Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Suffrage and Powdered Eggs

Since Nutmeg received a mini cupcake maker for Christmas, we've been making a few extra cake mixes lately. One day, while we were cracking the three eggs into the mixer, I told her about how cake mixes used to come with powdered eggs in them and you didn't have to add fresh. But housewives felt like they were cheating by just mixing powder with water for a cake, so the mixes didn't sell, so the manufacturers took out the powdered eggs and then women felt OK about using cake mixes and they became a big hit.
At least that's the story I heard.
So we made the cake mix and went on with our lives for a few weeks. Until tonight, when I was reading our nightly "Little House" chapter. We're up to "These Happy Golden Years," the last book*, and we are just lapping up the romance and all the fun Laura is having.
There is a conversation in the book where a woman tells Laura that she doesn't know but sometimes she believesin women's rights. Because if women voted, we wouldn't have some of these silly laws.
So of course I had to pause and tell Nutmeg that, yes, it's true -- once only men had the right to vote. (I didn't bring up the other disenfranchised groups; another time.)
"Women fought for the right to vote," I told her.
"Fought?" She grinned.
"Well, not like, a war. They marched, and went to Washington..."
"You mean, like, they had a protest."
"Yes! And they wrote about it, and they got it. So you see, Nutmeg, if you ever think that a law is wrong or unfair, if you can get enough people to work on it with you, you can change that law."
I was feeling pretty proud of my little teachable moment, and I was about to get back to the book.
"Like, we could get them to bring back the powdered eggs!" Nutmeg said.
I totally drew a blank, until she reminded me about how much easier it would be to make cake batter if only we didn't have to crack those eggs. I pointed out that there's not really a law against powdered eggs.
"But I guess we could write a letter to the company," I said.
"No!" she said. "A protest outside their office."
My little radical.

* "The First Four Years" is not really part of the Little House series, and it kind of disturbs me that's it's packaged with it for sale. It was not published in Laura Ingalls Wilder's lifetime, was not really a finished work, and is not really appropriate for children what with all the tragedy. As I was rereading it recently, I realized that Wilder had probably not written the last two books in the series yet when she wrote it. It overlaps the last book's narrative, and it "introduces" a character who is already known to readers of the series.


Leata said...

Also, it (The First Four Years) is the only book that Rose Wilder Lane didn't take a look at before it was published (because it was found after she died, I think).
That book always bothered me a bit.
(Oh, this is Leata, we've met a few times-- I'm Kari's friend. I read your blog(s) because I enjoy them a whole lot!)

Sara said...

I love Nutmeg.

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