On April 2, 2012 Chatham is proud to have author and former NYT columnist Molly O’Neill here to discuss her new book One Big Table. O’Neill edited American Food Writing, and in her introduction she writes, “…American writers have seen food as a window into the wider culture – a sign of our values and our ideals, a measure of our civilization.” This book is charming for its classic recipes offered up by writers like Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, and David Sedaris, just to name a few. You can also check out, Joy of Cooking, first published in 1936 and probably the best known cookbook in the US with more than 18 million copies sold.
Current food culture and food and cooking history are fascinating and educational. Understanding where food comes from, how it is made, and how it is served and shared contribute to our sense of community. We share in relationships that both create a profound respect for the world around us and its inhabitants, human and otherwise. Fabrio Parasecoli writes of the recent interest in food history, “It is not just curiosity about how ancestors ate. It is concern about the reasons why we eat the way we eat now, in the present,” Who cooks, how and where are just as interesting as where our food comes from. Urban gardens and even shared meal prep in families is experiencing a shift in the U.S., but no doubt, tradition and culture still play an important role when it comes to gathering around the table.
Chatham University has a long history with food culture. Everyone has to eat! so feeding the students is a daily event. Back in 1902, the 32nd Alumnae Banquet served a simple, seasonal, and elegant menu that you can see here. Chatham alumni and students have even published cookbooks, including this one by the Helen E. Pelletreau Scholarship Committee. The title page reads: “As a textbook on cookery, this book is dedicated to the young housekeepers who shall come from the doors of the Pennsylvania College for Women.”
In addition, the Library is proud to host the International Edible Book Festival! (click here for details) This is your chance to show your creative side and your love for food and books!