Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Jiggs" Dinner at Crippen House

You've heard of a Dagwood sandwich, named after the cartoon character. The "Jiggs dinner" was also named for a cartoon--the popular strip Bringing Up Father, starring Jiggs, an Irishman who has come into money but only wants to hang out at the bar, keep his old friends, and eat corned beef and cabbage--otherwise known as a "Jiggs dinner." The cartoonist, George McManus, chose this dish not because it is Irish but because it was what he observed poor Irish families eating on Sundays when he was growing up, as it was a cheap meal. Jiggs' would-be socialite wife Maggie despises Jiggs' love of this "food of the poor."

Here is an original strip showing Jiggs enjoying his favorite meal (click to enlarge):
One wonders if Mrs. Daniel Crippen of Summit Street gave this dinner party because 1. she simply liked corned beef and cabbage, 2. because it was a sort of arch Depression-era joke among her society friends, or 3. because it was all she could afford in the grim year of 1932. I doubt it's the latter, since her "rooms were tastefully decorated with an abundance of asters and zinnias."

It was certainly a far better dinner than those that many Ypsilantians of the time were scraping together from federal flour, Farm Bureau-donated beans, and other meager supplies in this difficult year.

--September 23, 1932 Ypsilanti Daily Press


Anonymous said...

I love old comic strips!
And what the heck is "pedro"?? Oh, okay, The Internet knows:

I swear that I would love to hold "society parties". Wouldn't that be a hoot?? Just don't call me Mrs. Jeff B...Patti S. is just fine!!! :)

Dusty D said...

I love old comics too...whenever I'm looking at old papers on microfilm I always read the comics (a perk!)

Euchre was popular back then too, as was bridge. I wonder why euchre became Michigan's de facto state card game whereas pedro is utterly unknown today (I hadn't heard of it either).

Edward Vielmetti said...

Euchre is only the de facto state card game south of the bridge; in the UP it would be cribbage.

Dusty D said...

Ed: I did not know that; thank you. For some reason I had the impression that euchre was even more entranched up there, but live and learn. :)