Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16 March 1930: Free Cooking School Offered By Athens Women's Club

On this day in 1930, the Athens Women's Club announced that they would offer a free four-day cooking school on the theme "Efficiency in the Kitchen." The course would cover how to select kitchen equipment, how to shop economically in hard times, and "the right food rightly prepared."

Each day, the class would be led by a different expert, starting with Miss Catherine Counsell from the Home Economics Department of the Georgia State Teacher's College, formerly the State Normal School, on Prince Avenue. Two of the other classes were led by members of the University of Georgia's College of Agriculture Extension Department faculty, covering "The Kitchen Beautiful" and "Health Day," with an emphasis on "Family Health and its place in the community." There would also be a day devoted to entertaining and how to organize large events, including examples of "tables set correctly for various occasions."

The meetings were held at the Y.W.C.A., then located on Hancock Avenue. Local businesses had donated "a great variety of the city's best food for demonstration and cooking. Merchants contributing this supply have added most materially to the success of the school and the selection is most adequate for menus...which will inspire all housewives."

The Athens Women's Club started out as a literary society, with club members offering talks about art, literature, nature, and current events. Over time, they became more involved in community service, at one point starting their own free kindergarten for the children of mill workers. Proper nutrition was considered part of public health, and therefore a community service.

In the early 1900s, University Extension Services were established to take innovations and methods developed at the state schools out to those who were outside the world of academia. This included agricultural knowledge, but also a strong focus nutrition and health for growing families, outreach work still provided by Extension Services to their local communities today.

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