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Wheat People - Part 5

Ott family in the field, Mulvane, 1998.Celebrating Kansas Harvest

Fast Food

"By far the best invention to help during harvest is Tupperware!"
--Lee Cox, Anthony, 1998

Breaking bread together is more than just nourishing the body, and harvest meals are no exception. Meals often are a social event where people gather to take a break and catch up on news.

Large harvest spreads have been an important custom for thousands of years.

Marge Summervill, who is busy operating equipment during harvest, often relies on the convenience of take-out food.Although women traditionally have cooked for harvest crews, during the last 30 years they've taken on more field work as they spent less time in the kitchen. Meals today are just as likely to be fast food as homemade, but they remain important family gatherings.  Farm children often have fond memories of harvest meals in the field with their families.

Home and wheat field can be miles apart, and many families save time by bringing meals directly to the workers. One person continues to operate the combine while the rest of the crew gathers around a car trunk or pick-up truck tailgate.Lucas Smith enjoys a roadside supper near Bird City, 1998.  His family travels from Colorado Springs every summer to help uncle and  aunt Steve and Jan Busse harvest wheat.

"The restaurants are glad to see me during harvest. They see me more during harvest than they do any other time of the year."--Marge Summervill, Marion, 1998

"My mother was the best cook in the whole world. She would bring two meals during harvest to the fields. She could make a million kinds of Jell-O salads. . . . We'd have meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, scalloped corn, and sometimes instead of meatloaf we'd have fried chicken, and homemade bread and homemade pie or cake. It was all you could eat, and we'd stuff ourselves."
--Robert Miller, Wellington, 1998


Wheat People: Celebrating Kansas Harvest is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. Wheat History - Corn used to be "King" in Kansas
  2. Gearing Up - Getting ready for harvest
  3. On the Run - Everybody moves quickly
  4. Family - Coming together in the fields
  5. Fast Food - Meals are a social event
  6. Nature - June is a stormy month
  7. To Market, To Market - The local grain elevator
  8. The Season's End - Harvest festivals
  9. Business or Way of Life? - Farming is both

Contact us at kshs.kansasmuseum@ks.gov