Home Cooks and Cooking at Home

Most of the cookbooks in this exhibition feature an "expert" as the author, with this expertise being generated by the author's experience in cooking, whether from working for famous people, or by establishing a reputation through one's writing. Yet another kind of cookbook developed, one created by those presenting themselves distinctly not as experts, but rather as peers of the reader. Some of these works were commercially published, such as The Frugal American Housewife, but the most common expression of a cookbook made by peers is the recipe collection created by a community group or other local organization. The recipes contained in such works are submitted by the group's members, and each entry is signed, with members contributing their favorites. Often these collections are wonderful examples of regional cuisine, or provide examples of popular dishes of a given moment in time.

Also featured here is an example of an individual's recipe collection, familiar to most home cooks. This example dates from the nineteenth century, and features hand-written recipes in the notebook pages, as well as numerous loose pages and cards stuffed into the bound volume.

An old printed book cover.
A Way to Get Wealth, Containing the Sixe Principall Vocations or Callings, in Which Everie Good Husband or House-Wife May Lawfully Imploy Themselves

Gervase Markham (1568?-1637). London: By Nicholas Okes for John Harrison, 1631.
Rare Book Collection

An old printed book cover.
The Experienced American Housekeeper

Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell (1745-1828). New York: Johnstone & Van Norden, 1823.
John Crerar Collection of Rare Books in the History of Science and Medicine

A spotted book cover.
The American Frugal Housewife

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880). New York: Samuel S. & William Wood, 1838.
Helen and Ruth Regenstein Collection of Rare Books

A collection of handwritten notes and recipes.
American Recipes

American Recipes, Crerar Ms 109. Special Collections Research Center

A book cover with drawings of flowers.
Seven Days after the Honeymoon

Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1889.
Rare Book Collection

A printed book cover.
The Hyde Park Cuisine

Chicago: Published by the Women of the Hyde Park Baptist Church, 1900.
Archival Monographs Collection, Gift of Marion Talbot

A checkered book cover with the illustration of a bowl and various eating utensils.
Mrs. William Vaughn Moody's Cook-Book

Harriet C. Moody. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931.
Rare Book Collection, the Robert Rosenthal Fund for Special Collections

A book cover with the illustration of two women: one carrying books, the other, a cake.
At Home on the Range; or, What Librarians Cook

Chicago Public Library Staff Association

Chicago: Staff Association of the Chicago Public Library, 1946.
The John Crerar Library

A busy book cover displaying various foods: cheeses, breads, cakes, ice cream, etc.
Settlement Dough-Nations

University of Chicago Settlement League
Chicago: University of Chicago Settlement League, 1949.
Archival Monographs Collection

A book cover with the title in a fancy font.

Chicago: Biological Sciences Guild of the University of Chicago, 1969.
Archival Monographs Collection