© photo by Jeff Day

(2020-2021) The South African Jewish Cookbook Project

Digital Humanities Seed Grant Project

Project Title: The South African Jewish Cookbook Project

Principal Investigator: Gavin Beinart-Smollan, History / Hebrew and Judaic Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Science

Abstract: The South African Jewish Cookbook Project will digitize a corpus of 50 community cookbooks, created by South African Jewish women during the apartheid era. It will unite the cookbooks, collected from a broad range of institutions and private individuals spread across the globe, into a single digital collection. The project will present the cookbooks on a curated website, where users will be able to search, browse, and interact with the books, and read a series of interlinked encyclopedia-style articles exploring the wider significance of the cookbook corpus for South African and Jewish culture, history, and culinary practice. The project will be of particular value to members of the South African Jewish diaspora, particularly those interested in culinary heritage, communal history, and genealogical research, as well as for scholars working on topics relating to South Africa, food, Judaism, race, gender, and the postwar period. It will actively engage the public, encouraging users to contribute cookbooks and share written and video memories relating to the cookbooks and to South African Jewish food culture.