89 Comments
Aug 23, 2023Liked by Jolene Handy

I’ve never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz either, but I’m going to now. I love when authors write about the food characters eat. Like how Joanne Harris describes chocolate making in Chocolat and the repetition of coffee and sandwiches in Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It sets the scene without too much scene setting. This was a fun read, Jolene!

Expand full comment

I’m going to read it now too!

Expand full comment
author

I think you’ll love it!

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much, Katie, I agree with you, food and drink can say so much in a story, almost like a supporting character. Appreciate your comment.

Expand full comment

As a child I lived reading mouth-watering descriptions of cooking and meals. Little House on the Prairie had many of those.

I still enjoy reading those as an adult. John Irving's Last Night on Twisted River begins with a wonderful description of preparing breakfast for loggers in New England.

And there are several writers here on substack that publish delightful descriptions of cooking and meals too. ❤️

Expand full comment
author

There is so much great food writing here on Substack. Thanks for your comment, Lorraine, I need to read about the loggers breakfast now!

Expand full comment

There is indeed! I'm enjoying it very much & trying to prioritize which ones I'll subscribe to at the "paid" level...

Expand full comment

*loved reading, not "lived reading"...I did "live to read" at some point of my childhood, though, devouring every book I could get my hands on, including some that were a bit out of my league (can "Madame Bovary" be relatable to an 11-year old?)

Expand full comment
author

Madame Bovary at 11! 😂

Expand full comment

IKR?!? I was raiding my parents' leather-bound gilded-edge library of classics, back in the day when there was no internet...

Expand full comment
author

😂

Expand full comment
Aug 23, 2023·edited Nov 4, 2023Liked by Jolene Handy

A super article. But there’s apparently a lot more to Baum and Oz than a fun kids’ story, i.e. satire aimed at a particular Minnesota railway baron!

Anyone with an interest in Baum and the W of O will probably be as dumbfounded as I was by this fascinating article, which I found completely convincing, and which seems to have remained obscure. I live in the Twin Cities, and have been to the “Hill House” (home of RR baron and creepy captain of early industry James J. Hill) many times, and can vouch for the illustrations of the heavy stone wall background for the Witch of the West being just the sort on that enormous mansion.

If you’re not an academic with access that way, the chances are great that your library will have a JSTOR membership, although figuring out where it lurks can be tricky. I believe mine (Hennepin County Libraries) is under “online resources,” only slightly more helpful than the former “databases”!

https://www.jstor.org/stable/26535382

https://www.jstor.org/stable/26535382

Expand full comment
author

Thank you for this, Maria, I’ve accessed jstor before (need to remember how!) and look forward to learning more.

Expand full comment
Aug 23, 2023Liked by Jolene Handy

Report back when/if you get to it! I read it with my jaw pretty much hanging open for the entire article. I’m pretty sure the whole allegory aspect of JJ Hill as the Wicked Witch went away once the Oz thing turned into a lovable fantasy series, but all the stuff about railway symbols etc is really wild.

Expand full comment
author

Will definitely let you know!

Expand full comment

This letter was extraordinary, taking me on one journey after another: from educational to tasty to joyful to poignant. Brilliantly done.

Expand full comment
author

Maddie, so appreciate this, glad you enjoyed and thank you so much!

Expand full comment

What a great story! I never knew the connection to The Wizard of Oz & Chicago & The Columbian Exposition. All of it interleaved with good food talk. I especially like the Anthony Bourdain inspired reminder that the simplest of food can be great.

Expand full comment
author

Mark, I was so surprised following the thread of the Fair that ended up in Oz and Chicago! Like so many of us I loved Anthony Bourdain and still do. Simplest things prepared right. 🍳

Expand full comment

Jacques Pepin, the famous chef often recounts his early career in which he learned, through repetition, the essential techniques to roast a chicken. Similar to the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" I think. Next time we do a daily brunch the figure eight in the pan sounds like something to try. I have family who will be in Chicago for a year or so. I plan to get there as they will be playing basketball. I also have some recent relocated family from Ireland now in Chicago. Two good reasons to visit. Will likely explore the history of the Columbian Exposition. Thanks.

Expand full comment
author

Definitely let me know if you and your family visit, Mark!

Expand full comment

I learned so much reading this! Very fun post!

Expand full comment
author

Thank you, Randee, hope you’re well!

Expand full comment

I knew it had to be more than poppies!

Expand full comment
author

LOL! This is a classic Kate comment! Love it!

Expand full comment

😁

Expand full comment

Loved reading this about the great frank Baum. I’m reading hs other stories on the Substack here too. He was really a wonderful writer.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you, Lisa, what are you reading here, I’d like to follow along, too.

Expand full comment

It’s called Beyond the Wizard here on Substack

Expand full comment

Charming! Love your emerald blouse, Jolene.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much, Vicki! 💚

Expand full comment

One million ❤️s

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much, Emily! 💚

Expand full comment
Sep 7, 2023Liked by Jolene Handy

❤️❤️❤️- Great Research! I’m going to read the book as well 🤗

Expand full comment
author

📕 ❤️

Expand full comment

Dorothy was a good gal!

Expand full comment
author

Yes!

Expand full comment

Wizard of Oz remains to be one of my favorite stories as well as movie. I have the 1956 version given to me that year and still have it and read it over and over. Dorothy filled her basket with white bread and covered with a cloth for her trip to find the Emerald City. Thank you for this wonderful visit back in time.

Expand full comment
author

How wonderful to have a 1956 edition, Sally! Wow! Thank you for your kind words, I loved that whole description of her filling the basket and also how she always made sure there was enough for Toto!

Expand full comment

All the research you’re doing is like world-building in reverse, stripping away time a brick at a time until you reach the foundation.

Expand full comment
author

I love this description and your insight, Amie! Thank you! ✨

Expand full comment

Wonderful story, Jolene. I know you're a native New Yorker but I feel like you and Chicago were made for each other!

Expand full comment
author

It’s so true, Domenica, I really love it here. 😊

Expand full comment

Such a wonderful article Jolene and is there anything more satisfying in its simplicity than scrambled eggs?

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much, Julia, and I agree with you about scrambled eggs! 😋

Expand full comment