The cookbook explosion of the past two decades has not been limited to the new and exotic. Scholars and cooks have been looking back as well, finding forgotten recipes in America's culinary history.
No region has been more rewarding than the South, in no small part because a preoccupation with entertaining has been a regional characteristic there. And over the years, women published recipe collections.
Three of the best have been reissued this year by the University of South Carolina Press in a "First Cookbooks in America series:" "The Virginia House-wife," by Mary Randolph (1824); "The Kentucky Housewife," by Lettice Bryan (1939); and "The Carolina Housewife," by Sarah Rutledge (1847).