December 1, 2022 6:00 pm - December 1, 2022 7:00 pm    |    Zoom – Virtual Event

Make Do and Be Merry: A Chocolate Cake for a Homefront Christmas

Christmas for wartime homemakers was full of challenges. One of the biggest was Christmas dinner. Food rationing, especially refined sugar, meant that Christmas dinner would look very different from an idealized Rockwell painting. So what was a homemaker to do?

Armed with the new field of nutritional science and years of make-do during the Great Depression, women adapted recipes to bring their families’ favorite dishes to the Christmas table. In this presentation, Margo McCutcheon (Educator at Sam Rayburn House SHS) and Jennifer Parsley (Educator at Eisenhower Birthplace SHS) will explore how two 1940s-era chocolate cakes approached the challenges of rationing as homemakers made do to bring Christmas to their holiday table.

Biographies of the Presenters:

Margo McCutcheon has called Bonham, Texas, her home for her entire life. She developed an interest in history during her high school years, and pursued that interest at the university level. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and she became one of the first graduates to receive a Public History certificate from the newly established Public History program at the university. There, she participated in two oral history programs, and cataloged and digitized the Jesse J. Hawthorne Collection. Through the Public History program, Margo received the opportunity to intern at the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site for a semester, establishing a connection with the site that she pursued upon graduation. In April 2021, Margo joined the Texas Historical Commission as an Educator/Interpreter at the Rayburn House. She has authored and edited several biographies for the Handbook of Texas Online, two of which relate to women who lived and worked at the Rayburn House. She has also steadily published articles on the Rayburn House blog about the artifacts and history of the house, as well as completed several outreach opportunities and events for the Rayburn House.

Jennifer Parsley has worked in the museum field for over 6 years, working at various historic sites in Texas including the Alamo and Brazoria County Parks Department. She received her Master of Arts in Museum Science and her Bachelors in German at Texas Tech University. Jennifer currently works at Eisenhower Birthplace coordinating volunteers and conducting tours. One of her current favorite research topics is the development of the modern stove.