Looking for memories of the L.S. Ayres Tea Room

Written by Susan Johnson, Retail Operations Manager at the Indiana State Museum

One of the most interesting parts of my job handling retail operations for the museum is the opportunity to work with our curators and staff to develop new things to sell in the museum store. Along that line, I realized when I took over this position a few months back, that our ever popular L.S. Ayres Tea Room Cookbook is now 12 years old. Seems to me like this is a good time to put together a second edition. L.S. Ayres published hundreds of recipes in the old employee publications and newspapers through the years and I’ve had so many people ask me why certain recipes were left out of the cookbook. Cuts had to be made somewhere, I suppose, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to locate more of those old recipes to share.

This will not be a small project and it’s going to take a little time. Right now I’m shooting to have this second edition published for Mother’s Day of 2011. We’ll see if we can make that self-imposed deadline. I’ve asked a small group of people to help me out with this project so I can ensure that we move forward. Jourdan Struck, one of our new staff members with the museum store, will be helping me research and test recipes. I’ve also asked her to write about her journey for our museum blog. Jourdan is enthusiastic, loves to cook and has a journalism degree from Ball State so I’m excited to have her on board. Katherine Gould, the Assistant Curator of Cultural History for the Indiana State Museum, is helping us wade through several boxes of old Ayres documents and photographs from the archives to help us in our search for unpublished recipes. Along the way she will be scanning recipes and old menus for our digital archives. I’m also happy to say that Head Chef Jon Michael Gioe, with the L.S. Ayres Tea Room at the museum, has volunteered to help us out along the way with testing and interpreting the recipes we find. He’ll give this second edition some cooking credibility.

Along with collecting recipes and articles about the Tea Room for our second edition, we’re also going to take this opportunity to collect some Tea Room memories from our visitors that we might add to the book. So please, if you have any old recipes from the Tea Room or a memory you’d like to share, please let us know. I’m sure we can use all the help we can get.

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