The Second Piece of Our Series on Digital Heritage Projects by Volodymyr Kulikov

November 2, 2015

“What’s on the menu?”
Do you believe that food can be considered as cultural heritage? UNESCO does. For example, in 2010 they included Traditional Mexican cuisine into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Would you like to know the price of a lunch in New York in 1849? Are you curious what restaurants offered to their visitors in the United States in 1859 or 1926? Are you interested when pizza appeared in the menus of American restaurants? Would you like to cook something based on a recipe from the early twentieth century? Or perhaps you are interested in crowdsourcing approaches in the Digital Humanities? In all these cases it is worth to visit the website of the project called “What's on the menu?”, representing one of the largest digitized restaurant menu collections in the world. The project has been realized by the New York Public Library since 2011.
More than 17 thousand menus were digitized and transcribed by volunteers, which include 1.3 million dishes. The ultimate goal of the project is to get the whole collection transcribed and to make the data available for researchers, educators, chefs and anyone else who is interested in it.
How can the information be used in research? What kind of research questions might be generated? Why are people willing to volunteer in Digital Humanities crowdsourcing projects, such as “What's on the menu”?
See detailed information about the project on the website
Image: Menus for Benoit, 2008