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Books on cookery and food culture

The Special Collections cookbook collection includes several thousand volumes published in Europe and the United States over the past 500 years. These include books on cooking, winemaking and distilling from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and books on dining and household management from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Materials documenting American food culture are wide ranging and include cookbooks, etiquette manuals, architectural handbooks, periodicals, diaries, manuscript recipe books, menus, trade catalogs, and guidebooks. Of particular significance are a copy of Amelia Simmons' American Cookery, the first cookbook published in North America in 1796 and an elegantly bound manuscript 1730 cookery book owned by Mary Baker.

More modern works are also in the collection, including many Delaware cookbooks published by local churches, schools and organizations. These contain historical information and photographs documenting structures and companies that may no longer exist.

University of Delaware classes in anthropology, history and material culture make use of the resources. The classes often include freshmen and sophomores who are visiting Special Collections for the first time.

Recipe book of Mary Baker
Recipe book of Mary
Baker, circa 1730.
Recipe book of Mary Baker
Recipe book of Mary Baker, circa 1730.
  • Koch vnd Kellerei von allenn Speisen vnd Geträncken. Zu Franckfurt am Meyn: Bei Christian Egenolff, Im Jenner, anno 1537.
  • Richard Briggs.
    The New Art of Cookery, According to the Present Practice. Philadelphia: Printed for W. Spotswood, R. Campbell, and E. Johnson. 1792.
  • Amelia Simmons.
    American Cookery. Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1796.
  • Manuscript recipe book of Mary Baker, circa 1730.
  • Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1857-1915.
    The Boston Cooking-school Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1896.
  • George Washington Carver, 1864?-1943.
    How to Make Sweet potato flour, Starch, Sugar bread and Mock cocoanut. Tuskegee, Ala: Experiment Station, Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, 1918.
  • Trinity Parish Cook Book: Choice and Tested Recipes Contributed by the Ladies of Trinity Church, ed. and pub. by the Ladies Parish Aid Society. Wilmington, Del: J.M. Rogers' Press, 1892.

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