Communal Cuisine, Community Cookbooks, 1877–1960. Virtual exhibit, http://www.library.uiuc.edu/learn/Exhibit/index.htm. Created and maintained by Merinda Kaye Hensley. University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign.
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“For time immemorial women have been feeding our endless hunger.” So begins the story told by the community cookbook exhibit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Although not unique, this exhibit is certainly an excellent look at community cookbooks and their role in Midwestern society from the 1870s to the 1960s. As the collector of community cookbooks for the Iowa State University Library, it was exciting to examine another collection of community cookbooks. As the exhibit Web page states, “the intent of community (sometimes referred to as charity, regional or fund-raising) cookbooks is to compile the culinary resources of the women in a community to raise money for a particular cause.” Community cookbooks can be read as a chronicle of American history and domestic life, providing insight into the way food was prepared, food choices were made, and food trends came and went.
This review is from The Library Quarterly 77 (2007): 331–333, doi:10.1086/519407. Posted with permission.