Cooking Their Culture: The Relationship Between Cookbooks and the Societal Roles of the Women Who Owned Them (1940s and 1950s)
My research explores the idea that the women of America’s past used cookbooks as life manuals and not just as collections of recipes. This project involves American gender roles and will be an important contribution to our women’s studies deficient academic community. I chose two different eras that have contrasting roles for women: World War II and the subsequent period of suburban growth. Next, I did a broad survey of as many cookbooks as I could that were published between 1942 and 1960, nationally distributed, and not regionally or ethnically focused. From this survey, I chose three books from each era that best represented these common characteristics to do a close reading of each text not as literature, but as an artifact of material culture.
Cope, Nora (2008). Cooking Their Culture: The Relationship Between Cookbooks and the Societal Roles of the Women Who Owned Them (1940s and 1950s). Available electronically from