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Kirschner Collection

Pre-Modern Recipe Workshop

By January 20, 2015September 16th, 2023No Comments

Our friends at the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine are hosting a Pre-Modern Recipe Workshop, that I thought might be of interest to some of you following the Kirschner Collection. Here are the details:

The Pre-Modern Recipe Workshop will bring together students, faculty, and library staff from academic departments and libraries across the university to explore questions of food, medicine, family, and self-promotion in pre-modern Europe. Unlike reading groups dedicated to published materials, it is difficult to find non-course related groups dedicated to collaborative investigation of rare books. By primarily focusing on examining recipe books, this workshop will provide opportunities for historians and literary and language scholars to discuss methodological strategies, such as critical bibliography, to work with complex manuscript materials.

Individuals of all backgrounds have compiled volumes of culinary, household, cosmetic, and medical recipes for centuries. These manuscripts are rich resources for understanding pre-modern communities. A selection of manuscript medical recipe books written in English, French, German, and Chinese from the mid-fifteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries from the Wangensteen Library’s collections will be used over the course of the workshop’s six meetings. Before each gathering, participants will be expected to read a selection of pre-circulated articles drawn from Reading and Writing Recipe Books, 1550-1800, “The Recipes Project” blog, and recent journal articles. These sources represent a wide diversity of scholarship by early career and established scholars,providing broad methodological insights. The group will discuss the practical issues of working with recipe books and consider the historiographical questions brought up in the secondary source readings. Participants will together determine which recipe books to discuss during each meeting in order to allow for flexibility of interests and language abilities.


Call for participation

Using the collections at the University of Minnesota’s Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, Emily Beck (HSTM) and interim-curator Lois Hendrickson will host a 6 part workshop on manuscript recipe books in Spring 2015. Participants will explore the materiality of recipe books, recipes as a genre of writing, and different types of recipes, such as medical, culinary, art-related, cosmetic, veterinary, and alchemical. Around 30 manuscripts (16th-20th centuries, primarily in English, French) have been identified from the collection for the workshop. Participants will be expected to read a few suggested secondary articles (c. 50 pages per meeting) before each meeting in order to foster more productive discussion around the manuscripts.

Our first meeting will be a general introduction to recipe books and will be held sometime in the first two weeks of the semester. Meetings will be held every other week. Dates and times for these will be determined after polling participants.

Please fill out this Doodle poll if you’re interested in attending the first meeting –

Megan Kocher

Author Megan Kocher

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