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A new year, a new blog


It's the first day of school! Things are looking fresh and new here on campus, including this blog which has officially moved to a new location. You can find all of our posts -- old and new -- at

Please sign up there for our email updates if that's how you like to keep up with the blog.

Kirschner Collection Survey: How do You Use the Collection?


Have you used the Kirschner Collection to find a recipe, do research, spend an enjoyable afternoon browsing the cookbooks, or anything else? If so, I'd really like to hear from you. I'm conducting a survey of Kirschner Collection users to find out who uses the collection and how. Knowing more about you will help me to grow the collection. You can get to the survey here, or contact me ( and we can chat in person or over the phone.

Kirschner Collection Shelf

First Fridays Talk, Dec. 7th

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The University Libraries' Archives & Special Collections have asked me to come give a talk about the Kirschner Collection. It's free and happening this week (along with another talk about the Immigration History Research Center.) I'll be giving an introduction to the Kirschner Collection, and talking about some of the stories cookbooks can tell us. Here are the details:

What's the Big Idea? First Fridays, December 2012

What: Two presentations

1. "From the Old 'New' Immigrants to the New 'New' Immigrants: Fifty Years of Collecting Immigrant Stories," presented by the Immigration History Research Center.

2. "Thousands of Cookbooks: Research, History, and Feeding a Family," presented by the Kirschner Cookbook Collection.

When: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, Noon to 1 p.m.

Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library, 222 21st Ave. S.

Feel free to bring your lunch. Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public.

Parking information

"What's the Big Idea, First Fridays," is a series of intellectually stimulating talks at Elmer L. Andersen Library. Each month's presentation is based on materials in the University of Minnesota Libraries' Archives and Special Collections.

Food Day 2012

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I wanted to let you all know about this very fun event next week -- the Food Day Expo at the University of Minnesota. We'll have a Kirschner Collection table there where we'll be handing out recipes, brochures, and treats. See you there!

Food Day 11x17 PosterFinal updated 10_10.png

Welcome Back, Students!


The school year has started and the Kirschner Collection is buzzing with new students. Last week, three teams of students competing the CFANS Amazing Race came to the Kirschner Collection where they spun our wheel of topics, were given a theme (e.g. Lady Gaga), and then had to find as many cookbooks or recipes as they could relating to their theme. Each of the students took home a reusable snack bag courtesy of the Collection. Check out our slideshow from the competition:

We also had thousands of first year students come through the library for orientation last week, where they were introduced to a variety of library resources to help them survive at the U of MN. We had ten recipes from the Kirschner Collection available for students to take with them, and we demonstrated how to make grilled cheese sandwiches in a dorm room using an iron and aluminum foil. We made hundreds of these sandwiches! Here is volunteer Jackie displaying a finished product:


Cooking With Science

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Our chemistry librarian recently alerted me of this upcoming lecture on physics and cooking here at the U of M. Sounds very interesting!


Public Lecture by David Weitz

Physics and Cooking

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (January 2012) - Do you want to understand how (and why) food foams are made or why the elasticity of steak matters? Why do some chefs use liquid nitrogen (at about -320 degrees F) to freeze ingredients? The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota is proud to announce a public lecture given by Professor David Weitz on February 9, 2012. Dr. Weitz' lecture is entitled "Physics and Cooking" and is inspired by understanding the science of pioneering approaches to preparation and presentation of foods at several famous restaurants.

This talk will present some examples of physics and science of cooking and will include demonstrations. The examples are based on an introductory science course offered at Harvard University by Weitz and a team of chefs, including Ferran Adria, and the AlĂ­cia Foundation, that explores a new way of motivating interest in science and teaching it to non-scientists. The theme of the course is the connections between cooking, soft matter physics, materials science and organic chemistry. The science of several innovative techniques in cooking, including foams and use of gelation, as well as more common processes, will be explored.

Weitz received his Ph.D. from Harvard. He worked at Exxon Research and Engineering as a research physicist for nearly 18 years, and then became a Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He moved to Harvard about 12 years ago, and is currently Professor of Physics and Applied Physics. He is also the director of Harvard's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. He helped arrange the establishment of the BASF Advance Research Initiative at Harvard, which he co-directs. His research interests are in soft matter physics and biophysics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

This public lecture will be held in 150 Tate Laboratory of Physics and will begin at 7:00 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.


Cherry Before Dissolving
If you want to start thinking about the science of food in advance (or after!), the Kirschner Collection offers an interesting perspective. Three titles of particular interest are:

Craig, S. E. W. (1911). Scientific cooking with scientific methods . Standard Pub. Co.

Lowe, B. (1943). Experimental cookery from the chemical and physical standpoint. (Third.). New York: J. Wiley & sons, inc.

McGee, H. (1992). The curious cook: more kitchen science and lore. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Beaker image "Cherry Before Dissolving" CC BY-SA, Randal Cooper.