Browse the Feeding America Collection by Interest

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The interests listed below were taken from the introductory essay and are meant only as a suggestion for further research. Almost all the books have information on more than one topic.

Please select an interest to view cookbook titles:

Charity and Church Cookbooks

Cookbooks published to benefit a charitable cause have been with us since the Civil War, They are today ubiquitous and very popular. In the period covered by this project, more than 3000 such books are known. In addition to their intrinsic interest, they often represent regional, ethnic and other genres. They are a much under-utilized source of information because the earliest ones are very hard to find, ranging, often, from scarce to rare. See especially the Presbyterian Cook Book, the Woman Suffrage Cook Book, Favorite Dishes, the Settlement Cook Book, the Washington Women's Cook Book, and the Neighborhood Cook Book.

Among the most important considerations to be investigated via the charity cookbooks is the involvement of women in the greater community. Most of the charity cookbooks of the period under discussion were church-related. However, to see the variety of causes for which these books were published will give an idea of what social and political issues concerned American women: suffrage, temperance, missionary work, libraries, business and professional organizations, education, welfare, patriotism, granges, hospitals, immigration, and veterans, among others.

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Cooking Schools

In many ways the Cooking School influence can be found under the Great Ladies, as many of them founded or were involved with the major Cooking Schools which sprung up all over America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. See especially Corson, Rorer, Farmer, Lincoln, and Parloa. But also see the Cooking School connections to Leslie and Kander. In addition, male chefs, such as Prof. Blot, also founded and/or were involved with Cooking Schools.

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Ethnic Influences

Ethnic recipes and cookbooks appeared in America prior to the Civil War, with British, German and French works predominating. Thereafter, the waves of new immigrants contributed their culinary heritage. The Native American contributions are often unrecorded in the culinary literature, but they are there - always. See Cushing's Zuni Breadstuff for one example of a scholarly dissertation on this subject. African-American influences are also strong, from the earliest days. These are represented both by books written by Blacks (e.g. Mrs. Fisher) and by those written by Southern Whites (e.g. McCulloch-Williams). In addition, Northern authors of more general cookbooks often included African American recipes (e.g. some of the works of Miss Leslie.)

References to Jewish contributions appear even prior to the publication of the first Jewish cookbook in America, which appeared in 1871. "Aunt Babette", Mrs. Kander, the Portland, Oregon Neighborhood Cook Book, and the Greenbaum books all represent the diverse Jewish populations in America - and an international outlook as well.

The contributions of the British, German and French continued throughout the period covered by this project. The Sanderson and Parkinson books are essentially from British sources; the Davidis remains a German and a German-American classic; and the Blot, Tanty, Hearn and Eustis books clearly display the French influence. French influence can also be found in the professional books such as the Ranhofer and the Hirtzler.

Pennsylvania-Dutch (German) and Quaker cooking are represented by works by Lea and Thomas. The very important Hispanic contributions to the American melting pot are underrepresented in the printed culinary archive. We do, however, include several good examples; chapters can be found in the Los Angeles Times Cook Book and Mrs. Rorer's Cook Book. Many other ethnic contributions are to be found in the MSU collections. To represent them, we have included: Gentile's The Italian Cook Book; Fullstandigaste Svensk-Amerikansk Kokbok (Swedish); Keoleian's The Oriental Cook Book (Middle Eastern); and Bosse's Chinese-Japanese Cook Book.

Additional ethnic recipes and foodways, including the cultures discussed above - and a host of others - are to be found in the books by Keen and Wood.

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Great Ladies of American Cooking

Although this term might not be politically correct today, it well defines the women who shaped American cuisine throughout the 19th century and into the first quarter of the 20th: Child, Hale, Randolph, Leslie, Beecher, Harland, Corson, Farmer, Lincoln, Parloa and Rorer.

These remarkable women are well represented in this collection as they must and ought to be. They span the century. Their books went through hundreds of editions and they reached millions of households with their classes, articles and books. Not only were they recognized as culinary authorities, but they were also reformers active in all the major social and cultural events of their day: abolition, temperance, child welfare, women's rights, education, suffrage, social welfare, prison reform, poverty alleviation, immigration, consumer issues, diet, health and nutrition, medical reforms, labor issues, and contemporary religious and moral questions. They shared a major concern for the role of women, for their duties and responsibilities, as well as their rights, and for ways their workload could be lightened and "improved." They were writers, poets, philosophers, educators, editors and business women.

Their books dominate this collection as their lives and works did.

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Homemaking, household management, home economics, entertaining, menus, cooking equipment

Most of the books in the Feeding America collection have some information on household management, domestic economy, home economics, cooking equipment, relations with servants, etc. Each other genre discussed contains such material. Here we would like to point out several items which are especially useful: Beecher and Stowe's American Woman's Home, Ellett's Practical Housekeeper, Abel's Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking, Henderson's Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving, Croly's Jennie June's American Cook Book, and the works of all of the Great Ladies.

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