Thought I would share another cook book story; this book belonged to my grandmother on my dad’s side. My mother had it in her collection also.
Who was Ruth Berolzheimer, the woman behind this cookbook?
Here is an article I found on line:
An Internet search on “The American Woman’s Cookbook” – edited in 1939 by Berolzheimer and published for the Culinary Arts Institute by Consolidated Book Publishers in Chicago – led to information that shows she was a progressive woman for her era.
The search also led to the author’s 77-year-old nephew, Karl Berolzheimer, a retired lawyer from Evanston, Ill., who said his aunt (his father’s oldest sister) was “way ahead of her time.”
She did not fall into the typical role of women during the early 20th century, he explained. She never had children of her own and pursued a college education instead. She graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1908, he added.
Then, Berolzheimer went on to do social work, which led to her first involvement with a cookbook. It was a project for a settlement house that helped immigrants in Milwaukee, where she worked.
From there, she moved onto other things, but eventually ended up as an editor for the American Woman’s Cookbook, which “was really her primary life’s work.”
“She came up with the idea to market her cookbooks to home economics departments,” her nephew said, explaining that she would mail-order the books for use as textbooks in their classes.
Her nephews – including Karl – remember working for her when they were in high school, packing and shipping the cookbooks. Millions of copies were sold, he said.
He added that his aunt was one the first authors to put step-by-step photographs – and color photographs at that – in cookbooks. “She was pretty innovative,” he added.
But she was not a good cook, he said with a laugh.
“In fact, my brother and I can’t remember her ever cooking at all,” he said. “It was more a scientific interest to her than actually cooking.”Berolzheimer stayed in the cookbook industry until her retirement. She died about 40 years ago, he added.
Her nephew’s oldest son is a historian and did his dissertation at the University of Virginia on consumerism between 1920 and 1940. He used the cookbook’s table of contents in his work because it is “such a snapshot of our culture at the time,” he said. After handling so many of those cookbooks in his lifetime, Karl Berolzheimer has only about six copies left, he said.Every now and then, someone just like you stumbles onto one,” he said. “It happens every once in awhile.”
(End of story)
I found a few on E-Bay from 1.99- 24.99
The picture’s are beautiful…
I think I will keep my copy!
From the The Gourmet Farm Girl personal collection