Cookbook Collection Proves We Are What We Eat

The University of Michigan’s Clements Library is soon to be the home of a broad collection of American cookbooks and historical recipes, thanks to the donations of an Ann Arbor (MI) couple, Jan and Daniel Longone. Story from MLive .

Their donation includes the very first American cookbook, published in 1796. Other items, from the 16th to the 20th centuries, include magazines, menus and pamphlets, including materials from their friend Julia Child. According to the article, “They’re more than just curiosities; they’ll tell inquiring scholars what Americans ate, of course. But they’re also a reflection of the big changes that occurred in the country”.

The Longones developed their interest in American culinary arts in particular when they taught at Oxford University, and their British students commented “‘America doesn’t have any cookery, what are you going to speak about?'” That encouraged their professor to really approach the subject of American cooking and eating intensively and systematically.