Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cooking Down the Ages: Cookbooks and Recipes @ Pequot Library

As part of the ongoing series of changing exhibitions that Pequot Library shares with the community, the next Special Collections of archives, rare books, and manuscripts on view in the Reading Room and Perkin Gallery at Pequot Library will be, Cooking Down the Ages: Cookbooks and Recipes.  The exhibition will be on view through February 5, 2017.

Explore the history of culinary literature spanning the Middle Ages to today, with a vivid selection of items from the Library’s Special Collections. This exhibition highlights the significance of food preparation over the ages. It includes the first printed cookbook (1475) and several nineteenth-century cookbooks including Mary J. Lincoln’s Boston Cookbook: What to Do and What Not to Do in Cooking (1891), plus cookbooks written by contemporary culinary masters Julia Child, Mary Berry, and Sara Moulton.

The oldest entry of the exhibition is Bartolomeo Platina’s (1421-1481) De honesta voluptate et valetudine (“On honorable pleasure and health”), widely considered the first printed cookbook (1475). An Italian Renaissance humanist writer, gastronomist, and controversial Vatican librarian who presented recipes with a balanced and measured commentary on health, Platina compiled and circulated Roman ideas about fine dining throughout Europe.

Another key feature of the exhibition are cookbooks by famed American chef Fannie Merritt Farmer (1857-1915) and her teachers Maria Parloa and Mary J. Lincoln. Several cookbooks by celebrated chef Julia Child will be on view, including Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Also on display will be Accum’s Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons (1820), the Southport Fire Department Cookbook, and colorful books featuring meatless options for vegetarians and gluten-free choices for the paleo-taste palate.

Holiday recipes wanted! The public is invited to submit a favorite holiday dish or dessert recipe either at Pequot Library’s Front Desk or email it to: The recipes will be added to the growing Pequot Community Cookbook.

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