Duluth Cookbooks Contain More Than Recipes
Duluth History Museum has a cookbook collection that visitors can examine and copy.
Most people think a cookbook is just a book full of recipes and pictures of food. Not so fast. Many of them are history books. Yes, I said history. The Duluth History Museum Library has some great historic cookbooks.
To prove my point, I opened the Heritage Cookbook from 1997, a collection of recipes from the Duluth community. The first seven pages are a history of our town. One page tells the charming story of the Duluth Shower Guild. They were a group of great cooks and hostesses that handled all things relating to brides and grooms. Invitations, food, punch, gift displays, flowers, greeters, and kitchen staff were their specialties.
The book includes their recipes and a section called Heritage that lists the first recipe as Possum and Potato dinner. Preparing the possum is very specific. They are hunted in the winter and when caught, kept in a cage for a week and fed sweet potatoes and food scraps before dressing and baking for the family dinner.
Next, I looked at Favorite Recipes, published by Duluth First United Methodist Church in 2002. The first four pages relate a history of the church and a story about the Dinner Belles. This group began in 1986 with six ladies who met for the express purpose of cooking for the Wednesday night suppers at their church. Their theme was “We serve it His Way.” The Dinner Belles grew to include 80 volunteers who cooked once a month on one of four teams. One recipe is called:
RECIPE FOR LIFE
1 c. good thoughts 3 c. forgiveness
1 c. kind deeds 2 c. well-beaten faults
1 c. consideration for others
Add tears of joy, sorrow, sympathy. Fold in prayers and faith, bake with human kindness, and serve with a smile.
The next cookbook I picked up was Our Favorite Recipes by Joan Glancy Hospital volunteers in 1989. Contributions are from employees and volunteers. Their history began in February 1975, when these ladies asked the hospital administration for permission to form a volunteer group. They started a snack and magazine cart and later opened a gift shop. The proceeds bought equipment the hospital needed.
I hope this encourages you to look for history in unusual places. All of these books are a written legacy, left by many who are no longer with us. So, DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE COOKBOOKS. This historic collection can be seen and copied at the Duluth History Museum on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the Duluth Historical Society website.