Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Historical Recipe Pamphlets on Exhibit at The Culinary Institute of America

Good Living: Historical Recipe Pamphlets exhibit.

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Advertisements for everything from 19th century tonics to Crisco are part of a new exhibit opening on October 15 at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. They are examples of the historical recipe pamphlets in the college’s archives, and more than 70 of them will be on display in the Donald and Barbara Tober Exhibit Room in the Conrad N. Hilton Library.

“Good Living: Historical Recipe Pamphlets” showcases these American documents from the 1870s to 1970s and reflects trends in food advertising and consumption from the days of patent medicines through the advent of the electric refrigerator and introduction of convenience foods. The bright colors, clever slogans, images of happy consumers, and interesting recipes in these pamphlets create an entertaining and informative experience.

The earliest piece dates to 1876 and includes—among pudding and pie recipes—an advertisement for “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup,” a concoction containing unsafe levels of morphine and alcohol that is disturbing by today’s standards. Recipe pamphlets were a unique form of advertising, because they not only urged consumers to buy a certain product, but also showed them how to use it. They were handy and could usually fit in an apron pocket. But, they were also less treasured than cookbooks.

“These pamphlets were often free and were frequently discarded,” says exhibit curator Nicole Semenchuk, the CIA’s archives and digital collection specialist. “Thankfully for us, some people did hold onto them and they remained in good enough condition for us to examine today.”

The Tober Exhibit Room is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Good Living: Historical Recipe Pamphlets” will be on display there through February. The Culinary Institute of America’s entire historical menu and recipe collection includes more than 30,000 pieces and dates back to 1855.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1 (top photo): Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup recipe from an 1876 pamphlet. This is the oldest of more than 70 documents now on display at The Culinary Institute of America in "Good Living: Historical Recipe Pamphlets." (Photo credit: Courtesy, The Culinary Institute of America)
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Photo 2: Kellogg's published a booklet each year with hints and recipes "for health and homemaking." This look into America's kitchens from 1937 is part of the new "Good Living: Historical Recipe Pamphlets" exhibit at The Culinary Institute of America. (Photo credit: Courtesy, The Culinary Institute of America)
View hi-res image >

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, culinary science, and applied food studies, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 46,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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