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UTSA Libraries showcases one of largest Mexican cookbook collections
(Dec. 21, 2010) -- Do you like to cook? Better yet, do you like to eat? UTSA Libraries Special Collections recently unveiled a new blog to showcase recipes from its growing Mexican Cookbook Collection. Ranging in date from 1831 to 2010, the collection includes more than 1,050 cookbooks in English and Spanish featuring the cuisine of Mexico, Texas and the Southwest, making it one of the largest and most extensive Mexican cookery collections in the United States.
The blog, La Cocina Historica, celebrates Mexican cuisine and culinary history by posting a recipe from the past every Friday. Posts are accompanied by pictures from the cookbook where the recipe was published, along with some historical context and occasionally may include hands-on posts with library staff in the kitchen.
The core of the UTSA Mexican Cookbook Collection was donated by San Antonio resident Laurie Gruenbeck, who has collected cookbooks during her travels in Texas and Mexico for more than 30 years and continues to build the collection. One of the rarest titles from the collection is Simon Blanquel's 1831 "Novisimo Arte de Cocina," one of the first cookbooks to be published in Mexico. Although international in its coverage, it is one of the earliest cookbooks to recognize the cuisine rooted in Mexico. Blanquel's unique, saffron-spiked Arroz de Leche was the first recipe shared on La Cocina Historica.
A complete listing of titles in the Mexican Cookbook Collection is at the UTSA Libraries online catalog, UCAT. Although the cookbooks are non-circulating, both researchers and aspiring cooks are welcome to make use of the collection in the newly opened Special Collections reading room in the John Peace Library during regular hours or by appointment.
In addition to offering unique special collections, UTSA is the first university in the nation to offer a bookless brick-and-mortar library on a university or college campus. The 80-person capacity Applied Engineering and Technology Building Library, which caters to UTSA College of Sciences and College of Engineering students, is a satellite of the larger John Peace Library.
For more information, call 210-458-5505.