Vintage Cookbooks and Pre-Cataloging: Working with our Culinary Historians of Washington Collection

This post was written by Olivia Robertson, summer intern at the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex and student at Goucher College.  As an intern at the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex (SLRA), I worked creating gift-in-hand records for a collection of books donated by the Culinary Historians of Washington D.C. (CHoW). Making a gift-in-hand record is the first step in cataloging an item. This happens just after a library receives the item, while the more »

Eating, as an Art

  Beautifully produced but small, the cookbook Home at the Range with George Rector packs a lot of material culture in its 140 pages. Anything but stuffy, this culinary artifact of 1939 evokes America trying to shake off its Depression-era hardships. It reveals a longing for European sophistication while evoking New York City in the livelier era before Prohibition. It displays the development of consumer interest more in style than a recipe. more »

Cooking up some fun with Adopt-a-Book

On Wednesday, November 16th, the Smithsonian Libraries will once again hold its annual Adopt-a-Book Evening and you’re invited! Join us for food and merriment, all while supporting the Libraries’ collections. Visit the event page for additional details and to purchase your tickets. Can’t make it to DC next week or just want a preview of the evening’s menu of books? Enjoy this “appetizer”, a mere sample of the 80+ items that will more »

Care for Some Hot Pink Baked Alaska?

At least that's what we think is being featured on the cover of this wonderful item from the Culinary Historians of Washington (CHoW). The original impetus for this post was the commemoration of the ice cream freezer, which was patented In 1843. A second patent was granted on May 30, 1848. Ice cream and patents soon led to desserts and cookbooks . . .  The National Museum of American History culinary history collection features many wild and wonderful recipe books from CHoW and other sources. Elegant desserts. [by] staff home economists: Melanie de Proft, director [and others]. Illustrated by Kay Lovelace. —Elizabeth Periale

Happy Birthday Julia!

What do you say to a cooking icon that you have admired for years and watched on TV? Oh, to finally get my chance to meet that person came true in 1996 when Julia Child and Jacques Pépin went on a book tour for their PBS series Jacques and Julia Cooking at Home. My mother purchased tickets for my husband Paul and me to go to the lecture and book signing, but as a treat she also bought tickets for the meet and greet  cocktail party before the show. There they were sitting on stools talking to foodies and admirers like me, and shaking hands with everyone. I got in line to wait my turn to meet them just like everyone else, book bag heavy with all the books I had brought for the signing. As my turn came, I started to get nervous, trying to think of something wonderful to say. What did she enjoy cooking the most? Anything French or food related would be good. Closer and closer we got and I was getting more nervous more »

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