Food critic discusses American cookbooks during woman’s club meeting
February 7, 2013 1:56PM
Food historian Penelope Bingham recently spoke during a meeting of the Crete Woman’s Club. | Supplied Photo
Updated: March 11, 2013 6:06AM
Food historian Penelope Bingham recently gave a presentation titled “Vintage Cookbooks, Modern Cooks” during a meeting of the Crete Woman’s Club at Lincolnshire Country Club in Crete.
The presentation highlighted how today’s American food scene includes new ingredients and ethnic cuisines undreamed of by previous generations of cooks in this country.
National food-and-cooking media, magazines, television, the Internet and more than 1,500 new cookbooks each year make the “new American cuisine” familiar in every corner of the United States, Bingham said.
Following lifelong passions for books and cooking, Bingham began accumulating cookbooks more than 40 years ago. Her personal collection of cookbooks now exceeds 2,000 volumes.
Bingham said she particularly is interested in the stories American cookbooks of the last two centuries tell about American culture and identity.
Bingham has given programs on American cookbooks and culture to libraries and cultural organizations throughout Illinois as a Road Scholar for the Illinois Humanities Council, as well as in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition “Key Ingredients: America by Food.”
Since 1990, Bingham has been the volunteer “cookbook lady” for the annual Book Fair of the Newberry Library of Chicago, preparing for sale the thousands of vintage cookbooks that are donated each year. She has degrees from Wellesley College and the University of Chicago and is a member of the Culinary Historians of Chicago.
Provided to the SouthtownStar