Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Winona County History Center

4125498901_0952e601e1_bThe Carpenter Gothic Revival style Bunnell House captures the interest of people driving buy along the Mississippi River near Homer on US. Highway 61. The home’s simple, but yet ornate and unpainted board structure was constructed in the 1850’s by Willard Bunnell, one of Winona County’s first settlers. Bunnell made his money through development and the timber industry. The distinctive home is on the National Register of Historic Places “for having state-level significance in the themes of architecture, commerce, and exploration/settlement. ” The home was Minnesota’s first permanent white home south of St. Paul and Bunnell’s second home, his first being a log cabin he built after receiving permission from Chief Wapasha III to build a log cabin on the west bank of the Mississippi.

Lafayette Bunnel, Willard’s younger brother, also made the journey westward to the Minnesota Territory from Homer, New York. Lafayette’s life was filled with a variety of unique adventures that took eventually him far from southeast Minnesota. He was a soldier and doctor in the War with Mexico and later in the Civil War where he served with Minnesota’s Company K. During the Gold Rush era he traveled to California and joined Mariposa Battalion, the first non-Indians to enter Yosemite Valley. Bunnell is credited for naming the Valley. He later returned to the home where he wrote his account of discovering Yosemite; he died at the Bunnell home in 1903.  It was fun to find his account of the discovery in the Library of Congress Collections.

The home is now  property of the Winona County Historical Society. Lafayette’s life, as told through his memories, is the subject of an enjoyable, sometimes humorous, and very informative short play presented this summer in the historic home’s living/ dining room. The play is produced by the Historical Society and Theatre Du Mississippi.

 I had no idea that someone who lived within walking distance of my home had a role so significant in the establishment of our national parks!    What’s in your back yard?

Primary and Secondary Sources

Learn more about using Primary Source sets in your classroom

 

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STOCKTONBRANCFLOURThe high gluten promotion in historic Stockton flour sack displayed at the Winona County History Center caught my eye. A Wingold flour sack also promotes high gluten. High gluten flour hasn’t gone away, but we know the promotion now (and dietary need for others) is Gluten Free.

How – and why – have our eating habits have changed? The Tastemakers, a fascinating look at past, current and emerging food trends gives insight and a cultural history of recent food trends such as Cupcakes, Celebrity chefs, Cronuts, Fondue, Health foods, Ethnic foods  & BACON!

Journalist David Sax who analyzed trends and data, explains clever promotion along with the economic need to increase pork sales during the “other white meat” trend” were factors in the recent bacon trend. All the trends I had encountered – chia seeds, Red Prince apples, Indian cooking, food trucks – were ultimately motivated by commerce. What drove people to open one more cupcake bakery. . . wasn’t their desire to unleash the perfect strawberry buttercream on the world – it was to make a buck. Food trends were products of capitalism. . . . (Baconomics: 101, Ch 10)

“Marketing: Someday my Red Prince Will Come” offers a look at the high cost of developing and marketing specialty apples such as the Red Prince grown in Canada or specialty apples like Honeycrisp or Sweet Tango developed by the University of Minnesota.

“Taco Trucks: Food Politics” is an interesting account of the difficulty food truck operators faced trying to get more selling spaces in Washington D.C. Now we see them everywhere.

What about Bacon? Some reports claim say the trend is fading, others disagree.

The Tastemakers is a fun read for foodies or people interested in advertising and change.

I loved this book and an excited about interesting possibilities for curriculum connections in economics, family and consumer science or sociology. It would be fun to enhance the study the history of food and food related trends with primary sources. There are an abundance of resources. Here a couple to get you thinking.

PantryShelf The story of a pantry shelf, an outline history of grocery specialties (Butterick, 1925) discusses  the “evolution of  five [food} decades.” Advertising and the ingenuity of American enterprise were identified as key influences on what we eat. How does your panty shelf compare to the 1925 example? The book is one of hundreds of items in Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, a Library of Congress collection of documents, books, photos and ephemera.

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project  highlights a part of America’s cultural heritage for teachers, students and researchers. 76 digital cookbooks represent influential and important cookbooks from the late 18th century to the 20th century. They are for lifelong learners of all ages.

What cookbooks would you include in your historic cookbook collection?

What are you nominations for an update to The Tastemakers?

Primary sources offer engaging learning opportunities for  classrooms. Learn how!

Sax, David. The Tastemakers: Why we’re crazy for cupcakes but fed up with Fondue. Public Affairs/Perseus Books Group, 2014.

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