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THROUGH THE EYE OF MARGUERITE KEARNS
Suffrage Wagon Café opened during Women’s History Month in 2015. During two years of the cafe showering attention on food and women’s history programming, I’ve observed an enormous shift.
As recently as two years ago, puzzled looks greeted me when I said I loved writing and speaking about the first wave of the women’s rights movement. I endured questions and smirks, including “Does suffrage hurt?” I must have said on a thousand occasions: “Suffrage refers to the right to vote.”
The suffrage movement refers to the first wave of women’s rights activism, and there have been four waves so far, depending on who you talk to.
Many people are now paying attention to women’s history and our past, not because it’s a cool thing to do. It has more to do with understanding what’s happening today and how we benefit from and are inspired by the strong shoulders on which we stand.
I WAS AT THE SUFFRAGE WAGON CAFE ON VIP NIGHT
A red carpet was rolled out for me when I showed up recently for VIP night at Suffrage Wagon Café. The room was filled with those of us who have kept the faith since I started blogging in 2009 on Suffrage Wagon News Channel (SuffrageWagon.org) about voting rights activism.
The focus has been on my grandmother, Edna Kearns (1882-1934) and her “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon used in parades and as a speakers’ platform for grassroots organizing. The wagon is now on exhibit at the New York State Capitol building in Albany, NY during March 2017.
The web site, SuffrageWagon.org, has become a news and story platform of interest to teachers, students, historians, policymakers, citizens, and many others. This is why the occasion was so memorable at the Suffrage Wagon Café. As guest of honor, I had my choice of California organic white table wine and anything on the international menu.
WHAT I CHOSE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL MENU
I chose tofu nuggets and veggies (snow peas, Shitake mushrooms, and bamboo shoots) in an orange sauce. I was in heaven. Imagine my surprise when the dish arrived with chopsticks almost a foot long.
The vegetables had absorbed the orange sauce, light enough to give their hosts character and strong enough to compete with the tofu nuggets. The blend had me sighing with pleasure especially when flavored with a dab of Chinese-style mustard.
The mushrooms had the gamey taste Shitaki mushrooms are known for, and the promise of a boost to my immune system and their orange flavor added to the rush of taste. In between bites, I sipped on wine to clear my palate and smiled before spearing another tofu nugget with its rich and earthy flavor. Although I had no room for dessert, a take-home box of the main dish and pineapple upside down cake saved me from lunch food preparation the following day.
THE OVERVIEW AND FULL DISCLOSURE
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the host of Suffrage Wagon Café. Suffrage Wagon Cooking School and the café have been part of my journey of sharing remarkable stories about a pivotal time in our past.
Follow the suffrage wagon on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.