Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Food Studies

First Advisor

Alice McLean

First Committee Member

Erica J. Peters


Industrialization and rapid urbanization characterized the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in many aspects of domestic life. Scholars have used community cookbooks to document changes in domestic roles at the turn of the twentieth century. This study uses community cookbooks to look beyond domestic roles and to trace changing foodways during the period from 1870 to 1930 in the northern Central Valley of California. Nine cookbooks from Sacramento, California and five cookbooks from Stockton, California reveal changes in foodways during this time. Recipes, text, and advertisements in these cookbooks show changes in the manner of home food production; a loss of pre-industrial food knowledge; increasing standardization in recipes and cooking knowledge; and an increasing reliance on commercially processed and name brand foods. These changes indicate a growing population and shifting demographics. The results provide insight into differences between urban and rural foodways as urban populations grow. The intrusion of industrialized food into rural home cooking may provide a backdrop for contemporary understanding of urban foodways. Researchers seeking to understand how commercial foods become entrenched in modern foodways can use community cookbooks to trace back the introduction and assimilation of commercially processed foods in the past. Rewinding the process may provide insights into a variety of issues related to processed food. In addition, this study presents a method for using community cookbooks as historical documents to trace food and foodways over time including the unique role of advertising in this context.





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