Cookbooks, The Accidental Artifacts

Jul 1, 2015

The first community cookbook was published by Maria J. Moss in 1864 to raise funds for Union soldiers injured during the Civil War. Over the following centuries, thousands of other communities followed in her footsteps and used cookbooks as a way to raise money, share a particular message, and communicate peer-to-peer with others in their community.

A new exhibit at the North Carolina Collection Gallery at UNC-Chapel Hill looks at what the 900 cookbooks at UNC's Wilson Library illuminate about community history, the changing roles of women, perceptions of health, and the changing racial and ethnic landscape in North Carolina. 

Host Frank Stasio is joined by exhibit curator Alison Barnett, Business Services Coordinator for the North Carolina Collection; food writer and author Sheri Castle who wrote "The Southern Living Community Cookbook: Celebrating Food And Fellowship In The American South" (Oxmoor House/2014); and Sandra Gutierrez, a food writer and cookbook author who explores the marriage of Southern and Latin cuisine, including "The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South" (UNC Press/ 2011).