Finding L.A. in Food Splatters and Spiral Bindings

Three Centuries of Cookbooks from Clubs, Churches, and Other Groups Chronicle How the City Has Lived, Worked, and Eaten

This piece publishes alongside the Zócalo/LA Cocina de Gloria Molina/California Humanities program “Do We Need More Food Fights?” tomorrow, Thursday, September 14, at 7PM PDT. Register to attend online.

When I open an old cookbook, one of the first things I look for is a “splash page”—one covered with decades of food splatter. It’s a strong indication that the recipe on that page is a good one, well-loved, and often used. Drops of red sauce on yellowing paper become marginalia, a notation from readers past, …

How Recipe Cards and Cookbooks Fed a Mobile, Modernizing America

Scientific Methods and Rising Literacy Were Key Ingredients for a Culinary Revolution

The first edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book—now known as The Fannie Farmer Cookbook—reads like a road map for 20th-century American cuisine. Published in 1896, it was filled …