Illustrate and explain how have cookbooks represented cultural values and how have they been used to construct particular identities. BE SURE to use examples from early cookbooks!
Pick TWO books from this collection, and make sure they are BEFORE 1880. After that, there tends to be more variety than we are prepared to deal with. Spending a few minutes finding books that you actually find interesting (and have something to say about) makes the assignment MUCH easier and more effective as a learning exercise. Click the “Full View” link to actually see the cookbook; if it doesn’t work for some reason, just choose another one.
Your job is to compare the cookbooks in terms of what they discuss, what they don’t, tone, style, ingredients, recipes, overall content (many of these books are about way more than cooking).
DO NOT SUMMARIZE EACH BOOK! The point of the exercise here is to find and explain similarities and differences between the books.
The fun part is READING BETWEEN THE LINES to learn about American culture and cuisine from the cookbooks. For each book consider:
What are the various “national” or “ethnic” influences of the recipes or instructions?
As with reading reflection prompts, you might find it more interesting/useful to spend more time on some questions over others depending on the kind of cookbooks you have. So don’t feel like you need to address each one explicitly, but you should try to address them as a set of questions as best you can.
Any time you refer to a specific quote or idea from a specific should a have parenthetical page reference so that a reader can look it up to better understand the context. These also show the reader (and graders, in our case) HOW you are using the book in your analysis. For example: The author claims that all meat should be cooked until well done (13).
Writing is hard enough, and virtually impossible when you’re not sure what you’re trying to do. Please get in touch with questions!