Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes

$29.95 $22.46

The Original 1927 Cookbook and Housekeeper’s Chat
Edited by Justin Nordstrom
212 pages, 6 × 9
978-1-68226-061-6 (paper)
June 2018


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From the 1920s through the 1940s, American kitchens had a welcome guest in “Aunt Sammy,” a creation of the US Department of Agriculture and its Bureau of Home Economics. Through the radio program Housekeeper’s Chat, Aunt Sammy gave lively advice on food preparation, household chores, parenting and children, and gender dynamics as she encouraged women to embrace the radio and a host of modern consumer household products. The recipes she shared were gathered, in 1927, into a cookbook that became a valuable household manual for tens of thousands of Americans.

Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes revives the famous cookbook and joins it with extensive excerpts from the accompanying radio broadcasts, providing a fascinating study of how a witty and charming fictionalized personae became one of the early celebrity chefs of the radio age.

Justin Nordstrom is associate professor of history at Penn State’s Hazleton campus. He is the author of Danger on the Doorstep: Anti-Catholicism and American Print Culture in the Progressive Era.

Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes: The Original 1927 Cookbook and Housekeeper’s Chat (2018) is a scholarly edition of a remarkable text in food media history. … Nordstrom’s revised edition of Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes, published by the University of Arkansas Press (Food and Foodways Series), offers readers a helpful framework for understanding a singular figure in early food radio, and anyone who is interested in how historians interpret recipes will find the Editor’s Notes particularly elucidating. It belongs on the shelves of scholars and general readers alike, especially those interested in the history of broadcast media, the foodways of the interwar period, and USDA extension work.”
—Katherine Magruder, Agriculture and Human Values, February 2019

“Cookbooks reveal clues about peoples’ desires and aspirations as well as everyday eating habits. Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes provides a glimpse into 1920s American food and cooking, but also into government officials’ attempts to gently and with light-hearted humor introduce modernity into Americans’ homes. Framed by Nordstrom’s illuminating introduction and commentary throughout, we learn much about the popular cookbook and the radio program so important to millions of Americans.”
—Amy Bentley, author of Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health and the Industrialization of the American Diet

“Reveals the ways in which the new social media of a century ago — the radio — converged with new technologies of the kitchen and the everyday household needs of cooking and eating to form a character who contributed to a national ideal. An insightful contribution to food studies.”
—Etta Madden, Co-editor, Eating in Eden: Food & American Utopias

Food and Foodways is a series from the University of Arkansas Press that explores historical and contemporary topics in global food studies. We are committed to representing a diverse set of voices that tell lesser known food stories and to provoking new avenues of interdisciplinary research. Our strengths are works in the humanities and social sciences that use food as a critical lens to examine broader cultural, environmental, and ethical issues. In addition to scholarly books, we publish creative nonfiction that explores these topics with a focus on food’s sensory dimensions.

Series Editors’ Preface

Vegetable Dishes

Sample Menu #1—Meat and Potatoes
Egg and Cheese Dishes
Sample Menu #2—Breakfast Time
Sample Menu #3—Savory and Sour
Fish and Shellfish
Sample Menu #4—Regional and National
Sample Menu #5—Familiar and Far-Fetched
Salads and Salad Dressings
Muffins and Other Quick Breads
Puddings and Frozen Desserts

Sample Menu #6—An Apple a Day
Pies and Other Pastries
Cakes, Cookies, and Cake Frostings

Sample Menu #7—Just Desserts
Preserves, Jams, and Relishes

Conclusion: Cooking History
Appendix: Aunt Sammy’s Menus

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