Mable Hoffman and the Conquest of the Crock-Pot

March 2010 marked the passing of university alumna Mable Hoffman.  In 1975, Mable created the first cookbook that dealt exclusively with the crock-pot, a popular new kitchen appliance but one without any books to guide users.  Called “Crockery Cookery,” it became an instant best seller, and one that is still in print today.

Mabel Hoffman & Crockery Cookery

Mable Hoffman & Crockery Cookery, c.1970s 

Ms. Hoffman started her career in the food industry at Maryland, where she graduated in June 1941 with a bachelor’s degree in home economics.  Born Lelia Mabel Simpson in Manteo, VA, she attended high school in Frederick, MD, graduating in June 1937.  She then attended Madison College (now James Madison University) in Harrisonburg, VA, for two years, before transferring to the University of Maryland for the 1939-1940 school year.  While at school she was involved in the Home Economics and Presbyterian clubs, and was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority (to see her senior portrait, click here).  The University Archives has a wealth of materials about the program from that time, including university publications, departmental records, and photographs.  To learn more about the history of the home economics program, please contact the University Archives.

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