Food history guide: thoughts on food technology

Background: 65% reduction when compressed. Foreground: small cube equals two generous servings, circa 1940. From the Food Science and Technology Department Photographs Collection.

Background: 65% reduction when compressed. Foreground: small cube equals two generous servings, circa 1940. From the Food Science and Technology Department Photographs Collection.

Coming to OSU, I knew that it was a heavily science oriented university. However, I did not realize how ingrained food technology was in the early and mid 20th century. Being able to dig through the various collections that SCARC has, has been a lot of fun, especially with seeing the wide variety of food research that can be done.

Fun fact: The Patent Committee Records collection holds the patent for maraschino cherries (my favorite things when I was little!) It also holds the patent for canned crab, as well as yeast ready-mix. 

Another thing I found out through researching this week, there are a lot of past professors from the university that have buildings named after them (especially in the food technology and agriculture departments). Obviously the names of buildings come from somewhere, I just didn’t realize the heavy emphasis on those in the food technology department. 

There are also a large amount of pictures (and collections) of the testing of foods from the early 20th century. Looking through Oregon Digital has produced some great finds, like the picture above. It’s a picture of dehydrated beef (sounds a bit wonky) circa 1940. 

The next section I’ll be researching is Food Technology, which is really similar to Food Research (the topic I researched this week), but I think it will also yield some interesting finds!

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