Past Event

Just What Is American Food? Cookbooks and American Cultural Identity

A Road Scholar Program by Penelope Bingham

This presentation looks at America’s "Founding Food" as evidenced by historic cookbooks, and then considers how the integration of immigrants into American society, from the 19th Century to the present, is reflected in our cookbooks and food preferences. How did pizza become as American as apple pie and lasagna find its way onto the Thanksgiving table? Is our identity as Americans changed now that salsa outsells ketchup? This program invites the audience to think about the ways in which what we cook and eat influences – and is influenced by – our identity as Americans.

Penelope Bingham holds degrees from Wellesley College and the University of Chicago and has been an avid collector and appraiser of cookbooks for many years. Her personal collection of cookbooks now exceeds well over 2,000 volumes, and she has given numerous programs on American culture and cookbooks to libraries and professional organizations around Illinois.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Donna Gabanski, 630.920.8575.