Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Have New York Restaurants Served Historically?

Restaurant menus can tell us a lot about a historical period. They provide another look at what people ate that can be different than what we find in cookbooks. Eating out would have been out of necessity (like when you travel) or for a special occasion, unless the person was wealthy.

Digitized collections give researchers easier access to materials that may not be studied as much if it was not digitized. Recently the New York Public Library has announced that they are digitizing more than 40,000 menus dating back to 1843 from the city's restaurants.

The New York Post has an article about this project here.  You can currently search the New York Public Library digitized American Menu Collection. Consider menus as a way to add social history to your family history narrative.