Back in the accumulation phase of my life, I collected cookbooks. My mother used to say she read cookbooks the way some people read murder mysteries. I was pretty much the same. I especially liked cookbooks that had historical interest, quirky and unusual cookbooks, and ones that just made you shake your head. The one that described making a tasty sandwich spread out of Crisco shortening comes to mind.
I much prefer the study of history when it pertains to what real people were doing in their daily lives, which is why older cookbooks appeal to me. Spare me the dry accounts of kings, battles, and treaties. I want to know what they ate, what they wore, how they lived.
A few years ago I enjoyed a book I borrowed from the Howard County Library about the history of Betty Crocker, a culinary expert and personality created by the Gold Medal Flour Company. (Later General Mills.) It’s a fascinating story, full of all sorts of the historical tidbits that I love. Highly recommended: Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady of Food, by Susan Marks.
So when I noticed that the Howard County Library was offering an online presentation about Betty Crocker I jumped at the opportunity to learn more. Presented by the Harford County Library, it was made available to other libraries as well.