Mary Ellis Ames, The Pillsbury Cookbook, 1933, Kansas State University Special Collections

A few of these artifacts are stolen in one way or another. This is one. The first cookbook by Pillsbury, and one of the first published cookbooks, this book came in an aluminum shell binding, and included several blank pages like this one, designed for readers to add their own recipes. (In this way cookbooks have been well ahead of the curve in terms of inviting reader participation.) This particular copy was held in special collections, and I admit I did take one of the blank pages when no one was looking. This probably makes me a bad person in some sense. But I wonder, too, what's lost by taking a page from a book meant to be used (and not just read but actually used) and using it, distributing it (as this collection itself does, and as the book about the collection does), and writing about it. It wasn't being used in special collections. It wasn't really even being read. And by taking a page I did not diminish it…much. And as a result this is here for you.