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What’s Cooking? @ Your Library


Mix one part Toledo Museum of Art with 2 cups Toledo Opera Guild, sift in a little Toledo Dental Society, and pour in some Wildwood Manor House and what do you get? A new exhibit titled, “What’s Cooking?” – a unique display of Toledo area fundraiser cookbooks, recipes, and historical photos located in the Local History Department, The  Blade Rare Book Room at Main Library, 325 Michigan St.


“What’s Cooking?” – on view now through June 30, 2009, on the third level of Main Library - was organized by Local History staff as a way to pay homage to the important role cookbooks have played in history as a fundraising tool since the 1950s.


The cookbooks on view largely date from the 1950s through the early 2000s and are paired with photographs from the Local History Department’s collection. This collection is a rich resource of images from Toledo’s past and present.  Some of the displayed photographs and many more can be found on the Library’s “Images in Time” database available by visiting toledolibrary.org. The exhibit also includes historical facts about the groups who compiled the fundraising cookbooks.


The cookbooks represent only a small sample of the more than 100 cookbooks available in the Local History Department. Main Library also has an extensive collection of cookbooks available for patrons to checkout.


Highlights of the exhibit include a book titled Art Fare by the art aides of the Toledo

Museum of Art (TMA). Art Fare received the Tabasco Community Cookbook Award in 2001. Displayed near this cookbook is a recipe for lemon chicken. The Farmers Market, which started in Toledo in 1832, has a cookbook in the exhibit from 1998-1999 that includes a peach cobbler recipe.


Other recipes on display include beets with orange juice, seafood casserole, shrimp Creole, baked tomato halves, and zucchini soup. To add décor to the exhibit, vintage aprons, flour sifters and antique dishes are placed around the display items.


Photographs displayed include a circa 1930 image of the late actress Bette Davis posing in a kitchen. The photo of Davis was donated to the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Other historical photographs coincide with the fundraising organizations which compiled the exhibited cookbooks, including images of the Farmers Market, churches, TMA aides conducting tours, and fun images of Toledo area people eating food.


Other cookbooks exhibited include those compiled by First Congregational Church, Rosary Cathedral, St. Patrick’s, a compilation book from the Blade newspaper titled The Best from the Blade Cookbooks (1950-1960), and others.


No appointment is needed to view the exhibit “What’s Cooking?” in The Blade Rare Book Room in Main Library’s Local History Department. The exhibit will be displayed during regular library business hours.


For more details, please call 419.259.5233






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