Man Food: Recipes from Pig Iron Rough Notes Magazine, 1928-1950

Presented by Karen Utz, curator, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, and adjunct history instructor, University of Alabama at Birmingham

   “Cookery is becoming an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen!”

In November 1926, Sloss Furnaces launched a new marketing venture to help it compete in the foundry business. Known as Pig Iron Rough Notes, a named based on the expression “as rough as pig iron,” it began as a small monthly publication with around 600 subscribers. Despite its small stature, Rough Notes became one of Sloss Furnaces’ greatest contributions to the advancement of the foundry trade, playing an educational role, as well as a technical role. Realizing that prominent foundry men would appreciate free advertising and seeing their companies name in print, Russell Hunt, the editor, devoted one or two article in every issue to a leading entrepreneur, facility, or community that was predominately associated with the foundry trade.

Knowing the passion foundrymen had for the “great outdoors,” Hunt encouraged his readers to submit their hunting and fishing experiences, as well as the recipes that resulted from these outdoor excursions. The enthusiastic response to Hunt’s request resulted in a small feature located on the back page entitled A Gentleman Cooks. Introduced in the 1936 Fall edition, A Gentlemen Cooks (with its customary byline, “Cookery is becoming an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen!”) became a standard feature of the magazine and offered recipes ranging from Tennessee Squirrel Stew to Catfish Chowder. The 1948 publication featured Muskrat Stew and recommended that the first thing one must do in preparing this delicacy was to “skin, decapitate and remove entrails, being careful not to puncture musk gland.”  Fun power-point presentation that explains the overall significance of the book, as well as lots of interesting and “unique” recipes.

Contact Karen Utz to book this presentation
karen.utz@birminghamal.gov
(205) 324-1911