When I was in college, we had a mostly unused library, called "The Old Library." It was staffed with a single student librarian and more often than not, I was the only person spending time in it. I loved it because it was a quiet place to study ... I had the whole building to myself :-) and ... shhhh ... I even neatly and without a single mess or spill, ate my lunch there while I studied. But what I most enjoyed while in the midst of these old, under appreciated tomes, was to wander through the cookbook aisles. It not only taught me recipes, it taught me about life through history. I saw ingredients going in and out of fashion; I saw through illustrations clothing and apron styles change; I saw commentaries about daily life from the late 1700s to the 1950s. I still can't understand why books so old were not treasured. It was fascinating to me and I was not even a history or sociology major. It also gave me a good understanding of cooking, as back a century or more ago, they did not write a book just for profit, they actually had something important to share. Did you know they even made singing cookbooks so that mothers could teach their children how to cook? The children would learn the recipes by heart. Here is a video of one of my very favorite chefs, Julia Child, showing us old cookbooks at the Library of Congress, including a singing cookbook. It's a real treasure.
I'm also entering this post in Works For Me Wednesday, because looking through and studying old cookbooks has taught me so much and it has worked for me. I hope you will benefit from it too. For more participants, click on the link to Rocks In My Dryer.
Other Joy Of Desserts posts about Julia Child:
Cream Cheese & Lemon Flan Is Gourmet Fast Food
Julia Child's Crepes Recipe
Julie & Julia: Two Lives, One Passion