Cookbook Analysis Guide

  • Take a modern cookbook published recently or find a historic cookbook from here

Main objectives

  • Describe what your cookbook tells us about American Culture/Food/Cuisine
  • Apply the readings and our discussion to your analysis of the cookbooks

Questions to ask your cookbook

  • What kind of assumptions does the author(s) make about cooking/cuisine/food?
  • Is there a moral or political nutritional agenda baked into it?
  • Who is the intended audience? What should they know? What should they care about?
  • What kind of language (commands, narrative, etc) does the cookbook use?
  • What kind of larger themes do the cookbooks appeal to (exotic, health, comfort, regional, national, hipster, classic, etc)?
  • What are the various “national” or “ethnic” influences?
  • Do you get a sense of where the recipes came from? (aside: does this class help?)
  • What kinds of ingredients and recipes appear? What does NOT appear that you might have expected?
  • How much does history or tradition matter to the recipes?
  • What do the cookbooks say about “American Food”?

Pro Tip

  • You are being evaluated on the quality/depth of your ANALYSIS (based on class readings and discussion), NOT DESCRIPTION.