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David Lissner
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Early cookbooks started women toward power

Jan Longone (Photo ©2013 by Leah A. Zeldes.)

Jan Longone (Photo by Leah A. Zeldes.)

The beginnings of the women’s movement were stirred up in the pages of cookbooks. Charity cookbooks, starting at the time of the Civil War, brought women together to champion causes such as suffrage, education, temperance, equal rights, working conditions, welfare, immigration and legal rights, as well as benefiting churches, schools, sororities, the homeless and others in need.

Historic cookbook expert Janice Bluestein Longone, curator of American culinary history for the University of Michigan’s Special Collections Division and proprietor of The Wine and Food Library, America’s oldest antiquarian culinary bookshop, comes to Chicago Saturday, April 20, for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Culinary Historians of Chicago.

At 10 a.m., Longone will speak on “The Old Girl Network: Charity Cookbooks and the Empowerment of Women” at Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts on Goose Island.

Samples prepared according to recipes from classic American cookbooks will be served after the talk.

The lecture costs $5, $3 for students. To reserve, e-mail