UTSA Makes Public Its Mexican Cookbook Collection
February 13, 2020 9:48 AM   Subscribe

UTSA has made public its digitized Mexican cookbook collection. According to Atlas Obscura, UTSA is not only attempting to digitize its fragile collection, but also transcribing it. “I’ve had students in tears going through these, because it’s so powerful to see that connection with how their family makes certain dishes and where they originated,” says (UTSA Special Collections Librarian Stephanie) Noell.
posted by toastyk (12 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
UTSA: University of Texas at San Antonio.
posted by zamboni at 10:02 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


So here is what they seem to have available online. It shows 48 items. I'm going to assume this is a work in progress, or am I missing something?
posted by -t at 10:19 AM on February 13


-t, correct, according to Atlas Obscura: Toward that end, the UTSA has stepped up digitization efforts to get the majority of their older books—in particular the fragile, one-of-a-kind manuscript cookbooks—not just scanned but transcribed, so the contents are searchable. About half of the approximately 100 manuscript cookbooks have been digitized so far.
posted by toastyk at 10:29 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the clarification toastyk.
posted by -t at 10:31 AM on February 13


This is wonderful, thank you for sharing it!!
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:03 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


100? That’s all?!

Mexico (the country) covers a pretty wide range of culture, climate and ethnicity. I would have thought there were way more than 100 books. Maybe not to the level of France, where every French chef has their own version of everything, but, ... seems a bit small.
posted by drivingmenuts at 12:12 PM on February 13


There are 100 fragile, one-of-a-kind manuscript cookbooks, not total cookbooks.

UTSA’s Mexican Cookbook Collection includes over 2,000 titles in English and Spanish documenting the variety and history of Mexican cuisine from 1789 to the present, with most books dating from 1940-2000.

posted by Stewriffic at 12:25 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Thank you, toastyk! I sent this to my parents who are in a Spanish book club. They have fantastic pot lucks. :)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 12:25 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


This is a fraction of their total collection. Per the first link in the OP, UTSA’s Mexican Cookbook Collection includes over 2,000 titles in English and Spanish documenting the variety and history of Mexican cuisine from 1789 to the present, with most books dating from 1940-2000. In addition to broad general coverage, the collection includes concentrations in the areas of regional cooking, healthy and vegetarian recipes, corporate advertising cookbooks, and manuscript recipe books.

The Atlas Obscura headline notes that this digitization is focused on "Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks," so that 100 cookbooks, of which 48 have currently bee digitized, is a subset of the total collection.

(As Stewriffic noted.)
posted by filthy light thief at 12:25 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Oh man, handwritten cookbooks are a treasure, so getting them digitized is a wonderful addition to the internet. All of that delicious Mexican food, just waiting to be made!
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 1:17 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Even 2000 is not very many cookbooks, but then my impression is that cookbooks are much rarer in Mexican culture than they are in American or Canadian culture. It seems like people either have recipes passed down from parents written out or just taught directly.

Maybe not to the level of France, where every French chef has their own version of everything

If you get into the details of how to make tamales, you will definitely find that everyone in Mexico has their own recipe, even for the basic procedure, let alone the fillings.
posted by ssg at 2:55 PM on February 13


And that those recipes don't lend themselves to being written down, since "until it feels like _this_" isn't going to be helpful in print.
posted by hades at 4:05 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


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