Tuesday, January 25th 7:00-9:00PM
Please join us for the next Public Culture lecture. This month, Penelope Bingham will present "Who Cooks? American Cookbooks and Changes in Gender Roles."
"American cookbooks—their authors, their implied audience, the social structure implicit in their recipes and meal plans—tell the story of the changes in the role of women and social structure in 20th century America. The cookbook is much more than a 'how-to' manual; itdocuments... the expectations for 'good food' and for a 'good cook.' Looking at the century’s most popular cookbooks brings to light its changing values. This program invites the audience to think about the links between who cooks our food and how our society is structured."
Bingham will be bringing a number of vintage cookbooks from her epic collection to share.
Following lifelong passions for books and for cooking, Penelope Bingham began accumulating cookbooks over 40 years ago. Her personal collection of cookbooks now exceeds 2,000 volumes. She is particularly interested in the stories American cookbooks of the last two centuries tell about American culture and identity. She 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". She has also addressed the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Culinary Historians of Chicago, The Wednesday Club of the Newberry Library of Chicago, the Cookware Manufacturers Association, and home economists of Kraft Foods. Her work with American Cookbooks and Culture was recently featured in Chicago Magazine and on WBBM/TV’s “Table For Two”. Since 1990, she 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. Penelope holds degrees from Wellesley College and the University of Chicago. She is a member of the Culinary Historians of Chicago and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
The Public Culture Lecture Series, co-organized by Randall Szott and InCUBATE, seeks to highlight examinations and enactments of public culture. Rather than following a preformed idea of what public culture actually is, the lecture series treats it as an open question and invites attendees to explore the question with us. A variety of people and practices will be drawn on to present the ways that the notion of “the public” emerges in their work and/or informs it.