Meal Prep, Service, and…Design?

A title like How to Prepare and Serve a Meal: Interior Decoration had to catch our attention. After all, it’s food history related. But, in case you didn’t know, we are also the home to the International Archive of Women in Architecture. This group of manuscript collections and publications helps to document a field that wasn’t widely open to women until the last 40 years or so. You can read more about it here: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/iawa/. That being said, you can imagine how a book that combines these two areas might be of some interest to Special Collections. Written by Lillian B. Lansdown around 1922, this a household guide on two related subjects.

What’s interesting is that this publication almost feels like two books. There isn’t a real transition from the topic of meal planning to interior decoration, just the start of a new chapter. The decoration section is significantly smaller, and one wonders if it was sort of tacked on (perhaps it was too short a section to stand on its own?). It is cataloged as a culinary item, as opposed to a design one.

At the same time, this combination makes perfect sense for the time period. Both the kitchen and the home (management, order, and design) were considered part of the woman’s domestic sphere. I would guess we have more manuals like this on our shelves (and I know some of the large household management guides cover these and other topics), so I’ll be keeping an eye out for similar pieces in the future. They’re chock full of little lessons.

Happy meal planning and home decorating! Just remember: For afternoon teas, never use paper doilies (unless you have more than 100 visiting); Broken lines aren’t shouldn’t be part of permanent fixtures in a room; and drinking liquors in 1922 wasn’t illegal (so long as you found a way to legally obtain it…)

Upcoming Event!

Just a quick second reminder about the upcoming event in Roanoke on September 5th! There’s still time to register  for “Bear Meat Picnics & Whistlepig Pie: Food and Tradition in Appalachia” (registration is due by September 1st).


Hello all! If you’re in the Roanoke area, you’ll probably want to know about an upcoming event! On September 5, 2014, the Peacock Harper Culinary Friends will be hosting a lunch and program: “Bear Meat Picnics & Whistlepig Pie: Food and Tradition in Appalachia.” It will be held at the Roanoke Country Club from 11:30-1:30. Please note that you need to register for this event in advance (registration form is below the flyer).

Sept. 5 flyer

Below are pdf versions of the flyer and registration form for downloading and printing:

September 5 Event Flyer
September 5 Registration Form

New Pamphlet Round Up!

We’re revving up for the new school year here at Virginia Tech, so it seems like a good time for pamphlet round up this week. There are always lots of new items to share, but we haven’t had a large collection pamphlets lately. It makes selection a little easier, though not by much. So many great recipes!

Selected Banana Recipes for Appetizing and Nutritious Dishes

Selected Banana Recipes for Appetizing and Nutritious Dishes, 1923

Selected Banana Recipes for Appetizing and Nutritious Dishes

Selected Banana Recipes for Appetizing and Nutritious Dishes, 1923

So, the thing about bananas is that they seem to have almost too many uses. Baked, fried, or sliced? Breads, pies, puddings, and salads? Okay! Pickled, hashed, or used as stuffing? Ummm, perhaps not this time.

Wartime Recipes That Taste Good (Sun-Maid Raisins)

Wartime Recipes That Taste Good (Sun-Maid Raisins), c.1941-1945

Wartime Recipes That Taste Good (Sun-Maid Raisins)

Wartime Recipes That Taste Good (Sun-Maid Raisins), c.1941-1945

From bananas to raisins, it’s a logical leap, right? The raisins in this pamphlet hit every course, from breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. The wartime nature of the publication, as any of our readers know, means we should be prepared for anything. Like using raisins as a filler in meat loaf or the creation of “Raisin Spaghetti Ring.”

Adventures in Herb Vinegars, 1944

Adventures in Herb Vinegars, 1944

Adventures in Herb Vinegars, 1944

Adventures in Herb Vinegars, 1944

“Adventure” isn’t generally a word one might use in conjunction with food. Well, unless you’re taking on the challenge of preparing certain mid-20th century dishes containing words like “surprise” or “piquant.” Flavored vinegars (and oils) are a great ingredient to cook with though. This adventure turns out a bit less frightening than expected, at least on the page. (No strange vinegary desserts in sight!)

Dressy Dishes from Your Victory Garden, 1945

Dressy Dishes from Your Victory Garden, 1945

 

Dressy Dishes from Your Victory Garden, 1945

Dressy Dishes from Your Victory Garden, 1945

(I promise, I didn’t actually intentionally select mostly World War II era items today! But they are so much fun!) We’ll finish up with a veggie-based booklet. You can do a great deal with vegetables, which isn’t surprising. (Much like bananas, apparently?) Recipes in this publication have them in jams, butters, pickles/slaws, salads, sweet and savory pies, and cakes, in addition to as main dishes. There are even potato doughnuts, stuffed and baked cucumbers, and chocolate potato cake!

So, if you’re feeling selective, victorious, adventurous, or dressy this weekend and looking for a recipe to try, you might just look back. Historical recipes aren’t just for reading and research. They might just be worth a nibble, too.

Upcoming Event in Bedford!

This week I received a note and a request to share the flyer below. The historic Avenel house in Bedford (http://www.historicavenel.com/Home.htm) will be hosting a dinner featuring recipes from Nancy Carter Crump’s Hearthside Cooking and a presentation about cooking in Virginia. The dinner is on September 6th, so you’ll want to act fast. Contact info and purchase information is on the bottom of the flyer.

Food & Drink Poster

Excuses, Excuses (Or, Why This Week’s Post is Short)

Most of our staff is out this week at the annual conference for our archives-oriented professional society, including your usual blogger, Kira (me!). I’m off “researching” food and drink one of my favorite cities (my custom google map has more places that I can eat/drink in a month, let alone in 4 days!) and discussing all things archival. Procrastinator that I can sometimes be, I wasn’t able to draft a full feature before leaving Blacksburg.

However, I can’t bring myself to skip a week. We’re coming up on the three year anniversary of “What’s Cookin’ @Special Collections!?” More on that in September. In the meantime, here’s one of the items that started the whole blog in motion (and serves as part of our header):

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This c.1880s handwritten 8 page manuscript is a copy of a late 19th century extended metaphor. It talks about the best way to find and care for a husband. I’ve written about it before on Special Collections’ other blog here (which includes a full transcript): http://vtspecialcollections.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/how-to-cook-a-husband/. You can also view the finding aid for the collection here: http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vt/viblbv00731.xml.

Happy cooking until next week!

 

Instruction, Reference, and the History of Food & Drink Collection

If it isn’t clear by now, there’s a lot I love about the History of Food and Drink Collection. In the last year, however, I’ve been especially excited about some emerging instruction opportunities. During the 2013-2014 academic year, I taught sessions that were both an introduction to Special Collections and an introduction to the History of Food and Drink Collection. One was a course on Food and Literature (we had two sections come to visit us, one in the fall and one in the spring). The other was a history seminar for undergraduates taught by Mark Barrow, Food in American History. It’s the latter I want to talk about today, because the work of students in that course led to a new acquisition for the collection.

Front cover of the collection of undergraduate student essays from HIST4004: Food in American History

Front cover of the collection of undergraduate student essays from HIST4004: Food in American History

Each student in the course wrote a paper on a topic of interest to them (relating to food in America, of course!). Over the spring semester, I was lucky enough to work with many of these students, whether it was helping them find an item for a blog post or helping with research for their paper. Each student kept a blog and all the blogs were consolidated into a single source. You can read that “mother blog” here: http://blogs.lt.vt.edu/foodhistory.

I’ve opted not to scan and share the essays themselves for a variety of reasons. I didn’t want to do so without permission, and several of the students have graduated already, making them tricky to track down. Also, I don’t think there’s an easy way to pick any one or two above the others. As you’ll see from the table of contents below, these students covered a variety of food topics relating to business, history, technology, legislation, and health. Their creativity and ideas were eye-0pening for me. As always, it was a great experience, too, because it meant I discovered new resources to help answer new questions.

There will be two cataloged copies of this publication soon, one in Special Collections and one in the circulating collection. So, whether you come here and visit us, or check out the other copy, I hope you find something to suit your taste. I know I did. :)

Upcoming Event!

Hello all! If you’re in the Roanoke area, you’ll probably want to know about an upcoming event! On September 5, 2014, the Peacock Harper Culinary Friends will be hosting a lunch and program: “Bear Meat Picnics & Whistlepig Pie: Food and Tradition in Appalachia.” It will be held at the Roanoke Country Club from 11:30-1:30. Please note that you need to register for this event in advance (registration form is below the flyer).

Sept. 5 flyer

Below are pdf versions of the flyer and registration form for downloading and printing:

September 5 Event Flyer
September 5 Registration Form

Demystifying the Art of Carving?

This week, I stumbled across a c.1900 and a 1945 pamphlet that having something in common: Carving. The first, How to Carve, is part of larger item that seems to have been bound together at one time. We only have the sections on carving, serving dinner, and brewing beer, interestingly enough. The second booklet, Edward Arnold Shows You How to Carve, published almost half a century latter, represents what I would argue is the precursor to the modern infomercial. Edward Arnold uses knives made by the company sponsoring the pamphlet to share his carving trick with us!

Although there’s a lack of color in this one, there is no lack of illustrations (I’ve spared you some of them, but if you’re interested in tongues, eyes, and some other parts, you can see the full version of this online, courtesy of the Internet Archive). I do think there’s a surprising amount of detail and diversity of meats in this example, even if it’s a bit straightforward. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a little flash and style, we can help there, too. Just combine one part film star and one part Flint Hollow Ground Cutlery!

There’s a bit less detail in this 20 page booklet, but it does have illustrations with carving in action. It also offers suggestions for the tools needed, depending on what you might be carving. It doesn’t cover the same variety (no tongue, pigeon, or hare here), but at least some of skills should translate to a different animal. I do love the advertisements. A publication like this puts us back in familiar territory on the blog: sponsorship by a company. In the past, we’ve seen some items that was were authored by celebrities in the culinary world, but I think this may be the first time we’ve looked at something by a celebrity in the Hollywood world. (Now I’m curious, so I’ll have to hit the stacks and see what other celebrity cookbooks we have!)

At any rate, if you’re staring at that roast (or maybe a grilled steak?), just wondering what to do, we might just be able to help. Carving directions aren’t limited to pamphlets on the topic. We have shelves of cookbooks with more advice!

Cora Bolton McBryde’s Cookbook

Some of our readers may know (and some of you may not) that Special Collections has a second blog. Launched in January 2014, it highlights materials from all of our collecting areas and features contributions from all our staff. Last week, our university archivist wrote a post about a handwritten cookbook we acquired last year. It was kept by Cora Bolton McBryde, the wife of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College president (from 1891-1907), John McLaren McBryde. It’s a very interesting piece of university history AND food history. So this week, our feature comes from our other blog. You can read about the cookbook, its preservation, and a little about the McBrydes here: http://vtspecialcollections.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/cooking-for-the-president-cora-bolton-mcbrydes-cookbook/. Enjoy!

Celebrating the Food Encyclopedia

July is, among other things, National Culinary Arts Month* ! So, I thought we might look at some culinary arts reference books in the History of Food and Drink Collection–namely, some encyclopedias. They are from the more modern parts of the collection in terms of publication dates, but they represent hundreds of years of culinary arts history. So, it all works out in the end, right? :)

First up, The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink from 1999.

Next, The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, 2003.

And last, but certainly not least, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, 2013. (We also have the 2004 edition of this awesome set, which was issued in 2 volumes. It’s now up to 3!)

As you might notice, none of these volumes cover topics in quite the same way. The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink includes hundreds of recipes scattered among its pages. The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture takes a broad, global look at food and its connection to general culture. And The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America focuses on food/drink items, technology, history, advertising, and more. These approaches are a good thing that reflect the multiple approaches many scholars take to doing research. Some are more comprehensive that others, but they all offer different perspectives on the foods and food cultures that play such important roles in our lives.


July is also National Baked Bean Month, National Bison Month, National Grilling Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National July Belongs to Blueberries Month, and National Picnic Month. July 18 is also National Cavier Day. I promise, I don’t make these things up! There are SOOOO many fun food holidays to know about!

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