Press Release: Oregon cooking, food traditions detailed in new series

Attendees welcome to 1910-era samples at free event

After countless tours, one of the most popular questions received by staff at the Stevens-Crawford Heritage House (SCHH) in Oregon City over the years is: “But what did they eat?” The Clackamas County Historical Society (CCHS) is excited to finally show (and serve!) common food practices near the beginning of the 20th Century.

A new series of free programs and events, But What Did They Eat?, focuses on Oregon cooking and food traditions. This fun series is made possible by a generous Oregon Museums Grant offered through the Oregon State Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Food is a powerful topic,” says CCHS Executive Director Claire Blaylock. “Food preparation and recipes are passed down from one generation to the next. The Stevens-Crawford Heritage House is the perfect place to talk food – it was, first and foremost, a home.”

SCHH is a historic home located in the heart of Oregon City. It was donated to the Clackamas County Historical Society by lifelong resident, Mertie Stevens. 

The kickoff event for this new series, set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 19, will focus on canning, a technique originally created by the French in 1795. The discussion, lead by Nan Hege, will touch on the history of the practice and detail the huge role canning played in the development of the Western United States. This then-new method of food preservation helped fight food insecurity. 

Although there is no charge for the event, CCHS is asking for attendees to consider bringing canned items that CCHS will donate to the Oregon Food Bank.

Attendees will also be treated to samples of jellies and jams canned using a variety of methods.

“Yum!” added Blaylock.

Given space limitations, registration is required. Register online or call CCHS at 503.655.5574.

All future events in the series will engage attendees with conversations about foods and traditions. It will also culminate in a new SCHH exhibit based around food, slated for January.