Monthly Archives: February 2021

Foodie Friday: Cream of Peanut Butter Soup

Back in the school cafeteria of my Carter/Reagan-era childhood, soup was usually not on the list of offerings, unlike standards like wiener wraps, carrot “coins”, and those iconic cartons of milk. According to the 1936 Oregon State College Extension Bulletin, The School Lunch, soups and stews played a much bigger role in the past, however. Among the 15 soup recipes featured in this 32-page publication was one that deeply intrigued me: cream of peanut butter soup. So I set forth to give it a go!

Cream of Peanut Butter Soup

  • ½ cup of peanut butter
  • 2 ½ medium onions
  • ½ pint of boiling water  
  • 1 quart of milk 
  • ¼  cup of flour 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • ½ teaspoon of celery salt 
  1. Peel the onions and cut up into small pieces. 
  2. Add peanut butter and boiling water to onions, stir until blended and boil 15 minutes. 
  3. Heat the milk and add the thickening made from the flour and a little cold water. 
  4. Mix the salts together and add to the milk. 
  5. Combine peanut butter mixture with milk, scald and serve.

Featured in “The School Lunch,” November 1936. Oregon State College Extension Bulletin # 492 (Home Economics Series), which can be found online here.

First off, I was a little concerned over possible onion overload, so I adjusted the recipe to 1 chopped large onion. The ratio of milk to peanut butter also seemed a little skewed and the flavor that resulted was definitely not peanut dominant. It tasted like a subtle creamy soup with a hint of peanut and an oniony crunch. By itself, it tasted decent, but was sort of underwhelming. I thought of the soup’s potential as something else: “what else could I put in this?” and “can I use this as a sauce?” The concoction did taste better after a few hours of sitting around. I’m glad I satisfied my curiosity about this strange recipe and plan to re-purpose the leftover soup for a more exciting dish this weekend!

Foodie Friday featuring Icelandic Meat Soup

Soup in the winter months is like a receiving warm embrace from the inside.  In the kitchen the lingering heat and aromas from the preparation give soup a whole other set of sensory delights.   

Homemade soups played center stage in a Library tradition that took place every February as a part of the month long OSU Food Drive. This event brought together a tasty variety of meat and vegetarian soups, stews, and chilis to serve as a fundraiser lunch for the Linn Benton Food Share.

While this year we can’t share the soups in the usual way, I wanted to keep the tradition alive virtually by making one and posting about it here. To honor the motivation behind our annual soup extravaganza, I ask the reader to please consider a donation to the OSU Food Drive. Thanks! 

So, without further ado, let’s get to the soup!

Icelandic Meat Soup

  • 1 pint water 
  • 1 lb lamb meat 
  • 1 to 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons rice 
  • 8 oz beets    
  • 2-3 carrots 
  • 2-3 potatoes 
  • 4 oz cabbage 

1.       Boil the water in a saucepan.

2.       Wash and clean meat and cut into cubes. Put the meat into the boiling water.

3.       Remove the scum off the top of the soup and add salt.

4.       Wash the rice and add to the soup. 

5.       Clean and wash vegetables. Cut up and add to the soup. Cook for 20 minutes. 

*Featured in Food Fair: An International Cookbook. 1987 International Student Organization & International Cultural Service Program, Oregon State University. Recipe contributed by Margret Reynisdottir. Publication available online here

This seemed like an ideal winter soup: hearty, full of root veggies, and from a country known to get a little chilly.  Preparing this brought me a few culinary firsts: cooking with meat from a chop (lamb), boiling bones to make a broth, and using beets in a recipe. I was concerned about blandness since salt was the only spice added, so I took the extra step of making a little stock from the chop bone for a little “flavor insurance.” 

The results offered up a visual feast of vibrant colors-orange, yellowish white, purple, and grey. All of this was bathed in a reddish broth tinted by the beets-quite a sight! The root mixture gave the soup an overall sweetness that was a little surprising, while the lamb helped to balance out with a savory and fatty flair that I did expect. One thing to note is that the rice and cabbage really added nothing to this in the way of taste or texture. Overall, the soup worked perfectly in warming me up during lunchtime on a cold winter Monday.

Perhaps next February during more “open” times, I can revisit this recipe and share it with others-stay tuned!

Karl McCreary   

Russian Translation in the F. A. Gilfillan Papers

As a physics major minoring in math, it’s rare that I get to dabble in the humanities and arts. My work at SCARC is often a welcome break from the grueling number-crunching of STEM. And what better way to give my brain a break than by translating documents from Russian to English? Well… It may not be a break for my brain, but it’s certainly an enjoyable change of pace!

My Russian experience first started in high school, when I read Tom Clancy’s The Sum of all Fears which sparked my interest in the Russian language, culture, and history. Though Russian wasn’t offered at my high school (nor at Oregon State University by the time I got here), I began teaching it to myself using online resources. By the time I had the opportunity to go to Saint Petersburg to study abroad in fall 2018, I was placed in an intermediate language class. I enjoyed my time in Saint Petersburg so much that I went back again in summer 2019 and took another intensive language course (as well as art history and plasma physics). But throughout my time in Russia, I always had a particular worry brewing in the back of my mind: Would I ever be able to apply this language skill in my career?

That brings us to the present day: I’m a student archivist at SCARC and my supervisor told me that there are Russian documents in the F.A. Gilfillan Papers in need of translation – an ideal project for remote work. Francois A. Gilfillan was a chemistry professor at Oregon State University (then Oregon State College) from 1927-1939, as well as the Dean of Science from 1939-1962 and the acting President from 1941 to 1942. My excitement to tackle this project was palpable: This was the first opportunity I’d had to put my language abilities to use outside of Russia. Being able to work on this project gave me a sense of closure for the concerns that festered after studying abroad, yet also opened for me a doorway of new possibilities and learning experiences. For example, most of my prior experience with Russian has been day-to-day conversation and classroom communication. However some of the documents I translated in the F.A. Gilfillan Papers are written in a much more formal tone, which could be aptly labeled as “business language”.

The letter identified as “S02B14F06_01” was especially interesting, made even more so by the fact that these documents are all from the 1940s. As I was translating, I realized that in English I am not very conscious of how much languages can change over a handful of decades. One of the goals of my translations was to preserve the tone and formality of the original documents, which meant reflecting on how my translation of 1940s Russian into 2020s English should be translated into 1940s English. My process was to first generate a rough, relatively literal translation, and then edit to restore the same business-like inflection of the original text, but with more practice I hope I’ll be able to translate faster without an intermediate phase of editing.

This project also encouraged me to continue studying languages (not just Russian but also other languages I’m interested in such as Korean and French). Since Gilfillan isn’t a native speaker of Russian, it was really interesting to read his style of writing and reflect on how my own language abilities have grown, especially seeing some of the corrections made by Mrs. Riasanovsky in the letter from “S02B13F06_02.” I can see myself making those same mistakes a few years ago. I admire Gilfillan for putting his language abilities on display in these letters. Of course perhaps he never expected them to be read by anyone other than the intended recipient, but I myself still fight self-consciousness speaking or writing in foreign languages even to just one native speaker. When I was in Russia this was much less of a problem, as I became so used to using it as a day-to-day language, but it is difficult to keep that mentality when I am no longer completely immersed in the language.

Corrections made by Mrs. Riasanovsky to a letter Gilfillan sent on June 25, 1943

I’ve also learned more battle-hardened lessons from this project, such as reading ahead. I made the mistake of not reading ahead on one of the documents, and after translating the first couple pages I discovered that there was already a translation made by someone else. After that I made sure to read all the way through every document before starting my translation, which can also help me understand the context better. But I don’t consider my translation a waste of time. I was able to compare my translation to the previous translation and reflect on slight differences in wording and stylism. While our two translations hold the same meaning, they do not always use exactly the same words in the same order. I think it’s fascinating how subjective language can be. There’s almost always multiple ways to communicate the same idea, and sometimes those different ways can have different implications as well.

I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to apply my experience and knowledge in a way that may be helpful to our patrons. I hope I can continue to do so in the future.

This post was contributed by Genevieve Connolly, who has been a student archivist at SCARC since April 2019. She has worked on a diverse repertoire of projects including translations, video editing, transcription, and processing and description of archival collections. She will graduate with a B.S. in Physics in spring 2021. 

January 2021 guides added to SCARC collections

SCARC completed 5 new or updated finding aids in January 2021. Following is a list and a little information about what we accomplished.  These finalized finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, our Archon finding aids interface, and the OSUL discovery system (a.k.a. “the catalog”). All of these materials are available to researchers, and some have been digitized as noted below.

Three of the guides are enhanced finding aids for collections that were previously under-described with incomplete guides: 

Beulah M. Porter Collection, 1928-1930 (MSS Porter)

The Beulah M. Porter Collection consists of dance cards and annotated wooden ice cream spoons collected by alumna Porter that document her participation in social events as a student at Oregon Agricultural College. Porter graduated with a degree in home economics in 1931.

John E. Dever Photographic Slides, 1960-1962 (P 237)

The John E. Dever Photographic Slides consist of color slides taken by Dever during his student years at Oregon State University in the 1960s. The images depict campus views and events as well as local landmarks and regional events.  Dever attended Oregon State University as a graduate student in botany and completed his M.S. degree in 1962.

Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Walter H. Russell Papers, 1923-1982 (MSS RussellW)

The Walter H. Russell Papers consist of materials collected by Oregon Agricultural College alumnus Russell which document his student experience as well as his participation later in alumni reunion gatherings. This collection is made up of certificate, a diploma, event programs, grade reports, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Russell graduated in 1927 with a degee in electrical engineering.

One of the guides is for a student publication:

Prism Literary Magazine, 1972-2019 (PUB 013-9)

The Prism Literary Magazine consists of issues of Oregon State University’s student art and literary magazine.  The magazine includes original content — visual art, photography, poetry, short fiction, and essays — created, edited, and published by Oregon State students. Some of the items in this collection are available online in Oregon Digital.

One of the guides is an update to incorporate additional oral history interviews conducted in 2020:

Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection, 2019-2020 (OH 046)

The Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection contains the interviews of 43 individuals sharing the histories and their experiences of 16 of the 17 community colleges in Oregon including Blue Mountain Community College, Central Oregon Community College, Chemeketa Community College, Clackamas Community College, Clatsop Community College, Columbia Gorge Community College, Klamath Community College, Lane Community College, Linn-Benton Community College, Oregon Coast Community College, Portland Community College, Rogue Community College, Southwestern Oregon Community College, Tillamook Bay Community College, Treasure Valley Community College, and Umpqua Community College. All of the interviews are available online.