“Cook up a storm”—get published online, plus extra attention at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School!

A Call to “Cook”: Historians Cooking the Past in the Time of COVID-19

by Stacey Zembrzycki

COVID-19 has brought so many of us into a new sort of relationship–fraught or otherwise—with cooking and food. We’ve been thinking a lot about how others have faced public and personal catastrophes, distance (social and otherwise), as well as scarcity and all of the anxieties that come with these experiences. We are struck by the way the coronavirus brings us together as a global community even as it separates us into the smallest iteration of “family” units. At the same time, we have found ourselves cooking and looking to the past for comfort, models, and inspiration to move forward.


In this vein, we have issued a call to cook, asking scholars as well as storytellers throughout the world to share a food memory and a recipe that reflects on these COVID-19 times. By “cooking the past,” we mean two things. First, we are dedicated to exploring our own compulsion to draw on familiar recipes in these troubled times. Also, “cooking,” as in “playing with” or “altering,” reflects our creative efforts to both rethink and reframe our own engagements with stories of loss, community, family, and food heritages.

New York’s 2017 suffrage centennial fans cooked up a storm! on Vimeo.

While some posts will be nostalgic, paying homage to a simpler time, we also welcome those that offer an edgy perspective on the politics of this moment and how it may be viewed as an important break with the past. If re-envisioning how we address homelessness, food insecurity, healthcare, education, and other social issues moving forward, through story and food memories, means not including a recipe, know that our framework is completely flexible.


This improv and temporary project, as well as our call to cook, is available at www.historianscookingthepast.com. If you are inspired, please consider making a contribution to the project. Our hope is to understand this pandemic through storytelling, while also documenting the particular challenges we are all facing through varied international perspectives. Regardless, please follow along as we try to understand this evolving situation as a community of storytellers, and perhaps cook and share a recipe to our kitchen.

Follow SuffrageCentennials.com. We have been publishing since 2013.

If you send us your recipe that’s accepted for the Historians Cooking the Past web platform, we’ll promote it on Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

This article is reprinted from the Historians Cooking the Past web site. Spread the word! And send us the recipe and commentary that is posted.

Suffrage Wagon Cafe is preparing a special program based on the experiences of the First Woman Reporter on The Moon. It seems like eating in space is a bit more challenging than eating on Planet earth. Stay tuned!

This entry was posted on June 19, 2020, in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.