This term Dartmouth College Library is proud to promote an exhibit by our current Edward Connery Lathem '51 Special Collections Fellow, Jaime Eeg '18, titled "Let's Get Lunch: An Exhibit for the Discerning Palate." The exhibit highlights cookbooks from our rare book collections and will be on display at Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall, upstairs in the Class of 1965 Galleries, from April 5th through June 7th, 2019.
We all need food. Without it, we cannot survive. Yet the human relationship with food is intricate, complex, and varies widely across individuals and cultures. Our relationship with food can be at once deeply personal and private while also serving as a bridge to connect with others, sometimes meaningfully and sometimes just superficially. We've all heard the old platitude, "let's get lunch sometime," a statement upon which potential connections can either flourish or wither. Given the opportunity, food has the power to draw us in and connect us with each other, just as cookbooks can connect us to the people and cultures who created them.
Food can also help us build communities. Shared experience helps create strong foundations between individuals and larger groups of people, and shared meals are a common avenue for those experiences. Just as food helps us build meaningful connections across groups, an understanding of the food from another culture or time helps foster deeper, meaningful understanding of those cultures and times. Cookbooks can offer a valuable way to access that potential for understanding.
And food can simply be fun! Cooking and cookbooks can be artistic or experimental, and cooking or eating together complements and strengthens existing relationships. Meals are an excellent excuse to spend quality time with people we care about. After all, we all need food.
If you're hungry for more about food and Dartmouth, come take a look at the selected recipes at Special Collections. Also, stay connected on social media for updates about opportunities to sample some actual treats made from the recipes in the exhibit. If you can't make it over to the exhibit in person, you can read more about it online here.