’t see or understand the value we add to the community, we risk losing financial assistance and therefore being unable to provide our services. Across the country, community Archives have closed due to budget cuts and lack of public support. We need your help to share the value of having a regional Archives so that we can continue to serve the South Peace.

From the Vault Friday: Northern Winter Carnival & Bonspiel

Image: SPRA 69.60.464

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a program from the 6th Annual Northern Winter Carnival & Bonspiel in Grande Prairie in 1929. Events included hockey games, carnival queen contest, and various races. The biggest prize ($5) was awarded to whomever wore the best comic outfit, and would be the equivalent of $73.09 in 2021 currency. Winter carnivals provided a much needed reprieve from winter blues; with visiting, dancing, and sports aplenty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: SPRA 1969.59.483, SPRA 1969.59.614

Browse our selection of winter carnival photos on Alberta On Record.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From The Vault Friday: “Looking Ahead” Booklet

Images: Excerpts from “Looking Ahead in the Peace River Country to the Building of a City” pamphlet, written by Ancel Bezanson in 1914. From SPRA 155.01 (pages 1 and 3).

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a booklet from the Bezanson Family fonds (Fonds 155). The booklet, titled “Looking Ahead in the Peace River Country to the Building of a City” was published by Ancel Bezanson in 1914. The purpose of the publication was to garner interest in the region and encourage homesteaders to move to the “Last West.” It includes a detailed map of the Bezanson town site, several photos of the area, and impressive claims about the future of the region. According to the pamphlet, the Peace River country “is today attracting the attention of Capitalists and homeseekers in all parts of the world.”

Ancel Maynard Bezanson began his love affair with the Peace Country in 1906. That year he traveled throughout the Peace with a camera and a notebook, and shortly thereafter published “The Peace River Trails” to promote the Peace River Country as a place to settle. He was convinced of the agricultural potential of the area, and began promoting the Bezanson townsite with great enthusiasm. However, when the railroad finally came in 1916, it came to Grande Prairie—not Bezanson. The “Townsite” was subsequently abandoned and eventually designated a Registered Historic Resource in 1986.

To view the entire booklet, visit the digitized version available on Alberta on Record.

To learn more about Ancel Bezanson, visit Fonds 155: Bezanson Family fonds.

To learn more about the history of the Bezanson area, visit Telling Our Stories March 2013 (pg 10).

 

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

Introducing: A Tribute to Mary Nutting

The South Peace Regional Archives is pleased to announce the launch of a new video series honouring the late Mary Nutting. The series, produced by Grande Prairie Seniors Reading Theatre with support from M3M Marketing, showcases reading performances of A Grande Education: One Hundred Schools in the County of Grande Prairie, 1910-1960.

A Grande Education tells the stories of one hundred one-room schools in the County and features photographs, correspondence, and other documents. This joint project serves to honour Mary’s legacy and share our local community history: “Our hope is to share these videos with the community and most of all with seniors who have been missing family throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We know there are many out there who would appreciate learning and reminiscing about the history of the region” (Seniors Reading Theatre). The Archives would like to thank both Seniors Reading Theatre and M3M marketing for their hard work bringing this project to life.

Catch up on the series below, including the first school featured: Blooming Valley School! New videos will be posted every week on M3M’s YouTube page and shared on the South Peace Regional Archives’ Facebook page.

To purchase a copy of A Grande Education, visit the Archives’ online shop.

Note: Performances have been recorded in-person, over zoom or via voice recording. In-person recordings followed Alberta Government regulations at the time of filming.