chapter  8
19 Pages

Kids in the kitchen

Danish cookbooks for children, 1847–2014
WithCaroline Nyvang, Jonatan Leer

This paper investigates how changing ideals of food and childhood have intersected in children’s printed cookbooks. It focuses on historical Danish cookbooks published between 1847 – when the first cookbook aimed at children was issued in Denmark – and 2014. Within this timeframe more than 200 cookbooks were published in an attempt to get children – boys and girls – involved in domestic cooking. The chapter presents an analysis of the textual and visual content of these publications and discusses the findings in relation to broader changes in the pedagogical and culinary scene in Denmark. We show how changing author groups have embraced the child as both a highly impressionable and empowered individual that holds an instinctive approach to food that is often juxtaposed with that of the adult. In the course of the 1970s the publication rate increased dramatically, and the genre was increasingly diversified in terms of culinary and ideological ideals. This chapter thus suggests that while the earlier periods focus on Danish cuisine and ideals of cleanliness, more recent publications emphasize other fruitful aspects of home cooking. The chapter also demonstrates how the genre reflects changing patterns in consumer culture from traditional household economy ethics (in the early 20th century) to women’s entrance to the labour market (1960s and ’70s) and to rising attention towards ethical consumption in an industrialized food culture from the 1990s and on.