Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Food History

At last year's AHA (American Historical Association) meeting, five sessions focused on the history of food, which the program noted "thus appears to be establishing itself as a major new subfield of historiography."

An excellent syllabus is available for a course on "American Food" being taught by Professor Elizabeth Engelhardt this fall in the American Studies department at the University of Texas at Austin. Food and foodways in the American South are often of particular interest; Jamene Brooks-Kieffer has posted an excellent research guide to sources for Southern foodways on the Kansas State University Libraries website.

My colleague Molly Molloy has created several wonderful research guides for PWR (Program in Writing and Rhetoric) classes dealing with food.

A number of libraries have digitized collections of historical cookbooks. The Michigan State University Library has created a wonderful site titled "Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project" which contains digitized historical cookbooks from their collections.

The New York Public Library has a wonderful culinary history collection , as does the Virginia Tech University Library.

Special Collections here in Green Library has a number of historical cookbooks. To browse them, try a combined search in SOCRATES using "cookery" and restricting the "Library" field to Special Collections.

Finally, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America is a valuable reference source, available online and in print in the Information Center's reference collection.