Cookbooklets and Canadian Kitchens

Material Culture Review 70 (Fall 2009; appearing August 2010): 22-33.

17 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2015 Last revised: 30 Jan 2016

Date Written: September 1, 2009

Abstract

English Abstract: This paper explores the form and function of cookbooklets, those ubiquitous and oft-overlooked small cookbooks produced for promotional purposes and published irregularly. Under close examination, characteristics of the cookbooklet suggest a surprisingly stable genre. Consequently, there seems to be a paradox when the corporate cookbooklet is seen in relation to that of which it is a subset: ephemera. Rather than associate cookbooklets with ephemera, I suggest that we consider corporate cookbooklets as a subset of the highly stylized and consciously mediated set constituted by cookery literature. To this end, this paper identifies and exposes two primary rhetorical strategies of the cookbooklet — testimonial and localization — as well as ironies inherent in them, with a particular focus on Canadian editions of the Knox and Davis Gelatine cookbooklets within the larger corpus of Canadian cookery texts.

French Abstract: Cet article analyse la forme et la fonction des carnets de recettes, ces petits livres de recettes omniprésents et auxquels on accorde que peu d’importance, fabriqués à des fins publicitaires et publiés de manière irrégulière. Après un examen attentif, on remarque que les caractéristiques du carnet de recettes sont curieusement invariables. En conséquence, il semble y avoir un paradoxe lorsque le carnet de recettes ordinaire est considéré parallèlement au mode dont il est un sous- ensemble : l’éphémère. Plutôt que d’associer le carnet de recettes ordinaire à sa particularité d’être éphémère, je propose de l’examiner en tant que sous-ensemble d’un tout fortement stylisé et délibérément médiatisé constitué de la littérature culinaire. Pour ce faire, cet article identifie et présente les deux principales stratégies rhétoriques du carnet de recette, c’est-à-dire le témoignage et la localisation, y compris l’ironie qui leur est inhérente, en plus de porter une attention particulière aux éditions canadiennes des carnets de recettes Knox et Davis Gelatine.

Keywords: cookbook, corporate ephemera, foodways, food history, corporate marketing

Suggested Citation

Cooke, Nathalie, Cookbooklets and Canadian Kitchens (September 1, 2009). Material Culture Review 70 (Fall 2009; appearing August 2010): 22-33. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2694241

Nathalie Cooke (Contact Author)

McGill University ( email )

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Montreal, Quebec QC H3A 0G4
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5143984400 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.mcgill.ca/english/staff/nathalie-m-cooke

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