Sunday, March 27, 2016

Genealogy Journey's Podcast #6: Refrigeration

Ice house, Harford County, Maryland. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

When we decided to celebrate frozen food month, we realized that there is really a lot to say about refrigeration and how it has changed over the years. We certainly take a lot for granted when we reach into the “fridge” for some juice or a snack. And when we have a power failure, one of the first things to be mentioned and over which we have immediate concern is the food in the refrigerator and freezer.

After our discussion, our “sound man” (my husband, Butch) started to remember some of the ways they kept things cold during his younger days when he spent time in the summer with a family friend. We hope that these podcasts will bring about some conversation in your own household about the various aspects of social history, how your ancestors (or even just one generation back) dealt with issues, etc. The idea we have is to get people connecting to the past by not forgetting it. Children today would be appalled to think of having to walk any further than the kitchen to get a piece of cheese; some of our ancestors had to go to a nearby creek to fish it out of the bag, hung on a branch and covered in the cool water flowing by.

Some of the sources we used in our research on this element of life that has been a constant issue for generations are as follows:

Richard A. Spears, NTC’s Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions, Chicago: National Textbook Co., 1990, p.192 (for the use of “Iceman” as a mob hitman).

Kurlansky, Mark, Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man, New York: Doubleday, 2012.

Wikipedia - Refrigerator (for the history of the refrigerator)

Wikipedia - Icebox (great photos)

Wikipedia - Refrigeration

Wikipedia - Iceman

Smithsonian - Clarence Birdseye, the Man Behind Modern Frozen Food

Mental Floss - 15 Surprising Facts About Frozen Food

Utah Genealogical Association - Crossroads

Chicago Now - Chicago History Cop - The July 10, 1893 World's Columbian Expo Cold Storage Fire and its Unknown Victim   

Chicagology - Cold Storage (photos and info on the Cold Storage Building)

--Jean Wilcox Hibben

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