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A Genealogist In The Archives: December 2020

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

General Mills Archives, Food and Your Ancestors

It's that time of year when we celebrate the Holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Celebrations abound and a common denominator is food. Many of us have family traditions we practice during this time. We prepare certain recipes and share them with our friends and family. 

General Mills Archives Website

As genealogists we have a great opportunity to document this aspect of our family's history. During the holidays when our family members are more willing to share their memories, we should be collecting those memories and preserving them. Almost all of us have memories related to food. Whether that is Aunt Linda's fruit cake or that Jell-O mold that was at every Christmas dinner table, we remember these dishes and they generate stories that we should be recording. 

Along with the stories, we should also be trying to document the recipes so they are not forgotten. I inherited my Grandmother's recipe boxes and they are a true treasure. However, these recipe boxes do not include many of the recipes that I remember because my Grandmother kept those in her head and didn't write them down. I so regret not having her write them down or writing them down as she made each dish. Now they are lost and all that remains are the memories me and my other family members have to cherish.

Agnes Marie (Curtis) LeMaster Chess Pie Recipe, Melissa Barker Records

I recently read a great book about the history of Betty Crocker. The book is Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady Of Food by Susan Marks and can be found on Amazon at this link: . This was an interesting look at the history of Betty Crocker (who, by the way, was not a real person, which I did not know until I read this book!) and introduced me to the General Mills Archives. While this archives is not open to the general public, they are available to answer questions from the public by email and through their website.

So, during the holidays when you are with your family, whether that is in person or virtually, talk about the food traditions and recipes. Write them down and document them so they are not forgotten. Preserve your family's food history for the next generations!


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