Test Kitchens


Want to be part of a once-in-a-century opportunity? We need your help!

Many of the recipes that will be featured in the cookbook are of a bygone era and need to be tested for today's kitchens and cooks. For decades, recipe instructions could be ambiguous and subjective. For instance, what does "cook in a warm oven until done" mean to you? How much is teacup of sugar? Or 15 cents' worth of raisins in 1919? We don't know either!

We have a list of recipes from the archives of our vintage ALA cookbooks that need to be tested. In the spirit of the ALA community, we want feedback from real homes. In order to become a test cook, simply fill out our TEST KITCHEN: REQUEST FOR RECIPE FORM. You'll be sent further instructions and a list of recipes to be tested. Once you've tested the recipe, use the RECIPE FEEDBACK FORM, also on this page.


We would sure love to include pictures from our home test kitchens in the SERVE cookbook. So, snap away! For the best opportunity to have your photos included,* please follow our simple suggestions to match the style from our professional photographers.

Email questions and photos to ala1879csu@gmail.com.

Expert Photo Tips: think "natural"

  1. FOOD: Make it appetizing! Add some herbs, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, a garnish of simple ingredients.
  2. LIGHTING: Shoot near a window during the day. Avoid direct sunlight, which is unflattering and makes shadows. Don't use overhead/indoor lighting, and turn off your camera flash.
  3. DISHES: Pottery works well as it is generally warm and timeless. Avoid white dishes, glass, and metal.
  4. ANGLES: Try a variety. Cut a slice of food so we can see the inside. Forks and napkins can lead the eye to the center.
  5. FOCUS: To create soft background, put more distance between the food and complementary props. Touch the food on your screen to put the sharper focus there.

Want more help? Get inspiration on Google Images...or ask a millennial! Many young people have a knack for foodie shots ;)

* Ready to submit? GREAT! Simply email ALA1879CSU@gmail.com. Please note that all submitted items are subject to editing for clarity, style, and format. By submitting material, you acknowledge that you are legally entitled to distribute the work and allow it to be redistributed. We may use such materials with or without your name and for any lawful purpose, including, for example, such purposes as publicity, illustration, advertising, and web-related content. In providing photos, you represent that you own all copyrights and have been given the authority by each individual depicted in the photograph to provide photos to ALA Unit 1879.
Test Kitchen: Request for recipe
Test Kitchen: Recipe feedback

Photo credits: Pastry photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash; Casserole photo by Taylor Kiser on Unsplash; Soup photo by Cel Lisboa on Unsplash