Cooking in Oz: Designing Instruction and Packaging Nostalgia
thesisposted on 28.10.2014, 00:00 by Gretchen Neidhardt
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cookbook synthesizes childhood memories of food and stories to create an intensely nostalgic experience for its readers. The cookbook is separated into sections based on Dorothy’s journey through Oz with recipes referring to specific characters and events. Written by Monica Bayley and published in 1981, the book uses visual cues to provoke memories of the original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. Even the titles remain almost exactly the same, despite the shortening to The Wizard of Oz in many subsequent adaptations. W. W. Denslow’s original illustrations are used throughout the book, as well as quotes from L. Frank Baum. Both serve to situate the reader within the story and prompt the reader to recall experiences of reading the original novel. A history of Oz- related memorabilia is discussed, as well as the effectiveness of a popular culture touchstone as a marketing tool. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cookbook is not merely a piece of memorabilia; it is also an instructional text and fits within the category of children’s cookbooks. The history of cookery instruction for children is reflected in this volume. There is a distinct difference in the way that cooking instruction for children is directed. The recipes in this book do fit into the Oz storyline, but instead are Bayley’s family recipes, reflecting mid-century middle-class Americana home cooking. Readers reminisce about this type of food, remembering it while reading and then physically recreating the experience when making the recipes. These food memories, along with the childhood memories of the Oz fairytale, provoke nostalgia in the reader and lead her to reach back through reminisces of both taste and imagination.