MSU's Cookery & Food Collection includes more than 25,000 cookbooks and food-related works from all over the world. The collection spans more than five centuries, from as early as the 16th century up to the present.
Our collection is especially strong in:
We also have significant holdings on diet, health, and nutrition -- from long-standing traditions to the latest diet fad.
Please start your work early! The majority of cookbooks in the MSU Libraries are in Special Collections, and they are available for building use only.
Location: Special Collections Reading Room - Main Library, Basement East
Hours: 9 am - 5 pm, Monday - Friday. (Also Sunday 1-5 during fall and spring semester.)
A modest number of cookbooks are in the circulating collection, in call number range TX643 to TX840 (Basement East - near but outside the entrance to Special Collections, and accessible during the longer hours that the Main Library is open.)
The basic subject heading for cookbooks is COOKING.
Many cookbooks gather recipes from a certain geographic area. This may be a broad region, a state or province, or a specific city. The subject headings will reflect this:
Cookbooks may also have headings to show what type of cuisine the recipes represent. (This is a bit confusing -- most cuisines are identified with a geographic area, such as Mexican food or Asian food. But food and recipes travel from where they started, so many cuisines can be found all over the world.)
Many cookbooks are focused on using a certain food product or ingredient, such as:
Finally, cookbooks focused on making a certain type of food generally don't have the "Cooking" subject heading. They will simply have a heading for the type of food, such as:
The library catalog defaults to keyword searching. You can use the subject terms described here in a keyword search as well as a subject search.
These are other terms often used in the subject headings for books on cooking and food history. You can often narrow your search results by adding a geographic name or the term "history."
Special Collections has some lovely examples of manuscript cookbooks from the late 17th to early 20th centuries. From oldest to newest:
Ruth Ann Jones
Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections
Michigan State University Libraries