1933 Mail and Empire Women’s Pages 6: The News You Have Been Waiting For!

me 1933-03-27 cooking show fashion revue ad

Mail and Empire, March 27, 1933.

As part of their efforts to develop loyal relationships with their readers, newspapers have frequently sponsored public contests and exhibitions. Early in the spring of 1933, the Mail and Empire’s women’s pages announced that, along with Simpson’s department store, it was sponsoring a four-day exhibition of cooking exhibitions and seasonal fashions.

me 1933-03-29 prizes for cooking show patrons

Mail and Empire, March 29, 1933.

Readers were teased with a promotional display highlighting the goodies they might take home if they attended the exhibition.

I suspect most of the attendees would have fit the Mail and Empire’s conservative middle class profile. Would this event have drawn in city housewives struggling with the effects of the Great Depression? I’d be curious if, say, the Star or Telegram presented a similar exhibition for their working class audiences.

me 1933-03-30 cooking show fashion review ad

Mail and Empire, March 30, 1933.

Information online about Mrs. J. Watson Shockley is scarce, as at least one other person looking into her story discovered. It appears she was active on the cooking presentation circuit between 1928 and 1936, primarily in the eastern United States. Searches through the online archives of the Globe/Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star turned up nothing, so presumably she didn’t participate in any women’s exhibitions presented by either of those papers.

bradford era 1928-03-07 mention of watson shockley in pennsylvania

Bradford [Pennsylvania] Era, March 7, 1928. Outside of a book listed on Amazon claiming to be from 1926, one of the earliest references I found for the mysterious Mrs. Shockley.

One of the most frustrating elements in the search for Mrs. Shockley that is not uncommon for this era: nowhere is her first name mentioned. It is possible that “J” was her first initial, but it’s equally possible it was her husband’s.

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Mail and Empire, March 30, 1933.

An invitation from Ann Adam to all of her “Table Talkers.”

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Mail and Empire, March 31, 1933.

As the exhibition neared, the teasers increased. More photos of Mrs. Shockley were published, but her biographical info only rehashed what had already been included in earlier ads.

me 1933-04-05 ice cream pie invite to cooking school

Mail and Empire, April 5, 1933.

me 1933-04-05 shockley recipes

Mail and Empire, April 5, 1933.

A sampling of Mrs. Shockley’s cooking ideas from day one of the cooking school. I love asparagus, but I’m not sure how I feel about combining it with a sweet shortcake.

Also note the plug inserted at the bottom of the Crisco ad. Hopefully Mrs. Shockley’s french fries did not “raise the old Harry.”

me 1933-04-05 tea-bisk cooking school ads

Mail and Empire, April 5, 1933.

Maybe Mrs. Shockley used Tea-Bisk as a shortcut onstage for her asparagus shortcake?

Next: more ads, recipes, and pictures from the exhibition.

1933 Mail and Empire Women’s Pages 5: From Chowder to Pigeon

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me 1933-03-18 ann adam chowder collection

Mail and Empire, March 18, 1933.

Missing from this list of chowders is the kind you might expect: clam. The first printed recipe using the term, published in Boston in 1751, reads like poetry.

me 1933-03-18 norma shearer

Mail and Empire, March 18, 1933.

One of the few pieces on celebrities to slip into the M&E’s women’s pages so far during our look at them. Norma Shearer did not appear in any films during 1933, returning to the screen in Riptide in March 1934. As for her two-year-old son, Irving Thalberg Jr. grew up to be a philosophy professor.

And now a word from our sponsor…

me 1933-03-18 shredded wheat ad

Mail and Empire, March 18, 1933.

me 1933-03-20 woman's point of view on teachers and weather

Mail and Empire, March 20, 1933.

Bride Broder’s moaning about late winter weather in Toronto is not a recent development.

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Mail and Empire, March 20, 1933.

Let’s embrace spring and make some fresh lemonade syrup.

me 1933-03-21 potatoes and dressed for dessert

Mail and Empire, March 21, 1933. 

me 1933-03-23 wee cakes

Mail and Empire, March 23, 1933

A double-dose of Ann and Katherine for you, heavy on desserts and sweet treats.

me 1933-03-23 woman's page on immigrants

Mail and Empire, March 23, 1933. 

A suggestion to create community gardens in poor areas of the city in the midst of the Great Depression. Note the nod to The Ward, a historical Toronto neighbourhood which has been the subject of much research and reexamination in recent years.

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Mail and Empire, March 24, 1933.

me 1933-03-24 easy sunday dinner do you know this utensil

Mail and Empire, March 24, 1933. 

These days, pigeon is not a meat you can easily walk into a supermarket to buy. And it’s not a dish that gets much publicity. But modern recipes can be found, such as this one from Jamie Oliver’s site.

A quick Googling also found that contraptions similar to today’s featured utensil exist, even though I’ve never seen one in action.

1933 Mail and Empire Women’s Pages 4: Suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day

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me 1933-03-17 ann adam on st patricks

Mail and Empire, March 17, 1933.

I’m going to guess that, much as now, much of the “gay doings” Ann Adam expects around St. Patrick’s Day involved consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. This may partly explain why the Mail and Empire‘s morning competition, the Globe, barely mentioned the occasion at all. The Globe‘s owner, William Gladstone Jaffray, refused to run ads for alcohol even after prohibition ended in Ontario in the mid-1920s, and I can’t imagine him endorsing any articles remotely celebrating drinking.

Since this article encourages readers to tint their party pleasing foods green, I checked if green beer was a thing in 1933. According to Smithsonian magazine, the practice dates back to the early 20th century, but didn’t catch on widely until the 1950s.

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Mail and Empire, March 17, 1933.

And now a word from our sponsor…

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Mail and Empire, March 16, 1933.

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Mail and Empire, March 17, 1933.

In Search of Ireland (1930) was among the numerous travel books written by English journalist Henry Vollam Morton (1892-1979). Here’s how Kitty Hauser described one of Morton’s most popular works, In Search of England (1927), for the London Review of Books in 2005:

In Search of England came out of a series Morton wrote for the Daily Express in 1926. It is an account of a journey around England in a Bullnose Morris, written ‘without deliberation by the roadside, on farmyard walls, in cathedrals, in little churchyards, on the washstands of country inns’. Its tone is jaunty, as the narrator leaves London and reels at whim in his two-seater down country lanes and past historic sites in search of an essential and timeless England. It is a quest to find in reality the England that existed as myth for a war-ravaged generation; the village at dusk, smelling of woodsmoke, surrounded by green fields; the thatched cottages and rambling gardens; the time-worn historical monuments. This was the land ‘worth fighting for’ in the propaganda of both world wars. That Morton apparently found it, many times over, in the course of his travels (reaffirming it in every new edition), reassured readers that it really was out there, even if it might not be visible to those living in cities or their ever-expanding suburbs. What Morton demonstrated to his predominantly urban readers, with a deceptively casual air, was that this England – the ‘real’ England – was just a car journey away, down an inviting and empty country road.

Morton moved to South Africa in 1948, just as apartheid was being implemented in that country, a political direction that didn’t seem to bother him.

star 1933-03-17 irish toppers make gay seasonal salad

Toronto Star, March 17, 1933.

As for what the other Toronto papers had to offer for St. Patrick’s celebrations, the Star published recipes for Shamrock Cake and Mint Jelly.

star 1933-03-17 st patrick picture

Toronto Star, March 17, 1933.

The Star also published a photo of an unidentified baby wearing a St. Patrick’s Day hat.

I couldn’t find any references to a St. Patrick’s Day parade happening in the city. More digging reveals that processions that day ended in 1877, and did not resume until 1988. Public processionals of Irish identity — or at least Irish Protestant anti-Catholic identity — were reserved for the Orange Parade on July 12. According to the July 13, 1933 edition of the Globe, 50,000 people marched across municipalities throughout Ontario to mark the 243rd anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. Dignitaries and Orange Lodge officials addressing these gatherings declared their allegiance to the British Empire and denounced atheism, bilingualism, and Communism.  In Toronto, where 10,000 people marched, the parade went from Queen’s Park to a rally at Exhibition Park. In front of attendees such as Mayor William J. Stewart and Premier George Henry, participants denounced what they believed was an “organized effort to make Canada a bilingual country” by criticizing French language instruction in schools and radio programming.

1933 Mail and Empire Women’s Pages 3: Tempt With Rarebits and Have a Fishy Lent

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me 1933-03-06 lent menu

Mail and Empire, March 6, 1933.

Merriam-Webster defines “waltonian” as “of, or relating to, or having the characteristics of Izaak Walton or his writings on angling.” So referring to the 17th century author of The Compleat Angler in the headline makes sense for Ann Adam’s fish-centric menu.

me 1933-03-06 tempt with rarebits

Mail and Empire, March 6, 1933. 

Question about the “mock rabbit” recipe: What would have been considered “grated Canadian cheese” back in the 1930s? Would this have been processed cheese the home chef would have grated themselves, a packaged product similar to grated cheddar or Parmesan we generally associate with pasta, or something else entirely?

me 1933-03-06 cheese tomato trite topics

Mail and Empire, March 6, 1933.

The friendship between cheese and tomatoes was so close that they developed their own language, devising names like “Rinktum Diddy.”

Seriously, a quick Google search digs up plenty of recipes for Rinktum Diddy aka Rinktum Ditty, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a mixture of tomato sauce, onion, cheese, egg, and seasonings served on toast.” The origins of the name appear to be unknown.

As of 2019, Parkers Cleaners continues to provide Torontonians with cleaning services.

me 1933-03-06 bovril

Mail and Empire, March 6, 1933.

A quick word from our sponsor…

me 1933-03-06 womans point of view

Mail and Empire, March 6, 1933. 

This marks the first appearance in this series of “Woman’s Point of View” columnist Bride Broder, the pen name of M&E women’s page editor Mary White. More on her in a future post.

me 1933-03-06 fashions

Mail and Empire, March 6, 1933. 

1933 Mail and Empire Women’s Pages 2: Happy Marshmallow Day!

me 1933-03-03 page 10 header

me 1933-03-03 page 10 marshmallow day

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

While March 3 did not catch on as a national observance celebrating the wonders of marshmallows in Canada, you can celebrate the toasted version of this sugary treat every August 30!

Also, hands up whoever has seen “mm” as shorthand for marshmallow in a recipe.

me 1933-03-03 page 10 basket of vitamins

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

After indulging in all those marshmallow recipes, a basket of vitamin-rich food may be required. It may also be a quiet reminder that winter was nearing its end, and fresher vegetables were not far away.

me 1933-03-03 page 10 appetizing hot bread

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

“Do You Know This Utensil” was a weekly feature which introduced handy products for any 1930s kitchen, such as this dust pan which saved the day for any klutzes who dropped ingredients for their appetizing hot bread on the floor.

me 1933-03-03 page 10 easy sunday dinner

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

Note the presence of Rice Krispies in the last recipe, which were still a relatively new product when this paper was published. Introduced to store shelves in 1928, their mascots Snap, Crackle and Pop made their advertising debut in 1933. It was several more years before the recipe for Rice Krispie Squares/Treats was unleashed on the public.

me 1933-03-03 page 10 aunt jemima ad

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

And now, a few words from our sponsors.

me 1933-03-03 page 10 trio of cake recipes

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

me 1933-03-03 page 10 celery soup

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

Four suggestions for celery-based soups. The title plays upon the notion of celery as a nerve-calmer, which had resulted in numerous celery-based drinks marketed around the turn of the 20th century. One of the few modern survivors is New York deli staple Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray. I’ve tried it several times and haven’t enjoyed it (this from somebody who loves old school sodas like spruce beer). I understand the concept and how Cel-Ray could pair nicely with some form of cured meat, but I suspect I’d be happier if there was a salty, pickle-based drink.

me 1933-03-03 page 10 loblaws ad

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

It’s doubtful that Loblaws will revive its short lived mascots Cash and Carrie for the chain’s 100th anniversary this year.

Onto the second page…

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me 1933-03-03 page 11 kyle cakes

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933. 

…and more cake recipes.

me 1933-03-03 page 11 loaf fish and baked

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

As gossip is “the child of laziness” that is “adopted by people who don’t think,” what weighty matters of the world shall we discuss while sticking a fork into a piece of tuna and celery souffle?

Aside: if any of you are tempted to try any of the recipes featured in this series, let me know. Send pictures, reviews, etc.

me 1933-03-03 page 11 is your child's diet a thief ad

Mail and Empire, March 3, 1933.

I wasn’t kidding when I said last time that underweight children were going to be a recurring advertising concern. As funny as this ad seems with its bizarre-looking nutrient deficiency crook, child malnutrition was a serious concern during this era.

As for the radio stations which carried the “VIP Broadcast,” both evolved into today’s CBC — CKGW (named after its owner, Gooderham and Worts) is the ancestor of today’s CBLA, while CKNC (run by the Canadian National Carbon Company) would become CJBC.

1933 Mail and Empire Women’s Pages 1: Chop Suey and Cookies

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During a research dive into the pages of the Mail and Empire while preparing this article, I wound up collecting two months worth of women’s pages, which I figured might make an interesting ongoing series for this website. The paper had a rich history of covering women’s domestic affairs and social issues stretching back to Kit Coleman’s pioneering work during the 1890s.

macleans 1933-04-01 iw killam cartoon

Caricature of Izaak Walton Killam, Maclean’s, April 1, 1933.

In 1933, the Conservative-leaning Mail and Empire was Toronto’s largest morning paper, ahead of the Liberal-leaning Globe (the Star and Telegram, both of which had larger circulations, battled it out for evening readers). It was owned by Izaak Walton Killam, one of Canada’s richest businessmen. In keeping with his shy, modest persona, Killam tended to keep out of the editorial staff’s way.

Some excerpts from a profile of Killam written by Charles Vining that was published by Maclean’s that year:

Mr. Killam lives in Montreal and is a perfect example of what once was known as the financial magnate, a species rendered almost extinct by the glacial action of frozen assets.

He has a power company in Calgary, a chocolate concern in Halifax, a newsprint enterprise at Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and a good deal of trouble with all of them.

He also owns a newspaper in Toronto called the Mail and Empire, and has hoped some day to own the Globe as well.

A great many people has wondered why in the world he bought the Mail and Empire, and are even more puzzled as to what a man would do with two newspapers, especially two Toronto newspapers. [Note: the two papers were united as the Globe and Mail by George McCullagh and William Wright in 1936].

He does not speak at all unless he has to.

He is nearly always tired.

He is nearly fifty, wears blue suits, carries a yellow stick, and has romantic brown eyes and a complexion that makes him look slightly in need of a shave.

He made a strict rule some years ago not to be interviewed or photographed by the press, and has had little difficulty about this during the last couple of years.

In spite of the inconvenience which frequently results, he is disposed by nature to be friendly with people.

For more on Killam, check out an episode of CBC Radio’s Ideas series which covers his life, and the philanthropic legacy he left, including scholarships and a lot of money for the Canada Council.

me 1933-03-01 unusual meat dishes 1

me 1933-03-01 unusual meat dishes 2 cook broadcasts

Mail and Empire, March 1, 1933.

Future posts will discuss the identity of “Ann Adam,” so for now let’s dive right into the table talk about food. The main feature was a series of “ethnic” meat recipes. Understanding of non-European dishes was slowly evolving, as was the bastardization of meals inspired by exotic locales. In 2019, little screams “Mexican” about that meat loaf other than tomatoes.

Next was a lecture from a series sponsored by Consumer’s Gas, which spends today stressing the importance of meal accessories. The lectures were held at the Consumer’s Gas Showroom, an art deco-influenced architectural gem built two years earlier.

me 1933-03-01 cooking more cookies

Mail and Empire, March 1, 1933.

Some cookie recipes to get you through your late winter malaise.

me 1933-03-01 ovaltine ad

Mail and Empire, March 1, 1933.

A brief word from our sponsors. Underweight children will become a recurring advertising theme.

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Mail and Empire, March 1, 1933.

A mixture of features here, including a spinach recipe, a cutesy cartoon, and an update on a social service organization.

me 1933-03-01 morning argument

Mail and Empire, March 1, 1933.

Finally, a syndicated cartoon which ran across North American throughout the 1920s and 1930s.