November 8, 2019 at 11:05 am

RWSA Calls for Cookbook Submissions

Call for Submissions
Backstories: The Kitchen Table Talk Cookbook
Cynthia Prescott and Maureen Thompson, editors

Food brings people to the table and dialogue ensues. While sharing food we exchange information and ideas, but also elements of our personal lives. We nourish each other with sustenance and knowledge. Food consumption is one site where even humans living in urban environments encounter rurality on a daily basis. Reflecting the theme of our upcoming 14th Triennial Conference in 2021, “Kitchen Table Talk to Global Forum,” the Rural Women ‘s Studies Association will publish a cookbook with The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota featuring member-contributed heirloom recipes that relay family history, cultural heritage, and personal memories associated with the dishes. Backstories: The Kitchen Table Talk Cookbook will honor female tradition while producing a volume that elevates cookbooks to a scholarly level, reflecting the themes associated with the conference including food production, preparation, rituals, hospitality, etiquette, and display. It will consider how recipes transmit significance, meaning, and culture, appealing to an audience that craves a serving of knowledge alongside their food.

Sharing recipes that produce our favorite dishes is a form of intimate conversation. Our cookbook will present diverse regional foodways across centuries and from around the world. These might include anything from simple 18th-century farm “receipts” to contemporary vegan dishes. Backstories: The Kitchen Table Talk Cookbook will consider social aspects of eating and gathering that have empowered women to form organizations that benefit them as a group and society as a whole. It will mirror the global nature of the Rural Women’s Studies Association.

Backstories: Kitchen Table Talk to Global Forum draws on a long tradition of women’s clubs producing cookbooks as fundraisers for their organizations. In keeping with that tradition, we will collect cherished recipes from our members and allies. But Backstories will be much more than just another fundraising cookbook. As an organization that unites historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and community activists, we aim to enhance our recipe collection by providing brief essays that situate them in their social and cultural contexts. The recipes will be accompanied by brief contextual essays—ranging from 50 words to 500—that explain how the recipe was collected and used, and how it reflects rural women’s culture in a particular place and time. We will unite these recipes with scholarly essays, including an editorial introduction will provide a historical overview of how recipes and cooking have varied over time and place, and several longer thematic essays on foodways.

We invite a wide variety of contributions to this volume, including:

  1. Scholarly introduction examining the history of cookbooks and discussing how they can be used to understand foodways, women’s work, and more
  2. Thematic essays (1,000-10,000 words), including:
    • History of foodways
    • Anthropologies of food
    • Food Studies research
  3. Recipes accompanied by brief stories or commentaries, including:
    • Historic recipes collected from cookbooks and other primary sources
    • Favorite family recipes
    • Contemporary recipes
  4. Art and photography
    • Historic photographs
    • Original art

Submission Guidelines

Anyone interested in contributing longer thematic essays or the scholarly introduction is strongly encouraged to submit a 200-word abstract to RWSAcookbook@gmail.com by Feb. 1, 2020.

Send all recipes, completed essays, art, and other materials (saved in MS Word, PDF, or TIF format) to: RWSAcookbook@gmail.com . Submission Deadline: April 1, 2020.




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