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March 28, 2011

Cookery Books in The Special Collections Research Center

As Women’s History month draws to a close we present some notes and selected title page images from an earlier study of the cookery books on our shelves. The Kelvin Smith Library's Special Collections Research Center has a collection of books in the subject area of Domestic Science with an emphasis on cookery books. One of the oldest books in the collection related to culinary activities is an elaborate treatise on the art of carving meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit published in Italy in 1581. Another early work, written by Frau Weckerin and published in Denmark in 1648, was so popular as to be translated into several languages in a time when books written by and for women did not commonly achieve international best seller status.

Other titles include French, English and American publications from the eighteenth to the twentieth century which provide instruction and advice on a wide variety of topics: distilling liqueurs and brewing beer, intricate instructions for elegant dishes for the nobility, shopping at the market, waiting on company, medical treatments, decoration of houses and management of children. Sources of this wealth of information include familiar names such as Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jean Anthelme Brillat- Savarin and corporate entities such as William Baker and Company. A common theme throughout these titles is that the work of women should be valued, honored, and studied, and that pursuit of culinary skills and practical management of resources available to women would be always to their benefit.


Posted by exo2 at March 28, 2011 03:08 AM

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