This is part of our Take a Closer Look series. This regular feature offers a behind-the-scenes view of some of our hidden treasures in our library and what they reveal about our shared past.
Today's cook has many ways of finding a recipe—cookbooks, magazines, web sites, the Food Network. But not that long ago, cookbooks were scarce, and most recipes were not written down. By the twentieth century, there was a tremendous burst of interest in cooking as a variety of new processed foods became available. Food companies started publishing pamphlets advertising regional foods and equipment, with middle-class women as the target audience. From peanuts to cook stoves, companies used cookbooks to introduce and promote their products to consumers who came to appreciate the convenience of new products like packaged yeasts and baking powder.
Shown here are some examples of promotional "cookbooklets" that feature products from Virginia. These booklets are now considered a valuable source for the history of the cultural meaning and evolution of food preparation.
Are you interested in purchasing a cookbook from our museum shop? Shop Cookbooks Now!