What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “August, with its smoke and haze, its cool mornings, fierce noontides and chill evenings, has been upon us and now in its last days it has flung the unfailing harbinger of autumn in our faces” and, “One of the gayest parties of the season was the dance given by Mr. and Mrs. James Doster Hoge at the Golf Club.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

On page six of the August 30, 1919 edition of the Town Crier, a writer waxes poetic about breakfast. In “Ideal Breakfasts,” they write, “Every man to his taste, of course, and especially in the matter of breakfast, which is a delicate function that should have have its poise disturbed by culinary errors or the gastronomic prejudices of others.” They continue, “A breakfast, above all meals, should be simple, honest, and straightforward. It should be devoid of fantastic decoration.”

The writer goes on for some time about broiled fresh pig’s feet, grilled kidneys, and soft-boiled eggs. They have particular thoughts about how one takes their coffee. “There should be a small pot of it, just enough for two cupfuls. A Hoover portion of sugar is enough, and it always has been enough, in peace times as well as in war. Only a perverted, or a juvenile, taste can stand a dose of syrup first thing in the morning, and one must be a lumberman or a deep-sea sailor to enjoy coffee sweetened with brown sugar or molasses.”

What would the writer of “Ideal Breakfasts” think of writer Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast? Foer will be at Town Hall on September 25 as part of our Homecoming Festival to discuss his new book with Town Hall In the Moment’s Steve Scher. Foer, the award-winning author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, will discuss the ways that humanity has turned our planet into a farm for growing meat. Foer’s assertion is that catastrophic climate change has resulted from this meat production and considers how our descendants will judge our actions at this crucial moment.

This is to say, Foer probably won’t be imbibing in broiled fresh pig’s feet any time soon. I don’t know how alarmed the Town Crier writer would be upon hearing that. Times change.

Get your tickets (ONLY $5) to Jonathan Safran Foer’s event today!

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