|Leon Miller, head of the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC),|
reviews LaRC’s extensive Louisiana cookbook collection.
Because food and foodways are central to Louisiana, documenting our state's food culture is a special mission of the Louisiana Research Collection. Not only does LaRC collect menus and other restaurant ephemera (which it has put online), it also makes a special effort to acquire Louisiana cookbooks. Many cookbooks from well-known chefs, restaurants, and presses are readily available, while others are more difficult to obtain.
Particularly difficult are self-published cookbooks that document a family's recipes or are sold by organizations as a fund-raising tool. LaRC recently acquired nearly a hundred self-published cookbooks from Louisiana churches, schools, social organizations, and families in parishes and small towns across the state, from the Episcopal School of Acadiana to the Baton Rouge Chapter of Sweet Adelines.
Such self-published cookbooks are essential for documenting an area's particular food interests. They are also often the only way to document older foodways, such as "great-grandmother's recipe for etouffee." Because of their importance, LaRC is currently in the process of acquiring an additional hundred self-published cookbooks from around the state.
If you or your organization has menus, restaurant brochures, or cookbooks celebrating Louisiana cuisine, please consider donating them to the Louisiana Research Collection so we can permanently preserve them and make them available to researchers from around the world. To donate or for more information, please contact Leon Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org, 504-314-7833.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us in the Louisiana Research Collection.