Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Blast from the Past

"What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?" - Lin Yutang

  We live in a world full of food trends.  Food trends?!  Who would have thought as a younger self we would be in a time where we see food as being trendy.  In a day of constant flux, sometimes we forget the past.  The New York Public Library is looking to preserve our food history, and they would certainly appreciate any help they can get.  Got a minute?  Have more?  Then check out this link:

  The NYPL is in the process of transcribing historical menus, and they need a helping hand.  This past week, I've been transcribing when I have a few spare moments of idle time.  And, it has been very interesting.  Menus from the 1800s-1950s, from railways to the Waldorf, all sorts of cuisines...all of these dishes and drinks are being put into a searchable database.  Who cares?  Chefs seeking inspiration, historians, authors looking to add that last detail that sucks you in...the every day person who is just plain ol' curious.  Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing how this project develops. 

  The process is very easy.  Pick a menu that looks interesting and look for stuff you can eat, drink, or in some cases, smoke.  Click on the first letter of the line, and you'll be taken to a screen where you can type in what you see and the price.  Keep in mind, many are written in a time when most prices were under a dollar so that 40 on the menu is .40, not $40.  And that's pretty much it!   But as a first time user, I highly recommend reading the Help section (  It will give you a clear idea on how to enter some items properly for the database. 

  I hope I've piqued your interest, and you'll take a few seconds to at least swing by to see what it is all about!

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