The Unlikely Power of Cookbooks

How cookbooks have been used to demonstrate power, ideology and divide society by class and race

Even if you’ve never picked up a book of recipes - cookbooks will have had a huge influence on how you live.

What may appear to be mere collections of ingredients and cooking methods, sometimes tell us just as much about social class, politics and gender.

We explore how cookery books have been used to demonstrate power, strengthen colonial and soviet ideology, and divide society by class and race.

Do we see these dividing lines reflected in today’s publishing industry? And what does your choice of cookbook say about you?

Plus - why did a stuffed peacock leave 150 Harvard undergraduates aghast?

With contributors: Barbara Ketcham-Wheaton, food historian and honorary curator of the culinary collection at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University; Polly Russell, food historian and curator at The British Library; Sarah Lavelle, publishing director at Quadrille; and Katharina Vester, professor of history at American University, Washington DC.

Presenter: Emily Thomas

(Photo: Man opens book. Credit: Getty Images)

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26 minutes

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