October 05, 2004

Community Cookbooks "Everyone feels nourished and replenished, body and soul, no matter what else is going on in their lives. And in these moments they are reminded that food has always been--and will continue to be--the tie that binds people to the past, to the future and to each other." ---pg. 308 Celebration Cookbook Nancy Butcher, Saratoga Springs, NY It's not as intense as the annual wedding dress sale at Filene's Boston. It does reach it's own level of intensity. Be assured that here's always someone looking in your cart or peering over your shoulder to see if you hold something that they desire at the annual book sale fundraiser for the Friends of the SF Public Libary. Readers can be an idiosyncratic bunch. My annual outing is primarily for one reason--the ongoing expansion of my personal cookbook library, which has been at about 300 assorted volumes. As I walked the rows of old cookbooks I started to give some consideration to my collection and wondered if I could benefit with specialization. I need to be honest with myself; in this lifetime I am not going to collect every recipe and cookbook out there. Right? Many serious collectors have bents to their efforts. Building libraries around Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbooks, corporate public relations cookbooklets, single subject cookbooks or cooking method like baking or braising or children's cookbooks, just to name a few possibilities. Another area, which seems vast, is the category of community cookbooks. Several of my new weekend additions included these fundraising...
A World of Good Eating Serendipity always surprises me. I guess that's part of the magic of it all. Yesterday I received a missing issue of Gastronomica. I could go on about this quarterly journal published by UC Berkeley and the range of fascinating, vast and well-written and documented pieces in each issue. Suffice it to say that if you hold more than a passing interest in food you owe it to yourself to get a subscription. It makes other food publications, excluding Saveur and The Art of Eating look rookie. (Sorry, watching the Red Sox playoffs in tandem to this effort.) Well, there in the author bio of Ann L. Bower, an associate professor of English at Ohio State University/ Marion was a listing of a book she had edited, Recipes for Reading Community Cookbooks Stories, Histories, (1997). Well, really! Now I'm not even thinking that I was the first to write about the cultural and social significance of this genre of cookbooks but I felt, well, ok, a bit smug and oddly validated. Back to the book find of the moment...from the publisher's site info in a short summary it states that it the scholarly book is arranged into three sections: Part One provides a historical overview of community cookbooks, a discussion of their narrative strategies, and insights into the linguistic peculiarities of recipes. Part Two contains essays about particular cookbooks and their relationship to specific cultural groups. Examined here are Methodist, Mormon, and Canadian recipe collections and a recent cookbook from the...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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