We try on this blog to give an idea about the depth and breadth of the collections of the University Library and other libraries in Cambridge University. We have old books and new books, big books and small books. Some are pleasant to look at, some are quite basic. Across the libraries of the University of Cambridge, we try to cover a broad range of subjects. We deal with some very quickly; others are more challenging to put in the catalogue. Some of these books (if I’m honest) appear to be boring and dry. Others make me salivate. This post focuses on the latter category.
The history of food, eating and cooking is of interest to cultural and economic historians, among others. A number of books in the University Library record this history and help to remind us of how delicious the world is. This is a selection:
- Prenten in hout : speculaas-, taai- en dragantvormen in Nederland / J.J. Schilstra.
A historical survey of the wooden moulds that were used to make speculaas cookies. Having enthusiastically eaten many of these Dutch cookies, I am surprised by the level of detail, and wide range of subject matter involved in cookie moulds. This book provides the historical and cultural context for several hundred years’ worth of manufacturing these cookies.
- Pri︠a︡nichnye doski XVIII-XIX vekov / [nauchnyĭ redaktor i avtor vstupitelʹnoĭ statʹi: Elena Lebedeva].
Still on the theme of cookie moulds, this highly-illustrated book examines the history of 18th and 19th Russian wood-carvings and cookie moulds. While neither purports to be a complete survey, the difference in decoration and ornament within these moulds is striking.
- Le biscuit et son marché : Olibet, Lu et les autres marques depuis 1850 / Olivier Londeix.
A review of this important book on the history the Olibet and LU biscuit-makers is available via the CAIRN database.
- Le sacre du Roquefort : l’émergence d’une industrie agroalimentaire : fin XVIIIe siècle-1925 / Sylvie Vabre ; préface, Louis Bergeron.
To go with the cheese and biscuits, the following two books provide some refreshment:
- Boire en Gaule : hydromel, bière et vin / Fanette Laubenheimer.
A radio interview entitled “La Gaule était-elle ivrogne?” (from the station France Culture) with Laubenheimer is available here.
- Thé, café ou chocolat? : les boissons exotiques à Paris au XVIIIe siècle.
Published on the occasion of an exhibition held at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, May 27-Sep. 27, 2015 — the exhibition website contains some additional content and images.
Of course, this is not a complete listing of our books relating to food and food history; rather, it’s just a collection of some that have recently crossed my desk. Of course, the University Library is endowed with fantastically wide and deep collections, which enable us to do research on these subjects not just in foreign language material (on which this blog has its focus) but also in cartographic material such as the following: