As anyone who has traveled abroad knows, food is one of the most important aspects of culture. Many a journey, and a good bit of global trade, was launched in search of new flavors. For the displaced, uprooted, or simply homesick, familiar foods provide a comfort and connection to home that is second perhaps only to language.
Major segments of LBI’s archival and library collections consist of those materials that Jewish refugees managed to spirit out of Europe in the 1930s. Many of them managed to find room in their overstuffed bags and trunks for cherished cookbooks—from published classics to handwritten recipe books to binders full of clippings and index cards.
As they prepared to digitize a number of important German-Jewish published cookbooks from the late 19th and early 20th century, some LBI librarians and archivists recently decided to try their hand at cooking some of the antiquarian delicacies contained within. As the following journal of their efforts shows, the results were varied, but they often led to interesting conclusions or questions about the culture from which these recipes arose.