What people eat in all times and places reflects who they are, where they live, and how much money they have. While period cookbooks and national magazines are excellent reflections of “popular” dishes, they are poor indicators of what real people in a particular place and time eat every day.
Community cookbooks offering “tried and true recipes” submitted by members present a more accurate picture of what appears on daily tables. Most of us cook what we know. Local newspapers reporting trendy innovation influence adventurous cooks.
Our survey of local cookbooks confirms that Morris County, New Jersey celebrates a delicious heritage of historic circumstance, ethnic convergence, economic necessity, and culinary creativity. Like many communities across America, we take pride in setting a unique table based on place and taste.
Morris County Cooks traces the evolution of local recipes from 1900 to the present based on primary sources. Decade-specific menus reflect period trends; historic recipes are transcribed as they appeared in their original publication. All dishes are completely doable in today’s kitchen and selected for their appeal to contemporary diners. Food notes gleaned from the Daily Record newspaper reflect concerns of the times. Our local cookbook collection is available to you in Reference Services.
Special thanks to the North Jersey History and Genealogy Center, Morristown & Morris Township Public Library for generous access to their special collections.
Reference Services, Morris County Library