This study examines four major American cookbooks – Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I examine these works as primary sources for food history and for the social history of the period they were popularized. Through this examination, the argument is made for how cookbooks can be an important historical source as they are a window to the social history of when they were produced. Cookbooks can provide information about societal changes, technological advances, changing gender roles, global relations, and historical events. For each of these cookbooks I put them into context using both social and food history. Next, I describe the basic history of the author that leads them to writing the cookbook. Then I present the history of how the cookbook was published. An examination of multiple editions of each cookbook, such as the layout of the cookbook and a summary of its contents, along with a summary of these changes is offered as a picture of how the cookbook continues to change with the times. Finally, certain aspects of the cookbooks are provided as a reflection of the social history of their time.


Shaya, Gregory





Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Kathryn A. Gallatin-Broad