Barbara Ketcham Wheaton was born in Philadelphia, received a B.A. at Mt. Holyoke College, an M.A. at Harvard University. She studied cooking at the École des trois gourmands in Paris. She and Joyce Toomre founded the Culinary Historians of Boston in 1980. Her book, Savoring the Past: the French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789 was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1983. She taught courses in food history at the Radcliffe Seminars, and more recently has taught seminars in how to read cookbooks in a structured way. At present she is working on a database that allows researchers to analyze cookbooks and related materials in great detail.