Neighboring on the Air: Cooking Kma Radio Homemakers

Evelyn Birkby, Author University of Iowa Press $20 (349p) ISBN 978-0-87745-316-1
Much of this nostalgic and occasionally saccharine account of 65 years of broadcasting in Shenandoah, Iowa, will entertain only KMA listeners, particularly those old enough to remember most of the ``homemakers'' profiled here. However, elements of the narrative by Birkby ( The Festival Cookie Book ), who herself became a ``radio homemaker'' in 1950, may interest those exploring popular culture or women's history. Birkby easily falls in with KMA's euphemistic lingo, terming the broadcasting work of these women ``daily visits'' to their ``radio friends.'' They would discuss their families and the details of their daily lives as well as offer suggestions for ``making the home a more pleasant, worthwhile place to live.'' Birkby notes that fans would follow the doings of favorite homemakers for years, tuning in each day the same way they'd listen to episodes of radio soap operas. Of course recipes figured prominently, and many are reproduced here, lackluster dishes like cheese lima bean casserole, pork chop corn bake, sauerbraten with gingersnap gravy, and cherry loaf cake (``a Bachelor's Delight''). Illustrated. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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