What’s on the Menu?

A friend (and colleague at my publishing house) alerted me to “What’s on the Menu?”–a transcription project hosted by the New York Public Library. Essentially, they need our help transcribing thousands of scanned menus, dating back to the 1840s and housed in their rare book collection, to make them searchable and more accessible for study. Read all about the project here.

How fantastic! It’s amazing to dig through these old menus–you can learn a lot about a place by what people are eating. (Case in point: Oysters are prevalent on old New York menus, owing to the bivalves’ rich history of success in New York Harbor. Aron read Mark Kurlansky’s The Big Oyster, which tells the history of the Oyster in New York–and thus thereby the history of New York itself–when we first moved here and gave the most amazing walking tours of lower Manhattan to our visiting friends using details gleaned.)

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