October 18, 2010
Service Through Spongecake

Explore the connection between cookbooks and community at “Service Through Sponge Cake: Cookbooks Shaping Communities,” presented as part of the Spirit and Place Festival on Wednesday, Nov. 10, in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair Street.  A reception at 6:30 p.m. features flavors from historic Indiana cookbooks.

At 7:30 p.m., Anne L. Bower, author of “Recipes for Reading: Community Cookbooks, Stories and Histories” and pioneer of using cookbooks for historical inquiry, will present and discuss charity cookbooks. What does sponge cake have to do with philanthropy? Since the Civil War era, collaborative cookbooks have been bringing women together in service to their communities.

Participants also will have an opportunity to peruse the new digital, searchable collection of Hoosier community cookbooks dating back to the turn of the 20th century. The digital collection is a collaborative effort between the IUPUI University Library and the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library with a special emphasis on fundraising cookbooks published by churches, synagogues, and other community organizations. The online collection will include digital images of each cookbook in its entirety, plus in-depth descriptions of each item.

At the reception prior to Bower’s talk, attendees can partake in some of the tastiest recipes from the historic cookbooks included in the online collection. The reception will be held in the Nina Mason Pulliam Indianapolis Special Collections Room on the 6th floor at Central Library.

This project received a Humanities Initiative Grant from the Indiana Humanities Council.

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