Approximately 60 national and local members of the prestigious American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) joined the festivities — and fabulous food, of course — at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library to pay tribute to the late Jan Weimer and the donation of her personal archive to the UC San Diego Libraries.
Guests feasted on a variety of dishes from Weimer's own
recipes, including endive leaves filled with curried shrimp, tuna
tartare on cucumber rounds, and roasted eggplant dip on crostini.
Weimer, who died in 2007, was a giant in the food world and a
celebrated master of all things food-related. The food editor of Bon
Appétit magazine from 1981 to 1989, she has been credited with
introducing groundbreaking innovations in American cuisine. A prolific
writer, editor and Cordon Bleu-trained cook, she authored hundreds of
articles on a startling array of food-related topics, from food
sourcing and kitchen design to hors d’oeuvres and Asian cuisine.
Weimer also worked as a food editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and
consulted on menu development and related matters for Princess
Cruises, Trefethen Winery and the National Dairy Council, as well as
for a number of restaurants.
"We are honored to have the archive of Jan Weimer as part of
the outstanding AIWF Culinary Collection at UC San Diego," said Lisa
Lipton, national chair of the AIWF and a San Diego resident. "Given
that the AIWF was founded for the purpose of encouraging scholarship
and fostering research in the study of food and wine — including its
history, its future, and its present status — the UCSD Libraries are the
perfect home for these papers.”
According to Lipton, Weimer did much over the years to advance
the AIWF mission, including her role as a founding member of the Los
Angeles AIWF chapter.
Weimer’s collection, which will become part of the AIWF
Culinary Collection housed at the UC San Diego Mandeville Special Collections
Library, includes more than 1,200 volumes, original manuscripts and
articles, collectible special dinner menus and scrapbooks, as well as
her personal correspondence with her many friends and clients in the
food world, including Julia Child, Craig Claiborne and Simone
Beck. Weimer's archive also includes several books she authored — "Mastering
Hors d’oeuvres" (for Williams-Sonoma); "San Francisco Exotic
Food Guide"; "Kitchen Redos, Revamps, Remodels, and Replacements:
Without Murder, Madness, Suicide, or Divorce"; "Basic Skills
for the Good Cook: 26 Cooking Lessons from Bon Appétit" (with Rita
Leinwand); and "Home Cooking With a French Accent" (with Chef
Michel Richard) — and her many original recipes. Also included is her
personal and well-thumbed copy of Julia Child's "The Art of French
Cooking," which no longer resembles a book of any kind and is
held together by rubber bands.
"Jan’s creativity and energy left us with an amazing legacy,"
said Dr. Sanford Weimer, Jan Weimer’s husband. "I’m so pleased that we
have found the perfect home for her amazing archive. She was all about
hospitality and helping others. Many friends and family banded
together to honor her and her wishes by establishing the
janweimerfund.org. This Web site supports the fund raising to establish
a chair in her name at Stanford Oncology. Jan graduated from Stanford
and wanted to do something for other women suffering from breast
cancer. The Web site has a video of her best moments on TV, a
charismatic, passionate foodie, dedicated to quality and
UC San Diego's American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) Culinary
Collection was established in 1991, with an initial gift from the AIWF
of approximately 360 cookbooks and other materials documenting culinary
history, dating back to the 17th century. Thanks to significant gifts
of material from interested parties, as well as an endowment created by
the San Diego AIWF board, the collection has grown to include more
than 5,000 books, manuscripts and other materials, and has exceptional
strength in materials from California, Latin America and the Pacific
"We are thrilled to be adding Jan Weimer's impressive personal
library to our culinary collection," said Brian E.C. Schottlaender, the Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UC San Diego. "The AIWF
collection continues to grow — both in terms of quality and quantity — and
with this impressive addition, it will become an even greater resource
for scholars interested in culinary history and culture."
Local AIWF board members played an instrumental role in
directing half of AIWF's rare book collection to the UC San Diego Libraries.
Julia Child, who founded the AIWF with Robert Mondavi and Richard Graff
in 1981, presided over the AIWF at the time. The UC San Diego AIWF collection
includes such marvels as Bartolomeo Scappi's "Opera dell'arte del
cucinare" (1610), featuring a series of woodcuts depicting culinary
implements from the Renaissance kitchen — including the first depiction
ever of a knife, fork, and spoon together — and Amelia Simmons' "Home
Cookery" (1814), recognized as the first truly American cookbook.
Chocolate aficionados will appreciate the collection's "Acerca del
chocolate" (1730), a manuscript from Mexico that attempts to rebut
the church's strictures against the consumption of chocolate.
The Mandeville Special Collections Library is a major
repository for rare and distinctive books, periodicals, maps,
photographs, art works, recordings, and a wide range of archives to
support teaching and scholarly research at UC San Diego. In addition
to the AIWF Collection, thel ibrary houses many irreplaceable,
one-of-a-kind collections, including the Southworth Spanish Civil War
Collection, the largest collection of its kind in the world; extensive
holdings on California history and culture and Baja California history
and politics; the Archive for New Poetry, one of the most comprehensive
collections of post-1945 American poetry; and the Dr. Seuss
Collection, a significant repository of the original art and works of
Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), which includes more than 8,500 items
documenting the full range of Geisel's creative achievements.
The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 25 public
academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in
advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient
care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that comprise the
UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and
print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge
demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day,
more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university's nine
libraries. The Libraries' vast resources and services are accessed more
than 87,500 times each day via the UC San Diego Libraries' Web site.
The American Institute of Wine & Food is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and public charity founded on the premise that gastronomy is essential to the quality of human existence and was established in 1981 by the late Robert Mondavi, the late Julia Child, the late Richard Graff and others to provide a forum for the study and enjoyment of gastronomy. The AIWF is dedicated to promoting health and well-being through the enjoyment of good food and drink and fellowship that comes from dining together around the table. The AIWF grants culinary scholarships to aspiring students and runs a national Days of Taste program that teaches children about the culinary arts and nutrition. The organization has more than 3,000 members in 27 chapters throughout the United States. Chapters host monthly events. Membership is open to all wine and food enthusiasts and professionals. For more information about the AIWF, visit www.aiwf.org or call (800) 274-AIWF.