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Cookbook Series

About the Series


For 50 cents at a garage sale, I bought a cookbook published in 1943, The Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook. The recipes and household suggestions come from the period in which conflicting expectations of women resulted in the burden of many roles, but this book was geared to middle- and upper- middleclass conventional mainstream homemakers. 



The book sets the context: a conventional, married female with family as the cook and center of the home, wartime shortages necessitating the thrifty use of ingredients at hand, and an emphasis upon nutrition with aesthetic presentation. The numerous recipes evidence a slight nod to regionalism, but little to indicate the multitude of ethnic influences already a part of North American food preparation.

CBS8 BluePlate 16X20 Mixed Media on boar
Blueplate Special 16X20
Mixed Media on board
CBS7 I Scream 13X17 Mixed Media on board
I Scream 13X17 Mixed Media on board

My series explores some of the assumptions made by the book’s editors and the culture of the early 1940s and I have portrayed some of the conflicting roles expected of women of the time, including the resulting repressed anger experienced by some. 



While a small number of women were recruited to work in wartime industry (Rosie the Riveter), most had few career options and continued to be defined by their ability to create a home and family, run a household, and to provide money-saving, delicious, attractive, nutritious meals. 

I have used a variety of mixed media treatments from selected parts of this cookbook:  book cover and binding, individual recipes, food and preparation technique pictures and text.  I chose collage and paint as the best way to incorporate these elements.  Although I’ve used several conventional canvases, in most cases I’ve used supports recycled from garage sales and thrift shops (and in one case, sewn) in keeping with the shortages of the 1940s and with my own philosophy of re-use. 

CBS9 Sauce Reduction  12X36 Mixed Media
Sauce Reduction 16X20 Mixed Media on board
CBS1 Spoons 12X16 Mixed Media on canvas_
Spoons 12X16 Mixed Media on canvas
CBS5 CoverHouse 8X12X2 Mixed Media on bo
Coverhouse 8X12X2 Mixed Media on board
Measuring 7X12 Mixed Media on board
CBS3 Measuring 7X12 Mixed Media on board
CBS4 Pink Bars 16X20 Mixed Media on canv
Pink Bars 16X20 Mixed Media on canvas
CBS2 Wishbone 14X18 Mixed Media on board
Wishbone 14X16X2 Mixed Media on board
CBS6 Apron 12X37 Mixed Media.JPG
Apron 12X37X3 Mixed Media
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