Saturday, September 20, 2008

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project

Feeding America Project
Logo courtesy of Feeding America

In keeping with tradition, my most recent return trip from Connecticut to New York included getting out of bed early and driving into work with my father so I could take the train into Grand Central. To keep myself occupied in the hour until my train departed, I wandered into the break room and picked up a very old issue (February 2005!) of Gourmet: The Magazine of Good Living. Score! As I was reading it, I stumbled across an advertisement for something that really piqued my interest.


Now, I know what you're going to say. "Michelle, why the heck are you blogging in 2008 about something that was published in 2005? You're three years late for the prom." My answer is simple: "Because I was interested in it, and I thought you would be, too." ;-)

The advertisement was for an online collection of American cookbooks dating from the late 18th century to the early 20th century called Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project. Authors featured in the collection include William Andrus Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott), Catherine Esther Beecher (sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe), and Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (author of the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and editor of Godey's Lady's Book). For anyone curious about recipes of that era, I think this collection is a tremendously valuable resource, and I highly encourage you to check it out. Especially if you're like me and are only just now learning about the project's existence!

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2 comments:

craftyangie said...

Oooh! sounds interesting! I hadn't heard of this either (but then the last three months of Gourmet have been sitting, unread, in the coffee table)

Sounds like a very cool project, if not for the cooking, definitely would give you an insight of how life was back then.

Michelle said...

Craftyangie, I think that's what drew me to look up the project's website when I had access to a computer. I loved knowing I could look up recipes that were en vogue during that period and get a sense of how life was back then. I think part of my interest in such things has something to do with the fact I've been watching too many PBS documentaries lately. (Thank you, Netflix!)