Monday, April 20, 2009

Texans -- We Need Your Old Cookbooks

If you have a cookbook with a Texas theme that is getting dusty and moldy on your shelf, let us know. The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is seeking cookbooks from Texas to boost its holdings of books from the Lone Star State.
We estimate that the museum has only 20 to 30 cookbooks pertaining to Texas cuisine and that’s just not enough. Most focus on barbeque or Tex-Mex cuisine.
We also know there are at least 1,000 books that focus on Texas cuisine because the Texas Collection at Baylor University's Carroll Library has at least that many, some going back to the late 19th century.

Texas has a deep and rich culinary history. Each of the five regions of Texas was settled by pioneers from different parts of the United States and Europe. Each had different food heritages. The French, Native Americans, Spanish, Mexicans, and Germans influenced the culture and cuisine of Texas. They adapted their recipes to include local ingredients and cooking facilities.

The museum seeks a variety of cookbooks:
• Restaurant cookbooks and cookbooks created by celebrity chefs;
• Junior League cookbooks;
• Community cookbooks – the inexpensively produced, spiral-bound cookbooks that frequently are created as fundraisers for churches or schools;
• Cookbooks produced by churches, civic groups, public schools, universities, women’s groups or other cultural groups; and
• Specialty cookbooks. For example, a great book that was produced recently is the Texas Judicial Cookbook, a compilation of 59 recipes from residing and former judges and other state and county officials. It’s a tribute to Texas' county courthouses. That’s the kind of book we’re looking for.

Cookbooks are historical documents that provide important information to scholars, researchers, culinary professionals and foodies. Hefty hardbound books or small spiral-bound versions to benefit churches or schools. Filled with recipes from famous chefs or the ladies from around the corner. Seafood, fried food, casseroles, appetizers to desserts. They are all of value to us.