What’s Cooking at Columbia: A Recipe Book

It’s well-established that a Columbia degree can be a recipe for success, but it turns out that a Columbia cook of the 1940s could also make any meal a success.

That’s clear by leafing through a spiral-bound cookbook called What’s Cooking at Columbia: A Recipe Book, originally confected during World War II and updated in 1948. Its light blue cover shows the iconic Alma Mater statue with a steaming cooking pot in one hand, a spoon in the other, and wearing a chef’s toque.

The year was 1942, and a committee of Columbia faculty wives supported the war effort by compiling recipes from soups and canapés to hot puddings and frozen desserts. Published by Columbia University Press, the cookbook raised money for the University Committee for War Relief. All proceeds for the book, as the Columbia Spectator noted at the time, went “to help cook Hitler’s goose."