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Texts of Taste

Partially supported by a NULab Seedling Grant.

Texts of Taste is a digital archive project which focuses on annotated, marked-up, or otherwise notated nineteenth-century American recipes. The goal of the project is to bring together annotated recipes spread across various institutional collections so that they may be digitally available for research. Locating annotated recipes in archives and collections can be difficult. While many archives collect cookbooks, many of these books have not been digitized and whether or not annotations are noted in metadata is not always guaranteed. In addition, recipes in the nineteenth century were printed in cookbooks, but also just as often were printed in newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets and collected in diaries, scrapbooks, and commonplace books. The ways in which recipes could appear in many different forms of print or book media presents unique challenges to researchers interested in studying them.

For these reasons, Texts of Taste works to provide open-source digital images of annotated nineteenth-century American recipes. In addition to making these objects accessible in a digital space, the project’s website also allows users to contribute their own annotations to the recipes and their metadata in addition to submitting transcriptions of recipes.

Currently, Texts of Taste has partnered with the American Antiquarian Society in order to digitize many of the annotated recipes in their collections. In the future, the project hopes to collaborate with other archives and collections that also have annotated recipes in their collections in order to make these materials both more accessible to researchers as well as to expand conversations around women’s domestic writing in the nineteenth century.

Principal Investigator

Avery Blankenship, PhD Student, Department of English

Presentations

“Challenges of Digitizing Historical Recipes.” HASTAC Digital Fridays. May 7, 2021

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