Boris Mann’s Personal Blog

Oct 2020

The Sifter in Atlas Obscura

The Sifter

a multilingual database, currently 130,000-items strong, of the ingredients, techniques, authors, and section titles included in more than 5,000 European and U.S. cookbooks.

A Database of 5,000 Historical Cookbooks Is Now Online, and You Can Help Improve It, Atlas Obscura

The data on this site is super interesting. Whatever is running the site is not great. It’s some sort of out of the box Microsoft thing including default loading animations.

But! It aims to be a sort of Wikipedia. I’ve signed up to be a contributor and I hope that this can be built on and be licensed for re-use.

I did a search for “Vancouver” and found only one entry, so my used cookbook collection may be able to add a handful more. It does say it only wants pre-1940 cookbooks, but it’s unclear why.

It provides a bird’s-eye view of long-term trends in European and American cuisines, from shifting trade routes and dining habits to culinary fads. Search “cupcakes,” for example, and you’ll find the term may have first popped up in Mrs. Putnam’s Receipt Book And Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, a guide for ladies running middle-class households in the 1850s.

Yes! Super interesting to me. Looking forward to see how this evolves.

(From the Gastro Obscura section of A.O.)