Monday, May 11, 2009

My Personal Stash

So here's a little bit about my methodology. I go to the local university libraries and peruse any diary I can find. Sometimes I get lucky and find a woman's diary that talks a lot about what she ate. For example the other day I found a woman who said she ate nothing but fried jack rabbits and boiled wheat for more than a year. Not often do they tell the actual preparation of their food, and NEVER is there a recipe presented in context. Yesterday a friend gave me his family history, and in it the fellow told how he learned to make smoked jerky from the local Indians. He threw in the added step of dipping the strips of meat in boiling salt water. A nice touch, that...

So after I find some dishes referenced in context, then I have to find a source describing a recipe or preparation. A lot of times this comes from Michigan State University's Historic Cookbook Project. They have scanned dozens of historic cookbooks and posted them online. The cookbooks are indexed by date, by subject and by author. They are all browsable online. There are a half dozen or so within the dates of my study, so I often resort to those for the specific preparations of the dishes I find referenced. I commend this source to you.