Category Archives: libraries

“People are recognizing that food in the library is an irresistible force” ~ Scott Bennett, Yale University Librarian Emeritus

A big thank you to Dr. Scott Bennett for this remark; I’ve never felt so compelled to take a quote out of context. Professor Bennett’s comment was included in the Chronicle of Higher Education article Snacks in the Stacks: Libraries Welcome Food Amid the Books. Believe it or not, I don’t have particularly strong feelings about eating and drinking in libraries. However, I thought it would be fun to hear from fellow librarians about their encounters with food in the library. Please add your stories in the comments!
No Food in the Library Sign

Culinary Research Class : New York Public Library

Friday April 4, 3:15 – 4:15
42nd & 5th

What are you doing this Friday? If the answer isn’t “making my way to NYC for an introduction to culinary research in one of the world’s premier libraries”, then I presume that, like me, you’ll be sighing a lot and wistfully gazing at images from Libraries by photographer Candida Höfer, while eating a pastrami sandwich the size of a football.

Librarian Rebecca Federman is teaching the class. Here’s the post about it on her blog, Cooked Books. I think free, public events about food and culinary history from top institutions are a really big deal. Serious popular interest in food has grown with the rise of the Food Network. But that interest hasn’t quite extended to culinary history, and the culinary history community seems to be deliberately at arms length. I look forward to seeing this change.

Food Movies

food in the movies

Photo: Eskimo Dane

The Oceanside Museum of Art will be hosting a Culinary Cinema Series. The Union Tribune says they’ll be featuring menus too.

  • May 3: “Big Night”
  • Aug. 9: “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman”
  • Sept. 27: “Babette’s Feast”
  • Dec. 6: “Like Water for Chocolate”

Nice Choices. But for those who can’t make it to California, or won’t feel sated after four feature films, I’ve put together a small list of books about movies about food!

Food, Film and Culture: A Genre Study
James R. Keller, 2006

Food in Film: A Culinary Performance of Communication
Jane Ferry, 2003

Food in the Movies
Steve Zimmerman and Ken Weiss, 2005

Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film
Anne Bower, 2004

Reel Meals, Set Meals
Gaye Poole, 1999

I’ve looked at the books by Zimmerman and Bower I don’t really know how the rest are. I just remember browsing the stacks at the Van Pelt library and being amazed that there were multiple books about food movies. I had a vague idea that I might spend a year watching only food movies, but I have not yet made that happen.

The Edith Poston Egg Collection, High Speed Photography, Hervé This, and Filippini’s 1892 Book One Hundred Ways of Cooking Eggs

A fallen egg

Thanks to engineer & photographer Jasper Nance for her high speed image “egg drop”.

This started out as a post about Edith Poston. But the internet kept steering me toward other work people have created with and about eggs. I think Mrs. Poston would have approved.

Mrs. Poston collected eggs for more than 30 years. After her death in 2005, she left over 300 eggs to the Gaston County Museum, near her home in North Carolina. The collection includes eggs from at least three continents. 19th century Bristol glass eggs, ostrich eggs, Russian Fabergé-style eggs, porcelain, metal, and more.

On February 5th, the Gaston County Museum opened the first of three annual exhibits from the Poston egg collection. I spoke with the museum’s curator, Aimee Russell, to learn a bit more about the collection. But I found that I was even more interested in this woman who spent 30 years collecting eggs. I wish I knew more about her. And I wish she had a presence online; she’s a great example of why the internet is great. For any interest, there exists a community of interest. I feel confident that if Mrs. Poston had been online, she’d have found a lot of people that shared her interest in eggs.
Next year’s exhibit will be on the cultural significance of eggs, a subject on which Mrs. Poston lectured. (Ms. Russell is checking on possibly getting me access to the unpublished manuscript from that talk).

Thinking about eggs reminded me of other works about eggs. I thought about Eggs, the poem by Susan Wood I read in high school. Somehow I didn’t remember that it’s a really intense, turbulent poem.

I also thought about One Hundred Ways of Cooking Eggs, a book published by Alexander Filippini, the chef at Delmonico’s in 1892. I remember seeing this book at the Clements Library. The Schlesinger Library’s copy has been scanned, and it’s available in full text.
Text not available

One Hundred Ways of Cooking Eggs By Alexander Filippini
For some primary source material on Delmonico’s, check out menus from the NYPL Buttolph Menu Collection.

And finally, I’d like to mention Hervé This. A mutual friend of science and mine sent a Make Magazine Blog Post on Hervé This entitled the Man Who Unboiled an Egg. I thought I had better mention him in this post too.

That’s about all the thoughts about eggs I can muster. I trust you’re appropriately grateful that I summoned the strength to forgo comments about hatching ideas, things that are eggcellent, etc.

Perhaps you will enjoy the Iron Chef Egg battle, while it’s still up on YouTube.
Iron Chef Eggs

About Eating Locally

Update: This event will soon be available on demand at the AADL Streaming Video Collection

I was very glad I went to From the Farm to Your Fork. The panelists represented a fascinating array of backgrounds, the farmer, the chef, the dietitian, the scientist. Their talks were thought provoking and inspiring.
is eating local a viable option across a wide range of incomes?During the Q&A, it became apparent that I was not alone in wanting to be convinced that small-scale, local farms are better for our health, communities, and environment, with effects from local to global and for people of every demographic. Although the audience was literally a Pollan-waving bunch, (you’ll see) there were undoubtedly a lot of university types. (I mean, it’s Ann Arbor, throw a rock hit a post-doc. At one point I wanted to test that hypothesis, but I couldn’t get it through IRB) I think a lot of people who are sympathetic to this cause crave evidence, research, data. Thoughts?

From the Farm to Your Fork – Why Local Food Can Make Us Healthier, Happier and More Secure
Monday February 18, 2008:
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm —
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The Ann Arbor District Library is bringing together an incredible panel to discuss eating local.