A feature post is on the way this week, but in the meantime, here’s a local news story on one our favorite, jiggly topics: Jell-O! Check out this Roanoke Times article by Lindsey Nair.
All posts in category News
Posted by archivistkira on June 12, 2013
A quick plug: If you enjoy “What’s Cookin’ @ Special Collections?!” and would like to know more about Special Collections at Virginia Tech, we launched a new blog last month, “In Special Collections @Virginia Tech.” We’ll be sharing collections, books, and manuscripts from all of our collecting areas, as well as news, events, new acquisitions and newly processed manuscripts, projects, and more! You’ll hear from all of our archivists (including archivist/blogger/foodie Kira, writing about something other than food and drinks) on a variety of topics. And now, back to your regularly scheduled food history….
This week, we’re back to the Ann Hertzler Children’s Cookbook and Nutrition Literature Collection with Fun With Cooking from 1947. As the subtitle (Easy Recipes for Beginners) suggests, it’s about learning some basic recipes and techniques, and it’s very clearly aimed at girls.
From the introduction:
This cook book is for beginners. The recipes are interesting yet not difficult, and each step is carefully explained. The recipes are for things youngsters like to eat, so that the young cook can enjoy the results of her own work.
A girl who makes the things in this book, following carefully all instructions, gains enough experience to go on to more complicated dishes.
The recipes are prefaced by helpful hints and techniques like washing your hands well, reading a recipe before starting, and how to level measuring cups. The girl from the cover appears as a guide throughout the book, demonstrating steps from recipes (although in a few pictures, she looks less than pleased).
While the recipes may be none-too-exciting (the Tuna Casserole looks a little frightening and there is a reason the picture of the hamburgers is absent from this post), the concept is a good, common one. Learning the basics of preparing different types of foods–biscuits, cookies, cupcakes, vegetables, eggs, cooked fruits, and and even oddly-shaped salads–is a great place to start. One can create a LOT of variety from a solid foundation. Yet, it is also important to note that the author specifically included recipes for things children would want to eat and therefore be more likely to want to cook. Steaming Brussels sprouts might be a useful skill, but it could be a tough sell to a ten year old kitchen helper (and even some of us grown ups!).
Side note: Oddly-shaped salads, with or without the aid of gelatin, are not new to us on the blog. They were common courses in dinners beginning in the 1940s and through the next few decades. It’s hardly surprising that this book introduces the concept via the “Candlestick Salad” (half a banana upright in a pineapple right, with an almond “flame” and a “Mickey Mouse Salad” that should appeal to kids (but looks remarkably unlike the familiar character). Still, these basic versions of shaped salads do encourage kids to eat some healthy fruits and veggies.
Mae Blacker Freeman co-authored a whole series of “Fun with” books with her husband, Ira Freeman, on topics from dance to chemistry. Outside of the series, she wrote other books for children on an equally wide range of subjects–Albert Einstein, gravity, using cameras, and history, to name a few. Many were even translated into German! And that can serve as a good reminder for us–culinary history isn’t “just” culinary history. It exists in a larger context, whether that means within the whole body of an author’s works or the part that food & drinks play in the social history of people. If Fun with Chemistry, for example, can eclipse language barriers, think about the barriers a good recipe can transcend…
Posted by archivistkira on February 6, 2013
We’re playing catch up the first day back in Special Collections after a long holiday, so we don’t have a feature this week. However, in the spirit of our cocktail exhibits and posts about entertaining guests the last few weeks, here’s a great interview/story from NPR about the revival of cocktail culture and some returning cocktails: http://www.npr.org/2012/12/27/167739455/shake-it-up-vintage-cocktails-are-ripe-for-revival.
Posted by archivistkira on January 2, 2013
Thanks to the help of a dedicated library Communications/PR person, “What’s Cookin’ @Special Collections?!?” has made the Virginia Tech Daily News! The article was emailed to faculty and staff, and was posted on the VT News website. You can check out the press release here: http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2012/11/112012-univlib-foodblog.html. There’s a little about the collection, a little about my (archivist/blogger Kira, as always) philosophies on collecting food-related materials, and a lot about the blog.
A big thanks to those of you who are long-time readers and welcome to our newcomers! (I hope this brings us in some new readers, at any rate!) I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I love writing it!
Posted by archivistkira on November 20, 2012
And if you’re interested in community or organization cookbooks from Virginia, you should come by. We have lots and we’re happy to give you a peek!
Posted by archivistkira on July 20, 2012
This spring, Newman Library at Virginia Tech is hosting what we hope will became an annual event: an Edible Book Contest! The First Annual Edible Book Contest will be held on Friday, March 30, 2012, from 2-4pm in Torgersen 1100 and we need your help!
If you like food and books, we have a challenge for you! The Edible Book Contest is a chance to represent, make fun of, interpret, or just share you favorite (or least favorite) book with edible ingredients. Looking for a visual example? Photographs from the Newman Library pilot project, held in July 2011, are online. (Also, you can find all kinds of examples on the web–these are popular events!)
Below is the flyer for our contest (click on the image for a larger view). Additional information, including rules and the registration, can be found on the contest website: http://tinyurl.com/VTEdibleBooks2012. We only have space for 50 entries, so sign up soon! And even if you don’t want to make something, be sure to join us on March 30. Winners in six different categories will be chosen by attendees and our Edible Book artists want your vote!
Posted by archivistkira on February 21, 2012
Just a friendly reminder, Special Collections will be hosting its first of four Open House events tomorrow, Tuesday, February 7th, from 5:30-7:30pm. Feel free to come by and learn about the kinds of materials we have here (including the Culinary History Collection), take a tour, or ask an archivist a question! See our flyer for more information! And here are a few photos as a teaser…
Posted by archivistkira on February 6, 2012
We’re trying something new this semester at Special Collections. Since it indirectly relates to the Culinary History Collection, I hope you’ll excuse a slight diversion…
In order to give everyone an opportunity to learn just what goes on here, we’re hosting a series of open house events! This is a great chance to come in, see some materials in a variety of formats and relating to all our different collecting areas (including culinary history, of course!), take a behind-the-scenes tour, or just meet an archivist and ask questions!
We will have four open houses this semester, on the first Tuesday of each month, from 5:30pm-7:30pm. The dates are February 7, March 6, April 3, and May 1. We invite you to drop in for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or the whole two hours! You can view the Open House Flyer or contact us for more information.
Be sure to drop by and spread the word!
Posted by archivistkira on January 19, 2012