Council Cook Book
San Francisco: International Printing Company, 1909.
Council Cook Book
San Francisco: International Printing Company, 1909. First edition. Original publisher's cloth binding. Fraying to corners and extremities of spine. General spotting to cloth. In a contemporary hand, several names and addresses of women from San Francisco and Atlantic City to the pastedowns and endpapers. Generally toned with occasional staining; in the same hand as the preliminaries, occasional additions, modifications, and annotations to recipes. Quite a scarce community cookery, particularly in such presentable condition, it has the distinction of being the first Jewish cookery published in California, and among the earliest west of the Mississippi.
An excellent early example of women's use of the domestic space as a site for social activism. Organized in 1893 and based out of Chicago, the National Council of Jewish Women worked to "shape the destinies" of Jewish women and families by offering community support in the form of assisting immigrants with integration, advocating for women's rights, and providing support including financial assistance and job training. Under the leadership of Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, the women desired to carve out space for Jewish women's identities and contributions, operating on a model similar to other national figures such as Jane Addams and Susan B. Anthony. Within seven years, the San Francisco section was founded and ran under the leadership of Hattie Hecht Schloss, a philanthropist and the wife of a progressive associate justice of the California Supreme Court. With her guidance, "the Council established San Bruno Settlement House to aid newcomers to San Francisco with classes for boys and girls...Aiding immigrants and later veterans...these issues at the forefront then prompted petitioning for legislative reforms, such as immigration, equal suffrage, child labor, human trafficking, abolition, and health centers for women and children" (NCJWSF). The present text was published at a time when a number of women's groups were realizing that community cookeries were effective methods of fundraising and promotion. Drawing strength and authority from the expectation that they feed and nourish their families, the women of the Council could justify feeding, nourishing, and otherwise supporting the community at large; and the money from this cookery supported a number of their programs. Notably, this California chapter of the NCJW did include a chapter on Passover Dishes; yet they also include a range of dishes traditionally not considered Jewish or acceptable in Jewish households, including lobster and other shellfish dishes common to the region. An excellent opportunity to research Jewish women's contributions to California culture, and the extent to which regional foods shape Jewish households in the West. (Item #3212)