Culinary ephemera, including recipe booklets and food and appliance advertising pamphlets, were published from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century by American government organizations, farming organizations, food companies, household appliance companies, and life insurance companies. They provide insight into social and cultural history, particularly related to attitudes about nutrition, health, and eating habits, especially with the rise in packaged and mass-produced foods; home economics and rationing, particularly during wartime; gender roles, especially the role of the housewife in relation to cooking, domestic tasks, and home economics; and marketing of food products and kitchen appliances to consumers.
Early pamphlets are simple in design and focus mostly on desserts. By the 1920s, pamphlets tend to be vibrantly illustrated. During the Great Depression and World War I and II eras, pamphlets emphasize economy and faster, easier, food preparation. The image of the idealized wife as homemaker peaks in the 1950s. By the 1970s, the publication of pamphlets dwindles, with more Americans relying on prepared foods.
Culinary Pamphlets Online, accessed 4 March 2021, https://culinarypamphletsonline.omeka.net