2017-08-30 / Entertainment

Labor Day the ‘Rosie’ way

By ANGELA SHELF MEDEARIS

Labor Day is a celebration held on the first Monday in September to recognize American workers, their contributions to the prosperity of our country, and the products that they produce. Labor Day has been celebrated nationwide since 1894.

One of the most recognizable icons of labor and the contributions made by women in the workforce is “Rosie the Riveter.” She is the ultimate representation of the indefatigable World War II-era woman who rolled up her sleeves, flexed her muscles and said, “We Can Do It!” But this image isn’t the original Rosie.

In 1942, as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific, the song “Rosie the Riveter” filled radio waves across the home front. The “Rosie” image popular during the war was created by illustrator Norman Rockwell for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943 — the Memorial Day issue. Mary Doyle Keefe was the model for Norman Rockwell’s famous “Rosie the Riveter” painting.

The Rockwell image depicts a muscular woman wearing overalls, goggles and pins of honor on her lapel. She sports a leather wristband and rolled-up sleeves. She sits with a riveting tool in her lap, eating a sandwich, and “Rosie” is inscribed on her lunch pail. And, she’s stepping on a copy of Adolph Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf.”

The magazine cover exemplified the American can-do spirit and illustrated the notion of women working in previously male-dominated manufacturing jobs, an ever-growing reality while the men fought overseas.

The cover was an enormous success, and soon stories about real-life “Rosies” began appearing in newspapers across the country. The government took advantage of the popularity of Rosie the Riveter and embarked on a recruiting campaign of the same name, bringing millions of women out of the home and into the workforce. To this day, Rosie the Riveter is still considered the most successful government advertising campaign in history.

Manufacturing giant Westinghouse commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to make a series of posters to promote the war effort. One such poster featured the image of a woman with her hair wrapped up in a red polka-dot scarf, rolling up her sleeve and flexing her bicep with the words ‘We Can Do It!’ printed in a blue caption bubble. To many people today, this image is “the” Rosie the Riveter.

The connection of Miller’s image and “Rosie” is a recent phenomenon, mainly due to the reproduction of the image on merchandise and posters.

I discovered two wonderful cookbooks with recipes and oral histories by real-life “Rosie the Riveters.” The “Rosie the Riveter Celebration Cookbook” is published by the American Rosie the Riveter Association. It contains photos, biographies and recipes from 56 women around the U.S. who did industrial work during WWII.

The “Rosie the Riveter Cookbook” by Girard and Sam Sagmiller is a loving tribute to their mother, Rachel Sagmiller, and her “can do” work ethic. A WWII version of this recipe for No-Bake Peanut Butter Pudding Bars can be found in the Sagmiller’s cookbook. My version makes use of the microwave and a few modern products, but it’s still a “can do” nobake treat!

NO-BAKE
PEANUT BUTTER
PUDDING BARS
1 cup sugar or stevia
1 cup light corn syrup or
1/2 cup agave syrup
2 cups creamy peanut
butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
3 cups Corn Flakes
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups powdered
sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 (4-ounce) packages
vanilla instant pudding
1/4 cup milk
1 (12-oz package) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter

1. Line a rimmed baking
sheet with parchment paper
or aluminum foil, and set
aside.
2. Using a large glass
or microwaveable bowl,
combine sugar or stevia,

and the corn syrup or agave
syrup. Cook on HIGH until
bubbling at the edges, about
2-3 minutes, stirring after 1
minute. Alternately, place
ingredients in a large pot
and cook over medium high heat on the stove until
bubbling, stirring occasionally, until combined.
3. Stir in peanut butter
until melted. Add rice and
corn cereals until coated.
Press mixture into lined
baking sheet.
4. Melt 3/4 cup unsalted
butter in the microwave on
HIGH for about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir
in powdered sugar, vanilla
extract, vanilla pudding mix
and milk. Spread pudding
mixture over the cereal layer
in the pan.
5. In a microwaveable
bowl, melt chocolate chips
and 1/2 cup butter on HIGH
for 30-seconds, stir to combine, and continue to microwave for another 15 to
30 seconds, as needed, stirring each time, until melted
and creamy. Spread over
pudding mixture in pan.
Refrigerate for one hour to
set. Lift bars out with foil
or parchment and cut into
squares or triangles.
Angela Shelf Medearis
is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven
cookbooks.

©2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
and Angela Shelf Medearis

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