University of Utah cookbook exhibit showcases a century of food

First Published      Last Updated Aug 05 2015 08:50 pm

U. exhibit » A sampling of rare cookbooks that go back a century and more reveals the culinary sensibilities of old.

Horst E. Schober, a well-known chef at the old Newhouse Hotel and Salt Lake Country Club, had a hunger for books and knowledge.

Upon his death 65 years ago this month, he willed all 2,800 volumes in his personal collection — including 1,001 books on food preparation and "cookery" — to the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library. It was, at the time, one of the largest private book donations made to the U., according to an article published Oct. 29, 1950, in The Salt Lake Tribune.

L.H. Kirkpatrick, the head librarian at the time, was most excited about the 1,500 classic pieces of German, Greek and Latin literature in the collection. "It is expected that these works will be of great value to students working in literature, foreign language, history and related fields of study," he was quoted as saying.

But it is the expansive cookbook collection, many pieces written in French and German — Schober's first languages — that has intrigued modern-day food-lovers.

"I've waited years to showcase these cookbooks," said Judith Jarrow, the current program manager in the library's Special Collections Department.

"Bill of Fare: The Cookbook Collections of Horst Schober and Friends," a sampling of the Schober gift, is on display in the Special Collections Gallery through Aug. 30. (See box for details.)

The collection, which Jarrow valued at about $250,000, included several culinary books that date to the 1800s, such as "Gastrosophie," published in 1851, and "Der Kuchen-Kalendar," 1874.

Many also were written by the culinary gurus of the day. On display is a copy of "La Veritable Cuisine de Famille," published in 1934 by Tante Marie, the pseudonym for Ann-Marie Taride. The legendary French cook set new standards in French cuisine in the early 19th century.

There's a copy of "Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book," published in 1903. Author Mary J. Lincoln was the first principal of the Boston Cooking School and culinary editor of numerous cookbooks as well as The American Kitchen Magazine.

Schober also donated his original 1938 copy of "Larousse Gastronomique," by Prosper Montagne, considered the bible of French cooking. The tome included the history of foods and ingredients as well as cooking terms, techniques, buying and storing tips and more than 8,500 recipes.

The Schober collection also includes numerous books on hotel management, etiquette and kitchen sanitation. Published before color photography was available, many of the cookbooks contain colorful, hand-drawn illustrations of food from pastries to paté.

These cookbooks serve as a historical snapshot of another era, said Jarrow. "It's interesting to see the ingredients they used and what they ate and how they often cooked foods to death." (See boxes for examples of old-time recipes.)

Beyond Schober • Jarrow and the staff in Special Collections enhanced the Schober cookbook exhibit with antique toasters, egg beaters, pastry crimpers — and even a retro Veg-O-Matic.

The food-inspired exhibit also spills into the fourth-floor hallway and into the reading room across the hall. There, cooks can view menus from classic diners, dishes from the iconic Hotel Utah and recipe pamphlets from popular food brands such as Jell-O, Eagle Brand and Baker's Best Chocolate.

The U. of U. has the largest cookbook collection in the state with some 5,000 original cookbooks on the shelves and in the archives, said Jarrow.

In the 1970s, Harold Fabian, a state parks commissioner and a nationally known conservationist, donated a collection, including many railroad menus, from his extensive travels. The owners of the Bamberger Electric Railroad Co. also have donated additional cookbooks from the railroad era.

The Marriott family, which started in the Hot Shoppes restaurant business before moving into hotels, donated a large collection of mostly American cookbooks in the 1980s. In 2002, 500 books were donated by Elizabeth (Betty) Browning, wife of radio announcer and KPQR manager Gordon Browning. Included in the collection were numerous paper booklets produced by food and appliance manufacturers to help housewives use new products including Jell-O and electric ovens.

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On the menu

“Bill of Fare: The Cookbook Collections of Horst Schober and Friends” showcases some of the 1,001 cookbooks donated by the well-known Utah chef.

When » Through Aug. 30

Where » J. Willard Marriott Library on the University of Utah campus, 295 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Cost » Free

Parking » There is a visitor pay lot just west of the library and north of the football stadium.

Hours » Monday- Friday , 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Details » www.lib.utah.edu

Broiled Chicken (Blazer)

Cut the breasts of two young chickens in four pieces and remove the skin. Dip each piece in melted butter or olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook in the blazer until both sides are brown. Only very young, tender chicken should be broiled. Cook prairie chicken the same.

Source: Chafing Dish Recipes, by Mrs. Olive A. Cotton, published by A. Mackel & Co., 1899

Mock meat pie

Soak a pint of haricot beans in boiling water over night. Chop up one large onion and two slices of bacon, place in the bottom of a pie dish with a cup of water. Put the beans on top, sprinkle with pepper and salt, cover with a good crust and bake.

Source: Camouflage Cookery, by Helen Watkeys Moore, published by Duffield & Company, 1918