Monday, January 29, 2018

Legally Delicious

The Supreme Court Historical Society has recently published Table for 9: Supreme Court Food Traditions & Recipes. Compiled by the Society's publications director, Clare Cushman (who has authored several other works on Supreme Court history), this book also includes a foreword by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Table for 9 features eye-catching illustrations and recipes from the archives of the U.S. Supreme Court, along with trivia about food traditions among the Court and its justices.

In the Court's early days, the justices resided together at a boarding house, where meals were shared. In the late 1800s, afternoon oral argument schedules did not allow for a lunch break. Justices stepped behind the bench one at a time and ate lunch during arguments, to the dismay of counsel. Following repeated complaints from attorneys about the rotating bench, Chief Justice Fuller added a 30-minute lunch break to the schedule in 1898. Today's justices enjoy an hour-long lunch recess and often enjoy meals together in the Justices' Dining Room (where legal talk is strictly off-limits); individual justices may also opt to dine with their clerks in chambers.

Table for 9 details the varied lunch habits of justices throughout history: John Marshall was a oenophile who particularly enjoyed Madeira. Benjamin Cardozo was teased by his colleagues for bringing a slice of cake every day in his packed lunches. William Rehnquist's preferred lunch was a cheeseburger (no fries) and a Miller Lite beer. David Souter's lunch was almost always plain, nonfat yogurt.

Justices also frequently gifted each other food and drink: the book includes a recipe for beef jerky from Sandra Day O'Connor's family cattle ranch, which she frequently gave to colleagues and clerks. Antonin Scalia, an avid hunter, provided game to his colleagues on the bench. Birthday cakes were also a common sight at the Court, whenever justices and clerks celebrated the occasion; Table for 9 includes several cake recipes.

Believe it or not, Table for 9 is just the latest addition to the Goodson Law Library's growing legal cookbook collection. Other titles in our collection with a culinary focus include:
  • Chef Supreme: Martin Ginsburg (2011) was the Supreme Court Historical Society’s first foray into cookbooks. It was compiled as a memorial to Justice Ginsburg’s late husband Marty, a renowned tax professor and accomplished chef. Chef Supreme compiles Martin Ginsburg's personal recipes along with tributes and photos from his life with "the Notorious RBG." (Speaking of Justice Ginsburg's popular nickname, her favorite recipe of Marty's from Chef Supreme – pork loin roasted in milk – is also reprinted in the 2015 biography Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Several Martin Ginsburg recipes are also featured in Table for 9.)
  • The Vespers' Trial Cookbook: Italiano Cucina Rustica with Trial Tips for Lawyers (2014) is a trial practice handbook/cookbook by "the Cookin’ Cousins" Thomas and Dominic Vesper. Tom (a trial attorney) and Dom (a retired accountant with a passion for home cooking) share tried-and-true "recipes for success" in both the kitchen and the courtroom.
  • Several titles of the American Bar Association's "Little Book of...Law" pocket-sized casebook series include recipes along with their summaries of interesting court opinions on a particular topic. The Little Book of BBQ Law (2013) features barbecue-focused cases from various practice areas, interspersed with recipes for sauces, mains, and sides. As its title suggests, The Little Book of Foodie Law (2012) explores case law related to the food service and production industries, and includes a related recipe at the end of each chapter. The Little Book of College Football Law (2014) also features 18 recipes, perfect for a tailgate or a game-day viewing party.
  • You’ll have to ask a staff member to show you the print copy of Hein App├ętit! (2013), as this community cookbook from the makers of the research database HeinOnline is housed in the library's Professional Collection, a staff-only area. However, a free download of this compilation of law librarian recipes can also be found online. Sadly, no Duke Law librarians contributed their culinary expertise, but we'll be sure to correct that error if a second edition is ever compiled.

Finally, although you won’t find them in the stacks of the Goodson Law Library, a Duke Law organization once published a few cookbooks of its own. The Rubenstein Library's archival materials about the Law School includes two "Culinary Casebooks" compiled by the Duke Law Dames, a social group for law student and faculty spouses, in the early 1970s. As a fund-raising project, the group collected recipes from its membership, which were published in these spiral-bound cookbooks. (A few recipes submitted directly from Law School professors and deans also made the cut, including former Dean Elvin R. Latty's huevos en Malaga.) These fascinating pieces of Duke Law archival history can be viewed at the Rubenstein Library in the Law Dames Records, 1951-1973.

Cover of Duke Law Dames Culinary Casebook Volume II (circa 1972).
Available in the Rubenstein Library "Law Dames Records" collection.
For help with locating these legal cookbooks, or for other legal research questions, be sure to Ask a Librarian.