This post was written by Shelly Salo, Outreach and Instruction Librarian at The Texas Collection
I started working as the Outreach and Instruction Librarian at the Texas Collection in July. From the start, one of the collections that I was most looking forward to working with is our cookbook collection. It consists of over 9,000 cookbooks from all corners of Texas, dating from the nineteenth century to today. Recently, I had the opportunity to explore our cookbooks from 1923 for a back-to-school event held on the Quadrangle outside Carroll Library, home of The Texas Collection.
I selected two cookbooks for the occasion: “LaGrange Cook Book,” from the lady readers of the LaGrange Journal, and “Cook Book,” from the Ladies’ Aid of the First Christian Church of Lubbock, Texas. Many cookbooks from the twentieth century were written communally by women’s groups like these, and you will find more in our collection. This blog post from JSTOR Daily goes into detail about these types of cookbooks and links to other interesting resources on the topic.
Our special events coordinator Alexis sent my chosen recipes to local baking company Baked Bliss. They tested the original recipes and adjusted them for modern kitchens and palates. For instance, the 1923 recipes lack specific details on oven temperatures and baking times. Additionally, none of the original recipes call for salt. According to a 2017 Bon Appétit article, modern bakers can feel free to double the amount of salt in vintage dessert recipes to balance and enhance their flavor.
The Centennial Cookies event was a great success, and we hope to hold similar events in the future. Stay on the lookout for more centennial celebrations with the Texas Collection!
Cook Book. Lubbock, Texas: [publisher not identified], 1923.
Harigel, B. F. LaGrange Cook Book. LaGrange, Texas: Mrs. B.F. Harigel, 1923.
Jackson, Ashawnta. “Community Cookbooks and the Women Who Wrote Them.” JSTOR, 2021, https://daily.jstor.org/community-cookbooks-and-the-women-who-wrote-them/ Accessed September 21, 2023.
Whitney, Alyse. “Why Every Dessert Needs Salt.” Bon Appétit, 2017, https://www.bonappetit.com/story/why-every-dessert-needs-salt Accessed September 21, 2023.