Choose a cookbook that is part of an historical collection, whether from one of the digital collections
Suggested digitized cookbook collections:
• Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project: https://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/index.cfm
1. Look through the cookbook and take notes on the kinds of recipes and ingredients that it contains;
2. examine the format (length, details, completeness) of the instructions; etc.
3. Who wrote the cookbook and its recipes?
4. Who is the intended audience?
5. Where and when was the cookbook published?
6. Does this information help you to understand the geographical and/or cultural context for the cookbook’s content and/or methods?
7. What kinds of ingredients are required to prepare the recipes? Would they have been commonly available at the time of publication, or accessible only to elite consumers? Have their modes of production and/or availability to consumers shifted over time?
8. How does this cookbook fit into the global history of food, as we have discussed it in this class?
Your essay should focus on one aspect of the cookbook’s historical context, to the degree possible through your own direct observation.
(A) the social/geographical/historical context of the book’s publication (e.g. what was going on in the culinary world, what kinds of cultural movements might be represented in the foods, etc.?); or
(B) the ecological/economic/historical context of the food items it describes (e.g. by exploring the food technologies and supply chain).