ENID, Oklahoma— Bree Winegarden grew up with the Jiffy Cornbread Mix Box, but Saturday was her first foray into baking from scratch using a 1901 recipe in front of friends and strangers.
Winegarden hosted the afternoon Make and Take Cornbread workshop, the first History Alive! event of the year held at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center.
“I’m a little nervous,” she said as she pushed her cart of ingredients out of the museum and into the kitchen of the Glidewell House on the adjacent property of Humphrey Heritage Village, where a group of pioneer buildings originals stands to show visitors what life was like in the early 1900s.
The Enid native began working at the museum as a special projects coordinator a few months after graduating from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 2019, just before COVID restrictions began in the spring of 2020.
Coming out of the pandemic, museum staff met about a month ago to discuss the expansion of History Alive!, the events were held on the first and third Saturdays of the month at the museum’s outdoor village, where re-enactors show visitors what life was like in the pioneer days of the Enid and Cherokee Outlet area.
From this brainstorming session came the idea for more hands-on learning and activities, with Winegarden leading the first Saturday herself.
Nine people registered for the museum and seven arrived to find out how pioneers made cornbread from scratch at the turn of the 20th century.
Each of the attendees watched Winegarden demonstrate how to shell, grind and sift corn, using materials she says were popular in 1901. They then mixed their own batch of cornbread and took it home to cook it in a 6-inch skillet provided in the frame. the price of the workshop.
It was definitely a far cry from the Jiffy box of Winegarden’s youth, as the grinders and sieves that were used in the good old days offered a more challenging experience that showed pioneer courage.
This grain was also all over the table, as dust and pieces of corn were flying around as he worked.
“It’s also going to be really messy,” Winegarden told the group, as she went from showing how the corn was shelled to throwing it into the hand-cranked mill to start preparing the meal, “because they didn’t have a lot to do, so I think they really liked cleaning up in 1901.”
His group laughed as they got to work.
Her first workshop was not without reinforcements – three of her friends, Zahira Rojo, Bailey Combs and Hanah Troxell, had signed up to attend. She was pleasantly surprised when sisters Gina and Shelly Cowley called Eufaula three hours ago to register for the event.
The two Cowley sisters said they were impressed with the museum and the village grounds.
“She’ll probably want to move here and work here,” Gina said of her sister, while laughing and recounting how Shelly had “gone through an Amish phase” where she couldn’t learn enough about this history.
Winegarden said she learned she would need more mixing bowls and maybe a chance to go through the recipes a bit more next time.
Her friends offered her “next time” advice and laughed at gathering over an old recipe, cooking, and helping out a friend.
Shelly and Gina said they would follow the museum’s website and hopefully attend other workshops in Enid and across the state, possibly bringing Gina’s grandchildren.
“Once you get older…I have grandkids now, and I want them to learn things,” Gina said. “Our great-grandparents were alive when we were born, so we saw… We were lucky enough to hear stories about it and see all the utensils.”
Easy Cornbread Recipe
(from the cookbook Full Dinner Pail, 1901)
½ cup of flour
¼ cup of cornmeal
2 tablespoons of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk (butter or curd)
1 tablespoon of butter
Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder) then add the egg and milk and mix then add the butter. Put the dough in a 6 inch pan and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.