Digitization projects like Google Books are hot topics right now, but some sites have been scanning and displaying books for years. Case in point is the Feeding America site, a project of the Michigan State University Libraries, that has been up and running for nearly a decade. The online collection features 76 cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century that have been scanned in, transcribed, described, and made searchable (search by author, title, recipe name, or ingredients). There’s also a page on the site featuring Michigan State University Museum’s “extensive collection of cooking utensils and kitchenware.”
Visit the project page, read the introduction essay by Jan Longone that attempts to treat developments in cookbook publishing as emblematic of larger social cultural developments, or take the video tour to learn more about the featured cookbooks and the digitization process. But the most fun is to be had by flipping through the crisp page images of books like Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes (1909), the Presbyterian Cook Book (1873), or the Swedish English Cookbook (1897). You may find yourself inspired to check out a few featured recipes. Parsnip fritters anyone?