About

My name is Gwen, and I come from a small town in New England. Back in 2013, I graduated from college with a BA in American history and entered into a job market that wasn't exactly booming with opportunities for anyone, let alone people who wanted to grow up to be a museum curator. After the grant ran out on my internship, I found myself with way too much free time on my hands, and not enough stuff to keep me occupied while applying for job after job after job. On a whim one day, my cousin and I baked some cookies from Colonial Williamsburg's food blog because we were bored and had nothing better to do. They came out pretty well, and I had a lot of fun doing it. There were a lot of other interesting sounding recipes on the website I thought might be worth trying, and I had always been meaning to teach myself how to cook...

Then, it hit me.

What if I used my love of history as a way to trick myself into learning how to cook? And what if I shared those experiments with other people who might be interested to see what people in the past ate and why? I could finally go back to doing research and writing about historical subjects and sharing them with a wider audience, even if it looked like I wasn't going to be able to do that at a job.


Because I wasn't sure my pictures would be interesting enough on their own to warrant a blog dedicated to them, I decided I would try to center the blog around the thing that got me excited about history in the first place: American Girl Dolls. I first got Kirsten when I was five years old, and after learning all about colonial America in school at age eight, I desperately wanted Felicity... as well as all the other dolls. But being an unemployed child, I had to make do with obsessively reading all of the other character's books, and then branching off into other historical fiction and nonfiction like Dear America and Horrible Histories.

Kirsten and Felicity were joined by Kaya a few years later, but I stopped actively collecting until I graduated from college. I had some extra money left over as part of a graduation present, and while most other college graduates might have spent it on an iPad or jewelry or a new video game console, I didn't want any of those things and thought it would be fun to find something special that referenced my new degree. I wandered onto the American Girl website on a whim, and after some serious thinking chose Emily because World War II had been such a major focus of my studies and still is my favorite historical period to learn and teach others about.

For a while, the blog had a cast of four. Then, I got a part time job at a store, and then a full time job at an insurance company, and the cast grew and grew to where it is today!

I really wasn't sure this was going to work at first. I knew it was sort of an odd concept, and was a little worried people would think having the dolls as photography subjects might be weird, but the response has been overwhelmingly extremely positive. Almost everyone I've told about it has thought it's a really cool idea, and sometimes it's led to them reminiscing about their own dolls, or their kid's dolls, or how they always wanted to have one growing up. Even more often, they want to know what they have to do to get some of the food! I have friends, family members and coworkers suggesting posts and recipe ideas on a regular basis, and really appreciate all the good feedback all my readers have given me since we got started.

Since then, we've made a lot of interesting food. Most of it's turned out great!


Some of it's been kind of gross...


And a couple things haven't really worked out at all!

Someday I'll try to make Walt Disney's favorite pie again...

We've traveled to interesting places like Texas, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, Plimoth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village, Mystic Seaport, Boston, John Adams National Historic Site, Block Island, the FDR Presidential Library, Washington, D.C., New Orleans (home of the National WWII Museum!), Disneyland, and even Germany and Australia!


We've been able to meet Abraham Lincoln and Valerie Tripp!


We've learned cool new things...


And kept some family recipes and traditions alive.


Currently I'm in grad school, working to get my Master's in Public History (which means I'm trying to make that dream of working at a museum finally happen!) This means we're in a new city, with a new (much smaller!) budget and kitchen, so things are going to be a little different for the time being. But if you're patient, I promise we're still going to have a lot of interesting recipes, field trips, and fun facts about our favorite foods.

I think I've come a long way in the kitchen since starting this blog, and I'm never out of ideas for new recipes to try out. If you've got anything to suggest, feel free to shoot me an email at intothepantry@gmail.com, and I'll be happy to give it a shot. If you've got any other questions, you can contact me there as well, or leave a note below. I'm happy to hear from you!

Hope you enjoy the blog!

4 comments:

  1. Love the pictures! And the one of Abraham Lincoln and Addy was super funny!

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    Replies
    1. He was a really good Lincoln, we got to hear him do the Gettysburg Address!

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