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June 27, 2009

Culinary Historians of Southern California

People with a passion for food beyond the knife and fork founded the Culinary Historians of Southern California in 1995 as an affiliate of the Los Angeles Public Library. Typical of library patrons, they sought an intellectual as well as gastronomic approach to food, but not at the expense of taking themselves so seriously that they would forget to have fun.

Today’s membership of about 250 men and women spans a range of ages and occupations. It comprises not only food professionals, from chefs, writers and academics to product purveyors and restaurateurs, but also people in fields such as marketing, television, theatre, and museums. And then there are those simply intrigued by the mysteries of food and pleasures of the table.

What they do:
• They have fun learning about food history, trends and social implications of what and how we eat.
• They present monthly forums, generally the second Saturday of the month at the Los Angeles Central Library, with refreshments that illustrate the lecture. These events are free and open to the public.
• They contribute to the library’s culinary collections, one of the most extensive in the country. It includes more than 18,000 cookbooks. Of note are 1,000 cookbooks published in California and the largest collection of Mexican cookbooks in the United States.
• They dine out and create culinary celebrations.

Sounds like a group I should get involved in! Annual membership is only $25.00 for individuals, and $40.00 for households. Your membership dues are completely tax deductible. Their membership benefits are detailed on their website, but I'm especially excited about their free monthly forums (which don't require membership). Here's a link to CHSC's calendar, so you can write these down.

Their next event is a yearly fund raiser, a used cookbook sale held at the Hollywood Farmers Market on August 16th. I hear it's a happening event, and books are sold for as little as a quarter! I know I won't miss this one.

Where do you find your favorite cookbooks? Do you have an addiction to them like mine? Which ones do you use most? What bits of culinary history can you share? Leave me a comment on the blog.

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