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Jewish Studies: Jewish Food

Jewish Food Studies at Stanford

Stanford Libraries collects extensive material on food Studies and Jewish food culture: scholarly books, popular books, magazines, films, zines, ephemera (menus, wrappers, buttons, etc.), and cookbooks of all kinds -- newly published cookbooks, best-selling cookbooks, cookbooks targeted at the Orthodox community, and rare Jewish cookbooks.

One area of focus for Stanford Libraries is Jewish community cookbooks. As of October 2019, Stanford Libraries had approximately 65 Jewish community cookbooks in its holdings, half of which were a part of the Dawn Nicolosi Powell Collection of Regional and Ethnic American Cookbooks. As of summer 2023, Stanford Libraries has developed a distinctive collection of over 400 Jewish community cookbooks published by schools, synagogue and temple sisterhoods, and Hadassah chapters (to name a few examples) from across the United States and Canada -- as well as Israel, South Africa, the Philippines, and Panama (to name a few examples). This remains an ongoing collecting area for Stanford Libraries, and we regularly add new titles to the collection. Two donors are especially important to mention, here, in this context. David Schlitt, who donated over 40 cookbooks to Stanford Libraries; and Anna Levia, who has supported Jewish Food Studies at Stanford Libraries in many, many ways, including through the gift of several important Jewish community cookbooks

Beginning in Summer 2023, Stanford Libraries has also begun scanning its holdings of Jewish community cookbooks. Most of the scans will not be made available to the public; rather, they will be used as the corpus for digital humanities research and the construction of a database. Here we continue to build on the work of Anna Levia, whose prior research into with Jewish community cookbooks and digital humanities research has been extremely helpful. 


Stanford libraries collects all bits of Jewish culinary ephemera - matchbooks, postcards, buttons, interesting ads, posters, and, of course, menus. Some special menus and anniversary programs are individually catalogued, such as this one from Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun in New York, and this pair of menus from the Stage Delicatessen. Many others are included in our of these end up in our general "Jewish Food Ephemera" collection. Here are some links to interesting pieces of food ephemera at Stanford Libraries. Another individually cataloged, growing corpus of material at Stanford libraries, is Rabbinic rulings on various aspects of food and the food industry, such as Kashrut Certifications for Meat from Australia, or this letter certifying the Slivovitz produced by the Roudolph Yellenick Company as Kosher for Passover