Food in the News (#3): Food Fraud!

NPR’s The Salt featured a story this weekend on food fraud, how it’s “found out,” and just what it’s worth. If you’re curious, you can check out the article (or have a listen) to “Is There Wood Pulp In That Parmesan? How Scientists Sniff Out Food Fraud.”

Adulteration of food is nothing new and it’s a topic that’s come up among researchers using our collection. We have a number of publications that address adulteration (and regulation) of food, drinks, and in our History of the American Cocktail Collection, even the liquor trade! So, if you’d like to learn more, drop on by!

Food History in the News (#2): Gastronomy of Genius

This article is a couple of weeks old, but if you missed it, it’s worth a look: “Gastronomy Of Genius: History’s Great Minds And The Foods That Fueled Them.” As we say on the blog all the time, food doesn’t existing in a vacuum and it influences us in our daily lives.  You don’t have to be a genius to know that, but apparently even geniuses are subject to their food passions (and lack of passions?), just like everyone else.

Digitized Cookbooks at the Folger

As you know, Special Collections at Virginia Tech isn’t the only special collections and archives to be digitizing its rare and unique content to share on the web! Over the weekend, the Folger Shakespeare Library some new material to its online platform. The best part? It’s almost all historic receipt books and cookbooks! You can see the list of recent additions online, complete with links to the items themselves. I also recommend you browse by category and check out “Cookbooks” and “Recipes” for other items.

Snow Ice Cream?

Sorry for the lack of a feature post this week, but the snowstorm closed campus on Friday, cutting us off from our collection before we could scan anything to write about! Blacksburg has taken quite a hit, giving people the option to stay warm and dry, or go outside and play. If you’re looking for a way to interact with the snow AND stay inside, this article from NPR has some ideas for snow ice cream…or a creative way to cool down a cocktail:

Enjoy the snow…or lack thereof, if you escaped winter storm Jonas…and stay warm!

The NMAH and Gelatin!

The National Museum of American History has taken their culinary materials one step further–and made some 1930s gelatin dishes to share! Check out their blog post, “Tasting the 1930s: An experiment with congealed salads and other one-dish wonders.”

I’ve had more than one person ask me about the possibility of doing a feature or two where I actually make a dish or two from cookbooks in our collection. And the idea keeps rolling around in my brain. Perhaps this is just the inspiration I need. I may just have to do some hunting for the right recipes…

Special Collections is on Twitter!

Just a quick announcement: Virginia Tech Special Collections and University Archives has joined Twitter! If you tweet, follow, or just want to check out our page, you can find us @VT_SCUA or at We’ll be tweeting photos, facts, exhibits, events, blog posts, and more. Of course we’ll be including things about and from the History of Food and Drink Collection, so be sure to keep an eye out!

Monday Afternoon News Bite

A quick early week news bite:

NPR’s food blog, The Salt, ran a story this weekend about African-American culinary history, “Beyond ‘Aunt Jemima’: A Taste Of African-American Culinary Heritage.” Certainly, this is a topic we’ve touched on before! If you’re interested in listening to the interview with author or just want to read highlights, both are available online.


News: Bowdoin College Acquires Collection of American Cookery Books

Since it’s always nice to know what our fellow academic libraries are up to, especially when it comes to culinary news, you might like to know that Bowdoin College in in Maine has recently acquired a very cool collection of early American cookbooks:


National Archives “Spirited Republic” Exhibit

Just a quick interlude: For those of you in the Washington, DC, area, the National Archives opened a new exhibit earlier this month, “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History.” The exhibit deals with relationship between the U. S. Government and alcohol, and it set to run through early January 2016. I’m hoping to make a trip at some point, but I wanted to share with those of you who may live closer or have a trip already planned. You can read more in the press release. Last week, the Washington Post ran an article about the opening, which featured a signature punch.



Ann Hertzler: Professor, Extension Specialist, and Culinary Friend

Some of our followers may have heard of, seen comments on the blog by, or personally known, our long-time History of Food and Drink Collection friend, donor, and supporter, Ann Hertzler. We were saddened to learn that Ann passed away last week on February 6, 2014, at her residence in North Carolina.

In 1957, Ann A. Hertzler received a B.S. in Home Economics Education from Pennsylvania State University. She taught high school Home Economics for two years. In 1960, she completed a Master of Science in Nutrition at the Drexel Institute of Technology. Between 1960 and 1966, she taught at the Drexel Institute of Technology and Northern Illinois University, and spent a year as a dietitian in England. She then pursued a Ph.D. in Nutrition at Cornell University, completing her studies in 1973. From 1970 to 1980, Hertzler was a professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In 1980, she joined the faculty at Virginia Tech as a professor of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, and as a Foods and Nutrition Extension Specialist. She retired in 2001.

During the course of her career, she published many research articles, authored Cooperative Extension publications, served on thesis and dissertation committees, and presented at conferences and events. She received regional and national awards, including a Fulbright Scholarship (1989-1990) and the American Dietetic Association’s Award for Excellence in Dietetic Education (1999).

No matter where she was or who she was speaking to, Ann was enthusiastic about her work. She helped bring the original Peacock-Harper Culinary Collection to Special Collections in 1999-2000. After the larger Culinary History Collection (now the History of Food & Drink Collection) was established, Ann’s focus on children and nutrition issues led her to create the Ann Hertzler Children’s Cookbook and Nutrition Literature Collection and a related endowment in 2005. Through donations and purchases, this sub-group of materials now includes more than 430 publications, pamphlets, and collections of ephemera. We are also the home of much of Ann’s professional papers, donated by her between 2001 and 2013. A finding aid is available online. Some of the resources from her collection have been digitized and can be found through the finding aid or her online faculty archives.

On a personal note (archivist/blogger Kira here), in my five years working with this collection of culinary materials, Ann and I emailed frequently, though I only met her once when she visited the Blacksburg and Roanoke area to give a presentation. She was always curious about the latest acquisitions, about who was using culinary materials, and about what we might have on a specific topic. She was quick to send people my way with questions, when she wasn’t posing her own, and she continued to support researchers in the United States and abroad. Special Collections and the University Libraries will always be grateful for her past efforts and we will miss her support in the future.

Later this week, I hope to have a second post, one that highlights some donations from Ann, purchases made with her endowment, and some of her own work, as well. In the meantime, if you have memories or thoughts of Ann you would like to share, we would be happy to post them. You can submit a comment below, or use the form on the “Contacting Special Collections” page and we’ll see that they make it to the comments section.

%d bloggers like this: