Whether issued by a public grammar school, a clapboard country church, or a starched-tablecloth ladies' volunteer society, a community cookbook belongs to a class wholly different from any other type of book in your library. Its clunky typeface, weak binding, tacky section dividers, and utterly nonsensical title pages plainly give away its proletarian origins. Of course, for the purposes of scholarship, there is nothing at all wrong with such humble beginnings. While once exiled by elitist librarians to the lowly and shameful book sale shelf hidden away in the corner, community cookbooks are now well recognized as rich sources for studying women's and community history and have achieved a deserved place in library special collections. The collection of Mississippi cookbooks at McCain Library & Archives at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), from which I honed the special skills and undying patience needed to catalog these items, provided the examples featured in this article. Despite the community cookbook's new trendy status, their modest birth still ought to be a warning to catalogers that they are not at all easy to describe in a MARC catalog record.



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