Danish Cookbooks

Domesticity and National Identity, 1616-1901

Carol Gold

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  • $90.00x hardcover (9780295997834) Add to Cart
  • Published: 2007
  • Subject Listing: Scandinavian Studies; Food
  • Bibliographic information: 240 pp., 20 color illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Series: New Directions in Scandinavian Studies
  • Contents

Cookbooks tell stories. They open up the worlds in which the people who wrote and read them once lived. In the hands of a good historian, cookbooks can be shown to contain the markings of political, social, and ideological changes that we conventionally locate outside the kitchen. Over time, cookbooks allow us to trace the course of empires, of social roles, and of new nations. Danish Cookbooks draws from three hundred years of cookbooks to trace the growth of a bourgeois consciousness, the development of domesticity and gendered spheres, and the evolution of nationalism and a specific Danish identity from the early seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century.

Like all prescriptive literature, cookbooks do not merely reflect the changes of the day but also constitute them. Historian Carol Gold reads recipes and cooking instructions for what can they tell us about literacy levels, division of labor in the kitchen and in society, and changes in the gendered aspects of publishing and utilizing cookbooks. Gold explores the authors' instructions for economic and hygienic housekeeping, and their sentiments about Danish identity as spelled out in dishes and spices. Just as the Danish nation would manage the body politic, so women were exhorted to manage the house and ensure the family's physical and moral health. Through the pages of cookbooks-recipes, menus, and table settings-we can chart the growth of a nationalist Denmark and track the development of what it means to be a Dane.
Carol Gold is professor of history at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"A tasty menu of Danish cultural delights served up through an enchanting historical narrative."
-Terje Leiren, University of Washington

Appetizer: Frontispieces

First Course: Cookbooks as Historical Source Material

First Intermezzo: Menus

Second Course: How Cookbooks Change

Second Intermezzo: Cookbook Introductions

Third Course: The Development of a Bourgeois Consciousness

Third Intermezzo: Bread

Fourth Course: The Growth of Domesticity

Fourth Intermezzo: Maps of Denmark

Fifth Course: The Development of Nationalism

Fifth Intermezzo: Dannebrog

Sixth Course: Potatoes and Danish National Identity

Sixth Intermezzo: Christiane Rosen, Cookbook Author

Seventh Course: How Recipes Change

Dessert: Afterword

Coffee or Tea: Notes

Chocolates: Bibliography


"Carol Gold makes a convincing case for the role of cookbooks as evidence of and participants in social, economic, and political changes in Denmark. She weaves the stories cookbooks tell into an engrossing book, one that is exhaustively researched and well argued. Gold's methods and careful analysis offer a model of inquiry that can guide a critical assessment of the social role of any group of older cookbooks."

"Carol Gold's thought-provoking and enjoyable new book about the evolution of popular cookbooks in Denmark between 1616 and 1901 makes an important contribution to this discourse. . . . will intrigue cooks and historians alike."
-Scandinavian Studies