1920's Recipes


 Our live Cemetery Pupu Theatre performances usually include pupus and drinks for the audience to enjoy while watching the performances at historic Oahu Cemetery.  To continue this tradition in this year’s online format, we have sourced Women’s Suffrage-era recipes for you to cook at home.
 The recipes on this page are all from the Hawaiian Cook Book compiled in 1920 by the “Womans’ Society of Central Union Church” (sic), in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, and now housed in the Hawaiian Mission Houses’ archives. Many Central Union Church members were active in the “Votes for Women” movement, including signing petitions sent to the Hawaiian Territorial Legislature to enact the 1917 bill allowing women to vote. The Territorial Government’s initial resistance to enacting the Hawai‘i women’s vote mobilized many women’s groups in Hawai‘i, with Wilhelmine Dowsett at the forefront of the collective effort. You will learn more about Mrs. Dowsett and other women trailblazers in this year’s Cemetery Pupu Theatre performances.
 Toppling the patriarchy and compiling cookbooks were common projects in women’s societies in the early 20th century. For more about the use of cook books as tools to exercise political voice, see this NPR article: How Suffragists Used Cookbooks As A Recipe For Subversion
 These recipes from the 1920 Hawaiian Cook Book are written with a “short-hand” approach, in which the steps were left out that were too obvious to a 1920’s era cook. This was presumably to save space in the compilation. To our 21st century eye, some recipes run the risk of reading as incomplete. To help decipher some of the unlisted steps, we have found contemporary examples of similar dishes to compare with the 1920 recipe.


Main dishes




Rolled Jelly Cake (Guava Jelly recipe; Rolled Jelly Cake recipe)