Abstract

Cookbooks as printed primary sources can provide insight for historians of rural America. The humble volumes carry important evidence about people's interactions with their environment and the society around them. Most are produced by women and thus offer significant messages about gender as well. Although most cookbooks came from cities, some do exist from rural areas. Analyzing their structure and content shows much about how rural housewives thought about food and about their communities. The Fannin County Home demonstration Club's Cook Book (1933) is an excellent example of a rural cookbook that can be parsed for evidence about life in Northeast Texas during the Great Depression.

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NOTES

1. For interpreting cookbooks, see, Anne L. Bower, ed.,
Recipes for Reading: Community Cookbooks, Stories, Histories
(
Amherst
:
University of Massachusetts Press
,
1997
); Janet Theophano,
Eat My Words: Reading Women's Lives through the Cookbooks They Wrote
(
New York
:
Palgrave
,
2002
); David A. Davis and Tara Powell, eds.,
Writing in the Kitchen: Essays on Southern Literature and Foodways
(
Jackson
:
university Press of Mississippi
,
2014
).
2. Gervase Markham,
Country Contentments, or The English Huswife
(
London
:
Hannah Sawbridge
,
1615
). An excellent example of a household book is Karen Hess, ed.,
Martha Washington 's Booke of Cookery
(
New York
:
Columbia University Press
,
1981
).
3. Eliza Smith,
The Compleat Housewife: Or, Accomplish'd Gentlewoman's Companion
(
Williamsburg
:
np
,
1742
); Amelia Simmons,
American Cookery, or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry
(
Hartford
:
simeon Butler, Northampton
,
1796
).
4. Lydia Maria Child,
The Frugal Housewife
, 27th ed. (
New York
:
Samuel S. and William Wood
,
1841
),
52
,
84
; Mary Randolph,
The Virginia Housewife: Or, Methodical Cook
(
Baltimore
:
John Plaskitt
,
1838
),
34
35
.
5. Margaret Cook,
America's Charitable Cooks: A Bibliography of Fund-raising Cook Books Published in the United States (1861–1915)
(
Kent
:
Cookery Bibliography
,
1971
), is an early checklist of community cookbooks.
6. Young People's Organization of the
Central Presbyterian Church
,
50 Selected Recipes by 50 Denton Women
(np: np, ca. 1925),
8
,
16
,
28
,
42
.
7. Second Presbyterian Church (Augusta, Ga.),
Choice Recipes of Georgia Housekeepers
(
New York
:
Trow's Printing
,
1880
),
iii
-
iv
. Unpublished personal recipe collections can also be extremely revealing. For a project documenting heavily used recipes (revealed by virtue of the stains on them), see, Dirty Pages: Nashville Women and the Recipes that tell their stories, http://www.dirtypages.org/ (accessed May 19, 2015).
8. Mrs. Peter A. White,
The Kentucky Housewife: A Collection of Recipes for Cooking
(
New York
:
Belford, Clarke
,
1885
);
Fullständigaste Svensk-Amerikansk Kokbok: The Swedish-English Cookbook
(
Chicago
:
Engberg-Holmberg
,
1897
).
9. Malinda Allison,
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book 1933
, https://www.flickr.com/photos/97263918@N04/sets/72157649994387631/ (accessed May 27, 2015);
Texas Almanac and State Industrial Guide 1933
(
Dallas
:
Dallas News
,
1933
),
52
,
57
,
140
,
338
, Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117159/ (accessed Oct. 1, 2015).
10.
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
51
,
52
.
11. Ibid.,
3
.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.,
25
28
.
14. See, for example,
The New Lucile Cookbook
(
New York
:
Acker, Merrall & Condit
,
1906
),
295
.
15.
“Fair Prizes,”
Bonham (Tex.) Daily Favorite
,
Sept.
29
,
1933
. Dennis won third prize for corn muffins at the Fannin County Fair.
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
79
.
16.
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
1
,
28
,
32
,
34
;
“Artifact of the Month Archives,”
Sam Rayburn House Museum
, www.visitsamrayburnhouse.com/index.aspx?page=896&recordid=66 (accessed May 27, 2015).
17.
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
14
,
24
.
18. Ibid.,
14
,
24
,
70
. An entry for Susan Knight Akard, born in Tennessee in 1862 and the wife of Eldredge Otto Akard, appears on the internet with the comment
“In 1930 Susan Akard was an active member of the Women's Home Demonstration Club in Augie, Fannin County, TX,”
Find a Grave
, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=50685847 (accessed May 29, 2015). Bacon fat is a common ingredient in Swedish-American gingersnap recipes.
19.
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
19
21
,
27
.
20. Ibid.,
26
,
48
,
58
,
68
,
73
75
,
77
. While cornmeal and masa harina are similar, masa is treated with lime or lye, a process known as nixtamalization, to free the niacin.
21. Fannie Farmer, of the Boston Cooking School, is generally acknowledged as the first cookbook author to separate ingredients from steps. See Fannie Farmer,
Boston Cooking-School Cook Book
(
Boston
:
Little, Brown
,
1896
). For a discussion of measurements, see, Alice Ross,
“Measurement,”
in
The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink
, ed. Andrew F. Smith (
New York
:
Oxford University Press
,
2007
),
374
75
.
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
41
.
22. Grey Osterud,
Putting the Barn before the House: Women and Family Farming in Early Twentieth-Century New York
(
Ithaca
:
Cornell University Press
,
2012
);
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
34
,
62
.
23.
Fannin County Home Demonstration Clubs' Cook Book
,
7
,
80
.
24.
Texas Almanac and Industrial Guide 1933
,
52
,
57
.