The American Cookbook

A History

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About the Book

When colonists arrived in America, their knowledge of cooking sometimes had little in common with available ingredients. Eventually they adapted recipes from the old country for use with native foods and cooking methods. The resulting infusion nourished an enthusiasm for cookbooks, as cooks from all walks of life recorded and exchanged old and new recipes.
This book serves up the American cookbook as a tasty sampler of history, geography and culture, revealing the influence of political events (e.g. wartime rationing), social movements (temperance), and technological change (new packaging and cooking methods). Skimming antiquity, the author whisks us through history to the first American cookbook, published by Amelia Simmons in 1796. Next she examines the cookbook revolution of the 1800s that was sparked by vigilant interest in household management and fueled by professionals and cooking schools. She heralds the charity and community cookbook, which has roots in the Civil War and thrives today. Regional and ethnic cookbooks merit discussion in their own chapter, which is followed by consideration of themes, product promotion, special collections and unusual formats. Cookbook aficionados will find familiar titles in the final chapter, “Most Influential Cookbooks of the Twentieth Century.” Multiple bibliographies list notable American cookbooks, product cookbooks and booklets, alternative format cookbooks, and culinary books (books about food), as well as the author’s research sources. A selected list of libraries and archives with significant cookbook and culinary collections is included, and a unique appendix reprints selected pie recipes from American cookbooks published from 1796 through 2000, demonstrating an evolving recipe format.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Writer Carol Fisher is a former teacher and lives in Kennett, Missouri.

Bibliographic Details

Carol Fisher
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 270
Bibliographic Info: 152 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2342-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Introduction      1

1. The Beginning of the Great American Recipe Exchange      3
2. Cookbooks in the Colonies: English Cookbooks and Amelia Simmons      6
3. Voices from the Kitchen: Leaders of the Nineteenth Century Cookbook Revolution      17
4. Authors and Cooking School Teachers Join the Ranks      34
5. America’s Favorite: The Charity-Community Cookbook      56
6. America’s Cultural Stew: Regional and Ethnic Cookbooks      75
7. Health and Nutrition Cookbooks in America      109
8. Cookbooks Galore: Promotional/Advertising Cookbooks and Cookbooklets      126
9. USDA Cookbooks      152
10. Cookbooks for Special Audiences      157
11. Chef and Restaurant Cookbooks      177
12. Alternative Format Cookbooks      188
13. Revisiting the Twentieth Century: Cookbook Pot Luck      194
14. Most Influential Cookbooks of the Twentieth Century      213

Appendix: A Sampler of Pie Recipes from America’s Cookbooks      223
Bibliography      229
Index      253

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Walter Williams Award—Missouri Writers’ Guild
“fascinating…recommended for all libraries”—Library Journal; “interesting…recommended”—Choice; “welcome…a ‘must’…lively read”—Midwest Book Review; “a well-researched history…stories… are fascinating”—Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley; “thorough”—The Oakland Press.