GRCC History Class Experiences Depression-Era Meal – Photos

HS 293 Seminar

The HS293 seminar class about the era of WWI and the interwar period, taught by Prof. Susan Williams and Prof. Robert Hendershot, had the opportunity on Monday to collaborate with GRCC’s catering services department. To create a learning opportunity about the material culture of the Great Depression and the adaptability required by the crisis, Chef Nancy Rutledge and Director Daniel Zehr created a full menu of Depression-era items, including neck bone soup, hamburger gravy, collard greens, corn bread, mock apple pie (made with Ritz crackers), and a depression cake (minimal flour, no sugar, no eggs). Everything was delicious as well as educational. Chef Nancy provided a tutorial about the various ingredients and their preparation, and this nicely complimented much of what the students had recently read in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (which had been the inspiration for the class session in general and the hamburger gravy in particular).

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This special history seminar has included numerous interdisciplinary components, and students were very happy to be able to enjoy the wonderful meal along with so many of the faculty members who had contributed their time and expertise to its success over the course of the semester. Special thanks to Kimberly Overdevest, Mike Light, Laurie Foster, Bob Leunk, Gordan Vurusic, Dillon Carr, Christian Carron, the staff of the Meyer May House, and Dean Laurie Chesley, whose office kindly agreed to fund Monday’s Great Depression dinner/class.

Significantly, the Catering Services / Campus Dining Department expressed that they would be very keen to pursue similar collaborations with more departments and classes in the future. (Feel free to contact them with any ideas or questions at

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