Around the Table: The Making and Knowing Project

All of this underscores a key point about recipes as texts: they are texts of action, and to fully read them, we have to get our hands dirty, however imperfect our modern ingredients and bodies may be for the job. The knowledge encoded in recipes is practical and, to use Pamela Smith’s term, emergent: it unfolds not in the reading, but in the doing. At best, reconstruction allows us glimpses into past worlds of materials and expertise […] All of this underscores a key point about recipes as texts: they are texts of action, and to fully read them, we have to get our hands dirty, however imperfect our modern ingredients and bodies may be for the job. The knowledge encoded in recipes is practical and, to use Pamela Smith’s term, emergent: it unfolds not in the reading, but in the doing. At best, reconstruction allows us glimpses into past worlds of materials and expertise […]

UC San Diego Digitizes Materials in its American Institute of Wine and Food Culinary Collection

Cooks, bakers, and culinary historians around the globe now have immediate online access to nearly 100 volumes in the UC San Diego Library’s American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) Culinary Collection . Spearheaded by Special Collections & Archives (SC&A), this digitization project has allowed the Library to share […]

The History of Ladies’ Auxiliary Cookbooks and How They Helped Raise Funds for Charities in the South

Long before you could pull up an ingredient list on your phone in the grocery store or email a link to a must-make recipe to your sister across the country, women shared favorites through paperback community cookbooks . These cookbooks were more than just a compilation of typed recipes; […]

The Not So Holly Jolly History of Gingerbread

According to culinary historian Tori Avey, the earliest gingerbread recipes can be traced back to 2400 B.C. The hardened cookies we think of today, however, didn’t come about until the Middle Ages in Europe, when gingerbread cookies became a staple of local fairs. Gingerbread cookies tended to change shape depending on the season; birds were common in the fall, for example, as were flowers in the spring. But the cookies were also often shaped like animals or royalty, and it wasn’t uncommon for nobility to dress their cookies up with gold leaf in addition to icing. Queen Elizabeth I is usually cited as the first to make what we might recognize as a gingerbread man. Legend has it that when foreign dignitaries came to visit her, she had some cookies decorated to resemble her guests. Rather than being associated with Christmas, gingerbread cookies were largely synonymous with wealth and prosperity; the cookie’s decoration was more highlighted than the season in which it was served. […]