Some of the books in the Ann Hertzler Children’s Cookbook and Nutrition Literature Collection are stories, some are full of basic and simple recipes. Other items, like those we’re featuring this week, are about education. Jane Dale’s series of five books each focus on a key food group, contain lots of black and white photos, and are written in a simple, explanatory way. All five books were published around 1940 by the Artists and Writers Guild (Poughkeepsie, NY). They make heavy use of news outlet and USDA photographs.
The series consists of:
- Fruits and Vegetables: Their Kinds and Uses
- Meat: Flesh Foods from Farm, Range, and Sea
- Milk, Our First Food
- Sugar: Sweetening Foods from Many Plants
- Wheat for My Bread
Each book includes background on the food group and specific foods within the group. There is information about processes involved in getting foods from their original source to the table, too. The volume on wheat talks about planting and harvesting techniques, while the book on fruits and vegetables talks about farming and growing plants. Other volumes contain details on food technologies and processing: the book on meat has information about fishermen making nets and even skinning cattle at the stockyards; the book on sugar has details on how sugar cane is processed in a factory.
While some of the details may seem a bit–graphic (do we really want to SEE someone checking the viscera of sheep for disease?)–the history and facts Dale includes are wide-ranging and educational. Which is really the point, it seems. The series represented an opportunity to teach children about the foods they need to grow.
We were lucky enough to acquire these books as a set in April of this year. Although a number of other public and academic libraries have some holdings, we appear to be the only one with a full set. So, if you want to know what equipment might be in a small, local creamery or what a boat full of 40,000 sardines looks like, we might just be able to help.