Annual meeting presentation explores cultural food memories

Louise Hanson

Submitted by Sophia Bennett

Friends of the Mary Cotton Public Library in Sabetha will host “Tasting the Past: Exploring Kansas Food Memories,” a presentation and discussion by Louise Hanson as part of their annual meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, in the Meeting Room at Mary Cotton Public Library.

Friends and members of the community are invited to attend the brief meeting and free program. Contact the Friends at [email protected] or the library at 785-284-3160 for more information. The program is made possible by Humanities Kansas.

Coffee, tea and ethnic baked goods will be provided to enjoy during a short business meeting and featured presentation from Louise Hanson. The Friends will be presenting updates of the organization’s activities throughout the past year, as well as conducting the election of next year’s Board of Directors. All are welcome to attend Wednesday morning.

Tasting the Past

For years, ethnic groups in Kansas have used food to maintain connections to the past. The Greek Orthodox of Overland Park observe communion with special bread called prosfero. Communities near Lindsborg remember their Swedish homeland with food celebrations that feature pickled herring, codfish and lingonberries. This presentation will explore food traditions from a number of ethnic populations in Kansas, including German, Czech, Italian, Jewish and others.

Louise Hanson is a retired librarian and researcher with over 500 Kansas cookbooks in her collection.

“Food shapes personal and social identity and ties us to the cultural past,” Hanson said. “This presentation explores the diverse ethnic food traditions in Kansas as expressed in community cookbooks over the years.”

“Tasting the Past: Exploring Kansas Food Memories” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.

As part of the morning’s presentation, Hanson also will have selected cookbooks from her collection for viewing. There also will be a display space for local heritage cookbooks and recipe collections. All are invited to bring and share their own family’s heritage cookbooks and add to the display.

About Humanities Kansas

Humanities Kansas is an independent nonprofit spearheading a movement of ideas to empower the people of Kansas to strengthen their communities and our democracy. Since 1972, our pioneering programming, grants and partnerships have documented and shared stories to spark conversations and generate insights. Together with our partners and supporters, we inspire all Kansans to draw on history, literature, ethics and culture to enrich their lives and serve the communities and state we all proudly call home. Visit


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