May 23: Excursion to Sally and John Waltz's farm near Smithsburg, MD
CHoW member Marnie Keller, who is with Wimmer Cookbooks, talked about the history of community cookbook publication, and her remarks are included at the end of this issue. There was the usual wonderful array of tasty foods at our annual cooperative dinner, each having been prepared from a recipe in a community cookbook. The foods we enjoyed, the sources of their recipes, and the members who brought them were:
Vanilla Wafers, Friendly Favorites (AFSC, 1952) - donor unlisted
Chocolate Pecan Refrigerator Pie, Baptist Church Cookbook (Munfordville, KY, 1950) Bettye Robertson
Mango Lassi, Bannockbake (Bannockburn Elementary School, Bethesda) Claudia Kousoulas
Soda Cracker Pie, Neighboring on the Air (Evelyn Birkby) Dianne King
Charleston Poppyseed Cake, Charleston Receipts CiCi Williamson
Schwartzbrot, Food and Customs of the Black Sea Germans (1988) Sophie Frederickson
Cajun Crawfish Cornbread, Gateway!New Orleans Kristen Donnelly
Pink Stuff, The Authorized Texas Ranger Cookbook (Johnny Harris, Hamilton, TX 1994) Bryna Freyer
Hummingbird Cake, A Heritage of Good Tastes (Old Town Alexandria VA) Kari Barrett
Csoroge, Our Heritage (Hungarian Women's Club, Ellwood City, PA) Debbie and Jack Warner
Cream Cheese Spread, Charleston Receipts (Junior League of Charleston 1950) Kay Nelson
Teatime Tassies, Virginia Hospitality (Junior League of Hampton Roads) Jane Mengenhauser
Grape Salad, What Can I Bring? (Junior League of Northern Virginia) Amy Snyder
Double Chocolate Miniature Cupcakes, Composition for Cooking, Opus II (Madison Symphony Orchestra League, 1980) Felice Caspar
Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad, Maryland 4-H Cookbook Vicki Pierson
Artichoke Dip and Marinated Asparagus, Memphis in May International Festival Cookbook Nancy Higgins
Wine Jelly Dessert, The National Symphony Orchestra Cookbook Elisabeth Castleman
Marinated Chicken Wings, Northwest Federation Rock Hounds' Cookbook Bruce and Cathy Gaber
Carrot Cake, Political Potluck (Outagamie[WI] County Democratic Women, 1965) Shirley Cherkasky
Baked Chicken Pot Pie, The Best of Cooking (Sabillasville, MD) Sally and John Waltz
Eggplant Casserole, SMS Cookbook (St. Margaret's School) Katherine Livingston
Sesame Noodles, Feeding Ourselves: A Community Cookbook (Takoma Park/Silver Spring Co-Op) Jill Sandor
Hot Roasted Pecans, Cooking in the Spirit (United Church of Christ, Annapolis) Debbie and Jack Warner
Cocobana Bars, We Cook in Caracas (1944) Zina Pisarko
The Advisory Committee for the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Collection has been acquiring special books for the collection, which is housed in Special Collections in Newman Library at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The Committee also has established two endowed scholarships for students interested in using the Collection in their studies. An online newsletter, "Culinary Thymes," is available at http://spec.lib.vt.edu/culinary/CulinaryThymes.
April 25-27: "Eating as a Moral Act: Ethics and Power rom Agrarianism to Consumerism," a symposium organized by the Office of Sustainability Programs of the University of New Hampshire, will explore the connections among eating, ethics, and the ability of citizens and communities to shape a sustainable food system through their food choices. For registration information: www.sustainableunh.unh.edu/fas/eating_moral_act.html; El Farrell, email@example.com; (603) 862-5040.
Wimmer Background Wimmer began in 1946 and has become a leader in the field of self-publishing. Built on a foundation of community cookbooks, Wimmer has helped thousands of nonprofit organizations, individuals, and corporations capture favorite recipes, stories, and memories in one of the most authentically American book forms. The fund raiser cookbook would not be the success it is today without the innovation and vision of Wimmer Cookbooks' employees and publishers.
Why Do A Community Cookbook?
Past The earliest community cookbooks began during the Civil War as fund raisers for medical units on both sides of the conflict. They were small and simple but it didn't take long for women to see they could adapt this form of book and use it for fund raising for other purposes. The size and complexity of these books grew quickly with illustrations, household hints, government facts, and domestic guidelines for manners, axioms, prayers, etc.
Present Cookbooks in general have evolved into a cultural icon all their own, and community cookbooks are no exception. They are now as sophisticated as any trade published book. Artfully designed, with sidebars explaining food technique tips or sharing stories related to the theme of the book, they are considerably more than a list of ingredients and instructions. With the explosion of television cooking shows and culinary personalities, Americans continue to beat records annually in buying cookbooks. Nonprofits now employ sophisticated marketing techniques: sponsorship from corporate entities, promoting to cooking stores such as Sur La Table, and distribution in major book chains. End users are grateful to have such a nice token in exchange for making a contribution to a worthy cause.
Market sectors include (but are not limited to): Junior Leagues/women's groups; schools; religious organizations; philanthropic groups (museums, symphonies, etc); hospitals and health nonprofits (raising funds for the cure of a disease); any group trying to raise money or tell its story through food.
Future We see trends were community cookbooks will continue to be produced with a high-end appeal with color pages, more elaborate binding, etc. We also see a surge in cookbooks manufactured through Internet publishing and print-on-demand technology (digitally printed copies). Web sites (such as ours due to launch this spring -- www.cookbooksondemand.com) can harness the power of a database in allowing customers to key in recipe ingredients and instructions, select the graphics they want, choose the print run (one copy to limitless), and five days later get their completed cookbooks in the mail. This advance in capabilities will allow more groups than ever before to produce a keepsake cookbook, particularly for young people today who are very attuned to Internet functionality and commerce.
As long as there are food lovers and groups of people, it's safe to say that there will always be community cookbooks around to tell their stories and celebrate their love of food!