Is that history on your plate?

Tomorrow, I’ll get to learn a different kind of history — the history of food preparation in Missouri. This free event, “What’s for Dinner, Missouri?” will be held at 7 p.m., Nov. 16 in the Friends Room at the Columbia Public Library.

William T. Stolz, assistant director of reference for the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia will be giving the presentation. “Using letters, diaries, recipes and other historical documents, we’ll take a journey through time to see how Missourians have produced, prepared and enjoyed food since 1821,” notes the description of the event.

The program is being held in conjunction with the University of Missouri’s “Food and Society” series.

So why am I, a journalist interested in historic homes, so interested in historic food preparation? Because I’ve learned that history comes in all shapes and sizes, from a variety of resources. For example, did you know that there’s a building on the campus of Columbia College that marks in its own way the results of the 1949 Gold Rush? Williams Hall began as a home for Dr. James H. Bennett. After his wife died, he abandoned construction of the home and headed off for the California Gold Rush and it is believed he died there of cholera. In 1851, Christian College, which would later be renamed Columbia College, purchased the unfinished building and today the building is used for office space and classrooms.

While my focus has been on historic homes, my research has taught me Columbia, Missouri was affected by the California gold rush as well as the common diseases of that era.

So, I’m eager to find out what I’ll learn on Tuesday night at the upcoming lecture on historic food preparation.

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