Berlin cooks: the main thing is creative

by time news

BerlinWe are talking about a cookbook, not a cookbook. There is no “you should do this, but never that” advice, but rather a delightful look at the kitchens in Berlin over the past 200 years. Ten stories are told by women who used their knowledge of the most important place in the home – the kitchen – to build their own careers within the narrow confines of society.

They discovered that cooking and writing cookbooks offered opportunities for development, independent action and money-making. There was also something subversive about that: she plays her role – and far more than that.

The historian Birgit Jochens introduces the Berlin cookbook authors, “Between Ambition and Rebellion”, that’s also the title. The extent of ambition and rebellion differed. This is how a cultural and historical picture is formed.

The book

Title: “Between ambition and rebellion, careers of Berlin cookbook authors”

Author: Birgit Jochens

Verlag: Vbb, Berlin 2021, 192 pages

Price: 25 Euro

Excursions inserted between the women’s stories illuminate the environment: These cooks worked in black kitchens over open fires, bought from Höker women or at the market, had to deal with food fraud, and got to know an early convenience product, the pea sausage. One chapter is devoted to the Germans’ passion for soups, one for men, one for children.

The series begins with Frederike Helene Unger (1751–1813). She was lucky enough to be the wife of a publisher and to be part of the first cookbook boom around 1800.

Sophie Wilhelmine Scheibler (1758–1845 / 49?) Became a popular author with her work “General German Cookbook for Bourgeois Households”, which was printed hundreds of thousands of times. It was published in 1815, when the woman had given birth to nine children, was a widow and 57 years old.

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Cook, help, enjoy

Lina Morgenstern (1830–1909) wrote books, founded associations, published the German Housewife’s Newspaper, had children and, in 1866, organized the first people’s kitchens in Berlin. She gathered her experiences in the “Illustrated Universal Cookbook for the Healthy and the Sick”.

In the case of Ottilie Palfy (1833–1904), writing a cookbook (“The right and cheap nutrition”) was combined with extensive social work: She ran an institution for “mentally ill women”, worked as an orphan carer and struggled to educate people about good ones Nutrients and housekeeping.

Elise Hannemann (1849–1934) headed the cooking and household school of the Berlin Lette Association from 1888, and dealt with the nutrition of the sick. Your cookbook is based on rational cooking and nutrition.

Beauty, fashion, health

Hedwig Heyl (1850–1834) published the “ABC of the Kitchen”, 900 pages, scientifically high-quality, a huge success. As a practical woman – entrepreneur, social politician and founder of social institutions – she made enormous strides for women’s rights.

Julie Elias (1866–1943), art-loving, urbane and educated, collected recipes at “enjoyable gatherings” of the Berlin society. From this and from French finds, the “Breviary of fine cuisine” was the first to emerge.

Ruth von Schüching (1880–1965) ventured into professional life shortly after 1900: As Ruth Goetz she wrote literary and journalistic, studied medicine, was interested in the women’s movement, but didn’t believe in buzzwords as long as the “proof of equal performance” was not achieved . She wrote cookery and advice books on beauty, fashion, health such as “Success through a good way of life”.

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Lilo Aureden (1912 – unknown) gave the women of the West Economic Miracle mega-bestsellers such as the cookbook “What men tastes so good” and “Be beautiful – stay beautiful”. Men bewitch, bold and self-confident – they liked that.

Last but not least, Ursula Winnington (born 1928) represents the joyful GDR woman. Recipe examples are enclosed with each portrait.


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