The Iowa Cookbook Collection
~Collection Highlights~








  The Iowa State Connection...  

Mary B. Welch

  Mary Welch was born in 1841 in Lyons, New York.  Mrs. Welch was the wife of the first president of Iowa State College, and she  organized and headed the first Department of Domestic Economy from 1875-1883 at Iowa State.  Her department focused on the natural sciences and their application to domestic economy.  Mrs. Welch is also credited to having initiated the first extension efforts at a land grant institution when she taught classes to women in Des Moines.  Her writings include Mrs. Welch's Cookbook, a text book for her students.  Mrs. Welch resigned from her position in 1883.


Lenore Sullivan

Ms. Sullivan served as a professor in the Department of Institutional Management from  1936 to 1967.  She authored several editions of the Quantity Cooking File (located in Special Collections TX820 Su54q3).  It was used as the text for student serving luncheons in the ISU Tea Room.  Her book, What to Cook for Company, also became very popular.


Ruth Ellen Church

"Mary Meade"

Ruth Ellen Church was born in 1909 and graduated from Iowa State University in 1933 with a degree in food and nutrition journalism.  For thirty-eight years, Ms. Church  served as the Chicago Tribune food editor and wrote a syndicated food column for the Tribune under the pen name Mary Meade from 1936 to 1974.  Later, Ms. Church would abandon her pen name while continuing to write books on food and drink as well as authoring the nation's first newspaper wine column.  

From Special Collections...

The Neighbor Lady


  Sixty years ago, Wynn Speece began broadcasting her Neighbor Lady show at WNAX Radio.  Though WNAX is actually a South Dakota radio station, many Iowa listeners tuned in for Mrs. Speece's inspirational words and tasty recipes.  Mrs. Speece constantly received these recipes from her listeners and shared them with her audience.  The Neighbor Lady can still be heard on WNAX FM 104.1.   

Evelyn Birkby

  Author of seven books and countless hours of radio, Evelyn Birkby is a hallmark of Iowa cookery.  Mrs. Birkby began her work in 1949 with a column in the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel, then made the jump to radio in 1950 with the KMA radio station with her "Down a Country Lane" program.  In 1955, Mrs. Birkby began working on a different project for KMA entitled "Kitchen-Klatter" as a writer and broadcaster.  Kitchen Klatter was broadcast over six states, and Mrs. Birkby continued her work there until 1983.  At that point, she began working full-time for KMA as head of their book department.  Besides being an author and radio personality, Evelyn Birkby has continued to be an active citizen on the local and state levels.  She and her husband Robert currently make their home on an acreage in Sidney, Iowa.  


On the shelves...

Fresh From Terrace Hill
           Fresh From Terrace Hill is a collection of recipes, pictures, and stories from the Terrace Hill, the governor's mansion in Des Moines.  Beautifully presented, this book includes recipes from across the state as well as special family recipes of Governor Tom and First Lady Christine Vilsack.  Other cookbooks from Terrace Hill include A Taste of Terrace Hill and Recipes and Recollections of Terrace Hill.

Best of the Best
Best of the Best state cookbooks are published by Quail Ridge Press.  Best of the Best from Iowa is a sampling from the best 89 cookbooks in Iowa, including books compiled by junior leagues, community organizations, popular restaurants, and individuals.

From the covered bridges of Madison County, to the baseball Field of Dreams, to Grant Wood's farmland, the bounty of delicious food is everywhere!  Such traditional treats as Swedish Meatballs, Dutch Handkerchiefs, Iowa Corn Pancakes, Rhubarb Crisp, and Stuffed Pork Chops are just a sampling of what you can expect from the Hawkeye State...Bring the best Iowa recipes into your own kitchen.  From hundreds of creative Iowa cooks, from eighty-nine outstanding Iowa cookbooks, most of these recipes are can't-wait-to-try-easy...all are make-it-again delicious!" (taken from the Quail Ridge Press website: