Recently a genealogy email list I follow was having a lively discussion about Irish brown bread, followed by a shorter-lived digression into baseball. Which prompted a comment:
“Recipes? Baseball? What about genealogy?”
Ouch. Are recipes and baseball games incompatible with family history research? Maybe. And maybe not.
I strongly believe that traditional recipes are indeed family history, as much as birth certificates or census results. Often they’re among the few records our female ancestors leave behind. My family didn’t keep diaries, but they did keep recipes. So recipes are at least as relevant to me as, say, discussions of whether my line can be traced to a possibly mythical ancient Irish king.
Sports aren’t so much my thing, although I can’t resist vintage sportswriting, and it’s fun to imagine how my ancestors might have spent their precious leisure time. (Still, I hope they didn’t waste it at one 1909 baseball game in Troy, N.Y., described as “an exhibition so weird that fans wept.”)
Back to my original thought: Meanderings happen on discussion lists from time to time. Sometimes they actually lead to interesting research ideas. Sometimes they don’t, but this doesn’t mean the list is going to the dogs (or the bakers or baseball fans). It usually means the list has matured into the sort of place where there’s room for the occasional OT discussion, because participants trust each other to know when it’s interesting enough to start and when it’s time to stop.
I like lists like that.
P.S. I’m actually working on a brown bread post. Guess it’s only fair to warn you.