THE OLD COOKBOOK
In the fight for American women’s suffrage, one of the earliest examples of this strategic politic rhetoric was the publication of America's first suffrage cookbook, One of the earliest examples of this strategic rhetoric was the publication of America's first suffrage cookbook, The Woman's Suffrage Cook Book (1886). Edited and published by Mrs. Hattie A. Burr, the cookbook was originally printed and sold at the Woman Suffrage Festival and Bazaar organized by the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association at the Music Hall in Boston during the December of 1886. A second edition was printed in 1890 and sold at the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association "Country Store," another fundraising pop-up shop that ran from April 21-26, 1890 in Boston.
Though the cookbook was published in Boston by the Massachusetts branch of the AWSA (American Woman Suffrage Association), it served as a cohesive mouthpiece and networking tool for women across the nation. The contributor list, featuring a mix of famous suffragists and their lesser known supporters, includes women from Portland, Oregon to Lyndon, Vermont with additional representation from Kansas, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Montana, New York, and one from San Antonio, Texas. After debuting at the Bazaar in 1886, other suffrage associations helped publicize The Woman's Suffrage Cook Book and add to the fundraising efforts started in Massachusetts. Soon after, sister publications appeared across the country, featuring recipes from local women and special sections highlighting the foodways of specific states.
SO WHY A NEW ONE?
That old cookbook excluded a lot of women, especially women of color. Countless women were overlooked in the struggle for equality and, through the same efforts, were left out of these cookbooks. While voting rights and recipe credits clearly have very different impacts on women’s lives, we know that a lack of representation—seeing women that look and talk just like you—makes a profound impact on society as a whole.
So I wondered, if things had been different, what kinds of recipes might we have shared as a nation of women? And how would these recipes help us understand the range of intersectional issues many women faced and a few chose to ignore for the sake of progress. How could this cookbook be more feminist? Be more helpful? Help the individual woman and the whole community? How does food help change history, but specifically her story.
HELP BUILD A NEW #FOODHERSTORY
Recipes tell us much more than how to prepare food. They tell our stories and how we interact with the world around us. This cookbook aims to gather and share those stories in the most collaborative and inclusive means possible. But this requires your help.
This cookbook seeks recipes that have been passed down through generations of women (with permission from great aunt so-and-so to share), recipes that keep you and your family strong, recipes for women’s health during pregnancy, loss, age, and recipes that fit in every version of US women’s lives.
A NOTE ABOUT METHODS
This project is still very much in its infancy and will require lots of input and kind criticism from anyone who would like to help. The “cookbook” needs recipes, it needs feedback, and most of all it needs critical analysis to make sure we try our best to learn from the mistakes of the women who came before us. To learn more about how this project came to be, head over to my blog.
After submitting your recipe, it will be transferred to a living, open-access Google Doc for public use. Eventually, I hope to build some sort of internal infrastructure to house the recipes here on foodherstory.com, but until a clear path forward is sorted out, the recipes will remain in their raw, collaborative state.
In the meantime, please feel free to send me a note about how I could improve this process, add more thoughtfulness, or tell me about a recipe that is dear to you: khysmith[at]unc[dot]edu
***a special shout out to the brilliant work of The Jewish Food Society and their family recipe submission. This project is built, in part, on the methods used in their mission to archive and share food history***
 Hattie A. Burr, The Woman's Suffrage Cook Book: conta[i]ning thoroughly tested and reliable recipes for cooking, directions for the care of the sick, and practical suggestions, contributed especially for this work, Boston: Published in aid of the festival and bazaar, C.H. Simonds, Printers, 1886.
 "Festival and Bazaar: Extensive Preparations by the Woman Suffrage Association," The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, Friday, November 26, 1886.