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Subject Guide: Cookbooks

Archival and library highlights found at the Center that relate to cooking, cookbooks, and its significance in Jewish culture.

Cooking class, lower juniors, c 1928-1929. I-337. AJHS

About This Guide

This research guide was created to highlight various archival collections and books from each of the Center's five partner institutions that celebrate the rich history of Jewish cooking, recipes, and the traditions that they sustain. If you are interested in a collection or library item you do not see highlighted in this guide, please visit search.cjh.org, where you can search by keyword, name, title, subject or call number. 

This research guide is by no means a complete list of available that highlight food and generations of Jewish cooking traditions. Please feel free to email inquiries@cjh.org if you have any additional questions about the thousands of books, archival collections, and multimedia available to use for research at the Center. 

Why Cookbooks?

The scholarly importance of food studies has exploded as more and more special collections and libraries recognize the value of cookbooks and other such items. Scholars in a multitude of disciplines—history, women’s studies and marketing/advertising, to name a few—can use cookbooks to examine cultural trends and other societal nuances. By and large, cookbooks and other works explaining domestic economy are written for women, so they are often illuminating in discussions of women’s roles within the family and in society. For the Jewish woman in particular, cookbooks are valuable resources in examining her unique relationships to home and family, and her roles within domestic and religious contexts.

The five partner organizations here at the Center for Jewish History hold at least 500 cookbooks in total. Cookbooks are represented in every collection, and in both library and archival collections. If looked at en masse, they provide an astonishing view of the broad spectrum of Jewish domestic lives over three centuries and across multiple continents, and they represent dozens of different regional experiences. 

-- From Cookbooks of the Collections by Melanie J. Meyers 

Our Partner Organizations

For more information on the Center's partners, please click below for their organizational websites: