I think we can all agree that any area regarded as primarily domestic or feminine has a tendency to be under-documented. Or–really And–any area related to sort of everyday life has a tendency to be difficult to find. I don’t think everyday life is necessarily under-documented, but it’s not as easy to locate information. You have to wade through all the letters, diaries, newspapers, magazines, household and etiquette manuals, etc.
At any rate, there seems to be quite of a bit of activity around culinary history and foodways. Here’s an example, a new book Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions by
“If you have ever been overwhelmed by the task of researching, analyzing, organizing, and preserving family recipes, you probably have longed for a trained archivist to take charge! Well, one finally has in this exhaustive and delightful work by educator/archivist Valerie J. Frey, who expertly guides readers step-by-step to create family cookbooks, heirloom recipe collections, and food-related oral histories and, most important, shows how to protect historic family recipes, recollections, papers, and artifacts for future generations to enjoy and savor.”
—Marcie Cohen Ferris, author of The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region
I should use this one for the end of my talk. It’s actually an example of the kind of active self-documentation I’ll be discussing.