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Barbara Haber is a food historian and the former curator of books at Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library at Harvard University where she built a major collection of cookbooks and other books related to food, and influenced the recognition of food history as a viable field of academic and professional study. She founded the Radcliffe Culinary Friends, which supported the library's culinary collection and provided a forum for food writers from across the country to present their work to an appreciative audience. She also held monthly gatherings, called "First Monday," where local chefs and writers came together to hear talks on timely food-related topics.

Barbara's books include "From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon History of American Cooks and Meals" and "From Betty Crocker to Feminist Food Studies: Critical Perspectives on Women and Food," which she co-edited. She has written numerous articles and reviews including "Home Cooking in the White House" published in "White House History." She is currently working on a book about food and World War II in the Pacific tentatively called "Cooking in Captivity."

She is a former director of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and currently serves on the awards committee and chairs the Who's Who Committee of the James Beard Foundation. She is a frequent speaker on topics related to the history of food as well as popular food topics, and has appeared on television's "The Today Show," "Martha Stewart Living" and The Cooking Channel. Barbara was elected to the James Beard Foundation's "Who's Who in Food and Beverages" and received the M.F.K. Fisher Award from Les Dames d'Escofier.

A cook's recipe collection. Credit: Barbara Haber

I don't think of myself as having a mania for amassing stuff, especially when I compare myself to those hoarders depicted on television reality


For me, nothing marks the passage of time so much as the disappearance of favorite restaurants. The pang for lost restaurants hit me recently

The Urban Food Initiative wants to collect expired food for prepared dishes.

Supermarkets throw out about $47 billion worth of food each year, much of it still safe and healthy, a deplorable fact that has led

Kitchen scissors for cutting herbs. Credit: Barbara Haber

Somewhere in my basement is a shelf loaded with cooking implements that my kitchen no longer has room for, including a bread machine, pasta

Chocolates for Valentine's Day. Credit: Barbara Haber

Traditional Valentine's Day gifts are chocolates or flowers, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially if the chocolates aren't from a drugstore. But it

"Below Stairs" by Margaret Powell

The enormous popularity of British television's "Downton Abbey" is a great boon to PBS, which is airing it in the United States, and I


Most of us have a favorite literary classic we think about at Christmas. Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" comes to mind, well-loved for its

raw sweet potatoes

"It's the end of an era," I said to my close friend, Joyce, who was letting me know that this year her family would