Hey all, Kinsey here. Dakota and I were working in the archives one day, poring through the cookbooks and trying not to drool, when an idea hit us; what if we had an About page?
We don’t mean an “About the Project” page or a simple “About Us” page. We did in fact have the latter in the works—just a page briefly stating who we are, all that fun stuff—but it looked strange. Barren, even. There wasn’t much about us to tell that we could relate to the project. We had our majors, hometowns, and class years, and that was about it. It had stagnated.
But this project is all about examining the role of cookbooks—specifically, the Pamela Allison Cookbook Collection—in the Asheville community, right? So why not present ourselves in the same way that the authors and contributors of these cookbooks do—through recipes? We often found ourselves comparing our research to our own experiences in the kitchen, both by ourselves and with family.
So, while we wait for the rest of our prospective interviewees to reply to us (if they even will at this point), we’ve been working on our own miniature cookbook as a form of “About Us” page that we feel fits the theme of the project more than a dry old About page. It’s currently live and accessible through the site menu. Dakota has been incredibly busy with the rest of the project, so she will be able to add her own information soon, but we didn’t want to hold off too long.
In terms of other plans, we’re moving slowly but surely. A couple of the interviewee-shaped brick walls have crumbled and we’ve been able to get through, but mostly just for initial contact. We might need to restructure our project a bit if we can’t get ahold of everyone, but we can figure it out if it comes to that. We’re also working with data by now; Dakota’s efforts with hand-entering publishing data are now in a spreadsheet ready for work. (Thanks, Dakota!) My next mission is to construct a map showing the spread of publishing data for the Southern Appalachian division of the Pamela Allison Cookbook Collection. Dakota noticed some themes when she was entering the data, and ended up discovering that there were a few presses dedicated solely to publishing community/local cookbooks. We look forward to sharing with you!