Cynthia Bertelsen trained as an historian, librarian, and nutritionist and is the author of Mushroom: A Global History and A Hastiness of Cooks: A Practical Handbook for Use in Deciphering the Mysteries of Historic Recipes and Cookbooks. Volunteering with the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Group at Virginia Tech for over ten years provided her with a deeper knowledge of historic cookbooks. And her cooking skills blossomed through years of living and working in various countries, specifically Mexico, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, Morocco, and Burkina Faso. Cynthia also attended cooking classes in Paris, France at Le Cordon Bleu École de Cuisine et de Pâtisserie. In 2011, the International Association of Culinary Professionals awarded her a Julia Child Independent Scholar grant to study the impact of immigration on the future of French cuisine.
Cynthia Bertelsen will present her book, A Hastiness of Cooks, on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 2:30 in Meeting Room A.
A Hastiness of Cooks: A Practical Handbook for Use in Deciphering the Mysteries of Historic Recipes and Cookbooks, For Living-History Reenactors, Historians, Writers, Chefs, Archaeologists, and, of course, Cooks
Thanks to digitization, hundreds of historic cookbooks are now available online. However, several stumbling blocks―archaic language, obtuse instructions, bewildering ingredients, etc.―prevent many dedicated cooks, novelists, historical reenactors, researchers, and others from benefiting fully from these resources. And that’s where Cynthia Bertelsen’s book A Hastiness of Cooks comes in. It shows readers step-by-step how to 1) recreate historic recipes and 2) analyze cookbooks for telling details that add hints of authenticity to the daily dinner table, culinary reenactments at a Renaissance fair or historic site, a banquet scene in a Tudor-era novel, a Games of Thrones party, and perhaps an unusual scholarly paper. Lavishly illustrated with black-and-white ink drawings by Chicago artist Courtney Nzeribe, “A Hastiness of Cooks” brings the world of historic cookbooks to life, to the kitchen, and now to the library!