Illustration from Favorite Dishes
A handsome sourcebook on 19th-century cookery, Favorite Dishes is a celebrity cookbook of autographed recipes, accented by portraits of the distinguished contributors. The cookbook includes regional recipes from every state- ham toast from Texas, gumbo file from Alabama, snipe and Woodcock from Massachusetts, and veal potpie from Indiana. Compiled on the occasion of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, it is a testament to the desire of well-educated, well-placed women to use their position for social good. The world's fair in Chicago was the first event of its kind that offered women a conspicuous and responsible role. A Woman's Building was designed by a woman architect, decorated with the statues and paintings of prominent women artists and overseen by the Board of Lady Managers, comprised of 115 wives and daughters of political and business leaders from every state and territory. Carrie Shuman, approached by the president of this unprecedented body, Bertha Honor Palmer, with the idea of a producing a charitable cookbook, endorsed and autographed by the Lady Managers, of their prized recipes. The books would be offered to women of limited means who would sell them to raise money to cover the expense of a visit to the fair. Favorite Dishes emerges in the context of the era's food standardization, changing cooking technology, recipe book conventions, and social practices in the kitchen.