Pies on the Road

April 28, 2012

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Shirley Cherkasky's father in front of his pie delivery truck during the Great Depression

Shirley Cherkasky describes how her family made it through the Great Depression in Wisconsin when her father lost his job. He made his own bakery truck from the family sedan and drove it farm to farm selling the pies made by his wife, which he thought were better than the ones he could buy wholesale.  He took orders on his three routes per week and then delivered each order two days later. Shirley's mother made 15–20 pies six days a week, selling them for 25 cents each—single or double-crust, fruit, cream or custard.

Shirley Cherkasky is a culinary historian and founding member of Culinary Historians of Washington, D.C. and Culinary Enthusiasts of Wisconsin.  She was public programs coordinator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Since retirement, she has been an independent scholar with a special interest in American confectionary. She has compiled more than 1300 entries in the International Directory of Food and Beverage Museum, available at www.foodhistorynews.com

This talk was part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance's fifth annual symposium, "Road Food: Exploring the Midwest One Bite at a Time." Other events from this symposium recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:

Marked for Life: My Travels on Route 66 in '53, with Terri Ryburn
State Fair Heirloom Recipe Contest, with Catherine Lambrecht
Mobile Food in 19th-Century Chicago, with Peter Engler
Food Trucks: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, with Louisa Chu
Will Success Spoil Regional Food?, with Michael Stern
The Drive-In Restaurant: Before and After the Dawn of Fast Food, Food Theater, with Mary Bergin
A Gopher Turned Badger Eats Hoosier, and Vice Versa: Midwestern Culinary Traditions in the Small-Town Cafe, with Joanne Stuttgen
What Happened to Horseshoes?, with Julianne Glatz
Pies on the Road, with Shirley Cherkasky
Ethnographic Food Writing, or How I Ate My Way Across Wisconsin and Lived to Tell About It, with Joanne Stuttgen
Culinary Tourism in the Land of Meat and Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole, with Lucy M. Long
Summer Vacations in Northern Wisconsin, with Kelly Sears
Born to be Mild: Oral Histories and Pathways of the Midwest Supper Club, with Dave Hoekstra
Farmers Markets of the Heartland, the Ultimate Road Trip, with Janine MacLachlan
On the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, with Clara Orban
Remarks by Marilyn Wilkinson of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art Curator-Led Tour

Recorded Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kendall College.