They’re usually ephemeral— cookbooks put together as a fundraiser for this or that local organization. But it’s precisely because they didn’t pass through the food publishing industry that they’re unusually accurate windows into local food cultures. And because they were done by women on their own, they were a precursor to the women’s movement, building networks and businesses as well as awareness for women’s causes from suffrage to temperance. Jan Longone, the curator of American Culinary History at the University of Michigan, who’ll be here tomorrow at Kendall College for a Culinary Historians of Chicago talk called “The Old Girl Network: Charity Cookbooks and the Empowerment of Women” from 10 to noon. Go here for more information, and read an interview with Longone at the Tribune here.