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The Special Collections unit of the Michigan State University Libraries collects, houses, and preserves rare and unique materials within the MSU Libraries. Our materials cover a vast array of topics from Africana to Veterinary Medicine. These materials are available to the public in our reading room.
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Prior to 1796 five cookery books, all reprints of popular British works, were published in this country. Then in 1796 in Hartford, Connecticut, Amelia Simmons published her American Cookery - the first true American cookbook. While some of her recipes were borrowed from English cookbooks, the originality of her work lies in her use of indigenous American produce like pumpkins and corn. The first known appearance of recipes for corn meal, Indian pudding, Johnny or hoe cakes, and Indian slapcakes are here. Special Collections holds one of four copies of the first edition, second printing of American Cookery (Northampton, 1798), which follows word for word the text of the first printing and is thought to be from the hands of the same printer. It was acquired with funds from the Beatrice V. Grant Endowment Fund for Rare Cookery Books.