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SD County Fair to Showcase Culinary
Gems From UCSD Libraries’ AIWF Collection

“Consuming Passion” to be exhibited in Tour of Tastes exhibit during San Diego County Fair June 11-July 5

June 08, 2010

By Dolores Davies

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Amidst the deep-fried s’mores, macaroni and cheese balls, and giant cinnamon rolls, visitors to this year’s San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, will get a birds-eye view of a treasure trove of rare and iconic materials from UC San Diego’s Mandeville Special Collections Library that depict our fascinating culinary history and culture.

In honor of this year’s theme at the Fair—Taste the Fun—“Consuming Passion: Books on Food & Drink from UC San Diego’s American Institute of Wine & Food Culinary Collection,” will be on display in the Del Mar Fairground’s Tour of Tastes exhibit during the Fair’s three-week duration.

UCSD’s American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) Culinary Collection was established in 1991, with an initial gift from the AIWF of approximately 360 rare cookbooks and other materials documenting culinary history, dating back to the 17th century.  Thanks to significant gifts of material from interested parties, as well as an endowment created by the San Diego AIWF board, the collection has grown to include more than 5,000 books, manuscripts, and other materials, and has exceptional strength in materials from California, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim region.  

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Julia Child, who founded the AIWF with Robert Mondavi in 1981, presided over the AIWF at the time the nation’s premier culinary organization bestowed its archive to the UCSD Libraries. The UCSD AIWF collection includes such marvels as Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera dell’arte del cucinare (1610), featuring a series of woodcuts depicting culinary implements from the Renaissance kitchen—including the first depiction ever of a knife, fork, and spoon together—and Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery (1814), recognized as the first truly American cookbook.  Chocolate afficionados will appreciate the collection’s Acerca del chocolate (1730), a manuscript from Mexico that attempts to rebut the Church’s strictures against the consumption of chocolate. 

Earlier this year, UCSD’s AIWF Culinary Collection was augmented by the donation of the personal archive of Jan Weimer, a giant in the food world and a celebrated master of all things food-related.  Weimer, who died in 2007, was the food editor of Bon Appétit magazine from 1981 to 1989, and has been credited with introducing groundbreaking innovations in American Cuisine. 
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A prolific writer, editor, and Cordon Bleu-trained cook, she authored hundreds of articles and numerous books on a startling array of food-related topics, from food sourcing and kitchen design to hors d’oeuvres and Asian cuisine.  Her archive includes more than 1200 volumes, original manuscripts and articles, collectible special dinner menus, and scrapbooks, as well as her personal correspondence with her many friends and clients in the food world, including Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, and Simone Beck. 

The Mandeville Special Collections Library is a major repository for rare and distinctive books, periodicals, maps, photographs, art works, recordings, and a wide range of archives to support teaching and scholarly research at UC San Diego.  The Library houses many irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind collections, including:  the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection, the largest collection of its kind in the world; extensive holdings on California history and culture and Baja California history and politics; the Archive for New Poetry, one of the most comprehensive collections of post-1945 American poetry; and the Dr. Seuss Collection, a significant repository of  the original art and works of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), which includes more than 10,000 items documenting the full range of Geisel’s creative achievements. 

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The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that comprise the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university's nine libraries. The Libraries' vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries' Web site.


Media Contact: Dolores Davies, 858.534.0667 or ddavies@ucsd.edu

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