In this special three-part series from Death and Numbers, we’re cracking open cookbooks and archival records to learn about the bond between food and text.
The final episode uses the recipe collection to represent the sometimes haphazard, but often meaningful associations created around our closest relationships with food.
- Under current U.S. copyright law, individual recipes are not protected, and cookbooks must prove a high standard of creativity and originality to gain protection. One can easily reproduce the measurements and ingredient lists of a single recipe without infringing upon intellectual property. However, if you can’t steal the narrative or anecdote surrounding the recipe without finding yourself in hot water.
- For more on the first “American cookbook,” read, “New Nation, New Cuisine: The First Cookbook To Tackle ‘American Food’” by Anne Bramley
- To learn more about Southern foodways, check out their alliance!
- How did the Baylor Cookbook Collection grow? Elizabeth White’s personal collection forms a significant portion of the volumes. She also generously began the Biscuits and Gravy Endowed Fund–a permanent endowment that provides funding for future purchases and preservation of the cookbook collection. For more, see “How your dusty cookbooks ended up in the archive of Baylor University”
- Interested in seeing some of these recipe collections in person? The Culinary Archive of Clements Library at the University of Michigan, the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the David Walker Lupton African-American Cookbook Collection at the University of Alabama, and Duke University’s Rubenstein Library are great archives!
- Learn more about Elizabeth White, a Texan-cookbook specialist, “Houston collector’s cookbooks reflect Texas communities” by Addie Broyles
- Read more about American food, or cake, history, by picking up Anne Byrn’s American Cake or listen to her interview with the fabulous ladies of Stuff You Missed in History Class
- Interested in learning more about African American cookbooks? Read The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin
- Toni Tipton-Martin discusses the “Jemima Code” on CBS Morning
- Want to learn more about the complicated history of black women in the South? See Mammy : a century of race, gender, and Southern memory by Kimberly Wallace-Sanders
- Get your copy of Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard, watch A Chef’s Life, and visit her restaurant Chef & The Farmer
- “It’s All About Me: Interview with A Chef’s Life Fav, Miss Lillie Hardy”
- Many people have a favorite cookbook. The AV Supper Club asks, “What’s the one cookbook you’d save from a burning kitchen?”
- Austin is a foodie town, but what did Austinites eat in the 19th century? Grab a copy of Austin’s First Cookbook to find out!
- Be sure to read Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865-1960 by Dr. Rebecca Sharpless
- Interested in learning how African Americans shaped the culinary history of the White House? Read Adrian Miller’s The President’s Kitchen Cabinet
- Check out the Grammarist’s rundown about the history between receipt and recipe.