The South Dakota Community Cookbook Collection brings together cookbooks that preserve the culture and food history of the state's communities. These cookbooks have been donated to the South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections at Hilton M. Briggs Library by many generous individuals and groups. The cookbooks are digitized and made available online.
The South Dakota Community Cookbook Collection contains cookbooks created by South Dakota schools, churches, hospitals, families, and other organizations. More than 90 cookbooks in the collection have been digitized, and that number continues to grow as additional cookbooks are donated. Food lovers and researchers worldwide can access the online collection for free at https://openprairie.sdstate.edu/sd_cookbooks/.
A Taste of the South Dakota Community Cookbook Collection
Digging into the South Dakota Community Cookbook Collection, one will find much more than just recipes. Many of the cookbooks include histories of the authoring organizations and communities, short poems and inspirational quotes, menu planning and cleaning tips, and some unexpected additions like a list of traditional wedding anniversary gifts. Family Favorites by the Share 'N' Learn Club of Arlington, SD, starts its cookbook with a background on country schools.
A culinary history can be gleaned from the decades that these cookbooks span, such as changes in food trends and ingredients that were common during particular periods. One of the oldest cookbooks in the online collection is Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes Revised, published in 1931. The cookbook Simply Delicious Dishes and Reflections by the South Dakota Society of Daughters of the American Revolution was published in 2000, but includes some recipes that date back to the 1860s. The cookbooks also share a bit about the food history of South Dakota’s pioneers and the recipes they brought from their homelands. The 1963 cookbook Pioneer Tradition, Modern Nutrition from Freeman Junior College includes a recipe for kuchen, a German cake and the South Dakota state dessert.
The cookbooks are as unique as their recipes. The Fitness, Fun, Friendship & Food cookbook from the South Dakota State University Wellness Center only has handwritten recipes. Some cookbooks are in pristine condition, and others show wear from heavy use. Most cookbooks include recipes for a wide range of foods, while others focus on one type of dish, like salads, candy, or meat. Entertaining Altrusa Style by Altrusa International, Inc. features only South Dakota wild game recipes.
The South Dakota Community Cookbook Collection was researched by the Introduction to Creative Writing class with Dr. Christine Stewart in fall 2019. The students visited the Archives several times to study these original source materials. The project resulted in new student poems that were inspired by the collection and the creation of poster presentations about their work.
Donating to the South Dakota Community Cookbook Collection
Donors are the momentum behind this collection. The cookbooks are contributed by individuals and organizations from across South Dakota. If you would like to donate cookbooks, please contact Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Michele Christian at Michele.Christian@sdstate.edu or 605-688-4906. Thank you to all who have given to the South Dakota Community Cookbook Collection!
Other Cookbook Collections
Listing of other cookbook collections housed in libraries: