The Secrets of Manuscript Cookbooks

Is that collection of scrappy notes and recipes in fact a golden treasure?

Written formulas for making particular dishes are almost as old as writing itself, and manuscript cookbooks — collections of handwritten culinary recipes — are rich academic resources as well as priceless personal treasures. 

Stephen Schmidt of the Manuscript Cookbooks Survey takes us into the world of manuscript cookbooks, to see what they can tell us about the history of Anglo-American cookery, and what they leave a mystery. Could these informal, handwritten collections in fact offer a better insight into historical diet, cooking methods, available ingredients, and taste preferences than their printed, professional equivalents?

Stephen Schmidt is the principal researcher and writer for the Manuscript Cookbooks Survey, a project to bring together a database of all pre-1865 English-language manuscript cookbooks held in US public institutions as well as the kitchen artefacts used at the time these manuscripts were written. Stephen has studied historical Anglo-American cooking for over 25 years and has published, spoken, and consulted extensively on the subject. He is the author of Master Recipes, a 940-page general-purpose cookbook, was a principal contributor to the 1997 and 2006 editions of Joy of Cooking. He also teaches cooking, tests and develops recipes, and consults on cookbook projects.

In partnership with the British Library     
Tickets: +44 (0)1937 546546

Monday, April 29, 2019 - 19:15
Knowledge Centre The British Library 96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB