day 1


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“Cookbooks as Dreams of the Ideal”

Cookbooks are much more than collections of instructions to get dinner on the table. From our earliest culinary records through the present (and beyond, we predict), cookbooks document culture, technology, identity, and even aspirations. What makes cookbooks a unique resource for historians, anthropologists, sociologists and others is that most cookbooks do this unconsciously; that is, in the guise of filling a practical need for practical instruction, cookbooks teach the careful reader about the values, needs, and desires of the cookbook audience.

Chair: Betty Fussell, Writer and Lecturer

Panelists: Paul Freedman, Professor of History, Yale University, Jane Lear, Freelance Writer, Editor and Editorial Consultant; Molly O’Neill, Author


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“Behind the Numbers: Looking at Cookbook Data”
Ebook reading adoption is on the rise, and across many sections of the book industry, readers are putting down print books in favor of their digital counterparts. But what’s really going on out there? And how does that translate to ecookbook adoption over the next few years? In this presentation, Bowker will talk about what they see in their deep dive studies on reading habits, how reading is evolving between print and electronic and what that means for the world of cookbooks. They’ll also share details about a cookbook study that will answer questions on consumer demand for electronic products, pricing around specific platforms, and functionality needs.
Ted Hill, President, THA Consulting & Kelly Gallagher, Vice President, Publisher Services, Bowker


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“Consuming the Brand: Corporate Cookbooks”

Advertising the virtues of food products took place mainly in newspapers until cooking related pamphlets, which later evolved into cookbooks, emerged in the late 1800s. American corporations began issuing small, product driven cookbooks targeted at literate middle class women with the intent of ingredient early adoption and brand loyalty. Early on the materials were distributed free of charge when purchased with corporate goods, or sometimes sold for a modest price. As the nation began to purchase rather than produce goods at the household level corporate cookbooks played an important role in creating consumer demand for new products. It is during this period that food-related, corporate America rather than family tradition began to shape a sphere of the American palate. Then as now, corporate cookbooks occupy a niche in the cooking instruction domain while commodifying the American diet.

Chair: Deanna Pucciarelli, Assistant Professor, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

Panelists: Christina Ceisel, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Linda Morgan, Independent Scholar and Culinary Historian, Sausalito, CA; Bonnie Slotnick ,Owner, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks; Andrew F. Smith, New School, New York


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“Eat and Be Satisfied: Jewish Cookbooks Past, Present, and Future”

If all cookbooks tell a story, speak of a place, a time, a milieu, a trend, and tell us about history, technique, ideals, geography, agriculture, heritage, status, those that emerged from the kitchens of the Jews,  reflecting both ancient roots and diasporic wanderings, has, perhaps, resulted in a diversity even beyond the usual. Defining the cookbook category broadly–from the simple setting down of recipes, to sections of general cookbooks, to cookbooks proper, community cookbooks, and product cookbooks–this panel will explore the role of such documents in carrying Jewish culture forward, from the distant past to the present day and on into the future.

Chair: Cara De Silva, Author, Independent Scholar, New York

Panelists: Mitchell Davis, Author, Vice President, The James Beard Foundation; Gil Marks, Rabbi and Author, NY; Joan Nathan, Author, Washington, DC; Jenna Weissman-Joselit, Author, Professor, George Washington University, Washington, DC


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“Historical Cookbooks”

How are historic cookbooks relevant for today? Can we cook the past and learn directly from the process or are such sources merely tools for dry historical research? Is there a deeper reason to attempt to understand the taste preferences of our forebears and is it even possible to truly comprehend what they liked to eat without living in the same time and place and without the same contextual setting and mental framework?

Chair: Ken Albala, University of Pacific, Stockton, CA

 Panelists: Cynthia Bertelsen, Independent Scholar  Nora Rubel, University of Rochester; Francine Segan, Author of Dolci: Italy’s Sweets


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“Enhancing Content Both Online and Off”

As more content becomes readily available online, consumers are increasingly engaged by a mixed-media approach when learning about, and cooking, recipes. Video, step-by-step audio, timers, and serving size functionality are all elements that are at consumers fingertips when searching the web to answer “what’s for dinner?” As cookbook publishers continue to find ways to compete in this new arena, enhanced content has become the new norm. But how can publishers finance such video/audio projects? And how can they appropriately use them, not only within the e-book, but across the print book as well (and even as incorporated into online properties, to further drive revenue opportunity). This session will explore ways in which publishers can leverage their existing models, work with outside partners (and perhaps even their authors) to develop and implement enhanced content strategies across their content platforms, and also to discuss what shouldn’t be in an enhanced book.

Chair: Adam Salomone, Harvard Common Press

Panelists:  Rick Joyce, Perseus; Cheryl Kramer-Toto, HMH; Andrea Nisbet, Workman; Tanya Steel, Epicurious

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“Cookbooks and the African American Experience”

Description:  More than a hundred years ago white American “epicures” (the  fashionable Gilded Age term) routinely praised the genius of “mammies”  and “colored cooks” while remaining clueless about crucial details –  for instance, the surviving fragments of African culinary legacies  that illiterate and enslaved women (sometimes men) had managed to  bring to North America from Africa itself and parts of the New World African diaspora, or these people’s profound influence  on the  nation’s foodways beyond the South. Even today, neither half of the  hyphenated label “African-American” comes in for much sustained  attention from most members of the culinary “cognoscenti’. The panel  will discuss the ways in which cookbooks can illuminate the complexly  woven identities of African-Americans over the last four centuries.

Chair: Tonya Hopkins

 Panelists:  Donna Pierce, Food Historian, Journalist, Recipe Developer; Toni Tipton-Martin, Food Journalist/Cookbook Author; Michael Twitty, Culinary Historian


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“Tick-Tock: Cooking Against the Clock”

Efficiency in the kitchen has been a theme for cookbook and lifestyle writers since the eighteenth century, but minimizing time spent in cooking has become a key goal for many mid-late twentieth century cookbooks. What was once the rapid-fire “60 Minute Gourmet”  now seems like scratch haute cuisine. Time-saving strategies run the gamut and tell us about our changing technologies and values.

Chair: Cathy Kaufman, Independent Scholar

Panelists: Linda Civitello, Author and Food History Lecturer; Steve Schmidt, Writer, Teacher, Cook; Laura Shapiro, Journalist and Culinary Historian


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“Predicting Future Trends from Current Data”

New trends in cooking are emerging all the time. How can publishers keep up in an ever-quickening cycle of information, where every new development seems like the “next hot thing?” In this session, we’ll talk with agents, editors, and content creators to figure out how they separate what’s popular now from what will sell in years to come, and we’ll take the lessons from what works in cookbooks and apply it to real world publishing programs.

Chair: Lisa Ekus, Principal of The Lisa Ekus Group

Panelists: Lynn Andriani, Food Editor,; Irena Chalmers, Cookbook Author; Suzanne Rafer, Editor, Workman Publishing; Dan Rosenberg, HCP Cookbook Editor


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“Brave New World: Who Needs an Old-Fashioned Literary Agent?”

The world of cookbook publishing has changed dramatically even in the last 2-3 years, and it might seem—with all the web at an editor’s feet and e-books selling a million copies—that agents are no longer a necessary part of the process. Five top cookbook agents make the case for why the traditional middleman may—and may not—still be relevant.

Chair: Sharon Bowers, Partner, The Miller Agency

Panelists: Janis Donnaud, Janis Donnaud Associates; Alison Fargis, Stonesong Press; Stacey Glick, Dystel and Goderich; Jennifer Unter, The Unter Agency


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“A New York Food State of Mind in Food Writing and Cookbooks”

New York’s history of extraordinary capitol in its land, skies and waters, its people, their communities and foodways provides a similarly rich context for expressions through food. Cookbooks and food writing—both contemporary and historic—will be discussed for the New York people- and placed-based pictures they paint through words and recipes.

Chair: Annie Hauck-Lawson, President, The Association for the Study of Food and Society, Co-editor, Gastropolis: Food and New York City 

Panelists: Jonathan Deutsch, Associate Professor, Kingsborough Community College and CUNY Graduate Center; Cindy R. Lobel,  Assistant Professor of History, Lehman College, CUNY;  Peter Rose, Author/Food Historian specializing in Historic Dutch Foodways of the Hudson Valley

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“Media Outlets in the Digital World”

Whether in traditional or digital forms, the cookbook review/author interview is one of the all important pieces to any cookbook publicity campaign. As the publishing/media landscape becomes evermore crowded, publishers have to become more focused in who they pitch and how. In many cases, the straight press release with an offer for an interview just isn’t enough and getting creative with both pitches and content can be the difference in getting a big publicity hit. On this panel, we’ll hear from a number of media representatives in about how they’ve seen publishers innovate, what they’re looking for in this new media landscape, and how their own content initiatives are changing (and how publishers can capitalize on that change).  

Chair: Mark Rotella, Publisher’s Weekly Editor

Panelists: Addie Broyles, Austin American-Statesman Food Writer; Melissa Clark, New York Times Writer, Editor at;  Caroline RussockJoe Yonan, Washington Post


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“Cookbooks in Libraries: Gateways to Food Studies”

Libraries are treasure troves of traditional, digital and human resources not always known to people.  Cookbook authors and other food writers interested in locating historic and cultural contexts for their work will hear about library resources and their many uses.

Chair: Barbara Haber,  Research Librarian and Food Historian

Panelists: Rebecca Federman, New York Public Library; Kathryn Allamong Jacob, Curator of Manuscripts at the Schlesinger Library, Cambridge, MA; Krishnendu Ray, New York University


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“Feast for the Eye? Food Styling, Photography, and Cookbook Design”

The look and feel of cookbooks has changed dramatically over the centuries, from the authoritarian Black Letter of early English works to the gastro-pornography of lavishly illustrated modern cookbooks. This panel examines the ways in which cookbooks visually communicate our culinary concepts, from photography and art work to typography to layout and design.  We will examine what has sold, what sells now, and what the future may hold.

Chair: John F. Carafoli, Food Stylist, Consultant and Food Writer

Panelists:  Roy Finamore, Author, Editor and Prop Stylist; Melissa Hamilton, Canal House Cooking; Christopher Hirsheimer, Canal House Cooking; Maricel Presilla


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“Strategic Partnerships in Online Content”

Food startups abound as the barriers to entry in the food/tech space begin to fall. Not a day goes by that there doesn’t seem to be a new recipe website, and even beyond cooking in the kitchen, entrepreneurs are developing new ways to interact with food on the web. With this emerging marketplace comes an enormous need for content, especially curated content from cookbooks and publishers are uniquely poised to deliver value in this new space. And, there’s also the potential for disruption of current ways that publishers operate both online and off. With this session, we’ll be examining the current startup ecosystem within food, looking towards emerging companies (and some of the bigger players that are coming on the scene), exploring ways that publishers can benefit both through new revenue streams and marketing potential, and identifying potential sticking points for content creators as more of these companies come on the scene.  

Chair: Geoff Allen, Founder and CEO,

Panelists:  Dave Feller, Founder and CEO, Yummly; Jane Kelly, Co-founder, Eat Your Books; Will Schwalbe, Founder,; Jonathan Vlock, CEO and Co-Founder, CookingPlanIt








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