By Lisa Smith
September 2017 will mark The Recipe Project‘s fifth anniversary: a big one in the blogging world. And on 29 December, we published our 501st post!
We’ve come a long way since Elaine Leong and I had the idea of setting up a blog. One of our goals right from the start (besides sharing our love of recipes) was to build a community of scholars and recipe enthusiasts
In this endeavour, we’ve been successful. Since 2012, we’ve had over 100 wonderful contributors–and two co-editors (Amanda Herbert and Laurence Totelin) and one social media editor (Laura Mitchell) have joined our team. In 2016 alone, we’ve had over 198000 unique readers and over 525000 unique visits. Our Twitter feed continues to grow (over 6500 followers), as does our Facebook page (over 830 followers). Thank you, dear readers and contributors for making The Recipes Project such a success!
Now, what were our top five posts of 2016? The vast majority of our readers come directly to the home page and browse through the latest posts, which means that actual favourite posts are difficult to measure. But the top five posts that lured in readers directly to the page reveal an intriguing range of interests and reading patterns.
- ‘Palm Trees and Potions: On Portugueuse Pharmacy Signs’, Benjamin Breen (2 August 2016).
- ‘Jolly Good Ale and Old: Or, Were Early Modern People Perpetually Drunk?’ James Brown and Angela McShane (20 September 2016).
- ‘Hans Sloane: Eighteenth Century Mixologist’, Amanda Herbert (12 January 2016).
- ‘Of Dirty Books and Bread’, Anke Timmermann (12 May 2013).
- ‘Transcribing Early Modern Recipes with the Crowd on Shakespeare’s World‘, Victoria Van Hyning an Paul Dingman (2 February 2016).
Sometimes older posts are reborn in another year, as happens with Anke’s post on using bread to clean old manuscripts. Our contributors from other big projects (such as The Intoxicants Project and Shakespeare’s World) brought in a large readership, likely drawing in part on their own networks. And our readers really like posts on booze, or hidden histories like pharmacy signs!
The New Year brings new opportunities and challenges. As ever, we are always interested in new contributors. If you’ve been thinking that you’d like to contribute to RP or to set up a new themed series, please do send us an email–we’d love to hear from you! With a number of our Ph.D. student contributors graduating this past year, we’re also keen to encourage junior scholars to become a part of our community.
Over the years, we’ve noticed that the blog provides a wonderful snapshot of recipe research, but one topic has repeatedly emerged: the difficulty of pinning down what exactly a recipe is in different regions and different time periods. With this in mind, the RP editors will be hosting an entirely virtual conference on ‘What is a Recipe?’ in the summer. We are super excited about this and hope to see many of you involved as participants. Please keep your eyes open for our upcoming Call for Participation!
With the lead up to our fifth anniversary, we will be including a new feature for the year that will add a soupçon of historiography to our monthly mix. RP editors and invited contributors will reflect on the past, present, and future directions of recipe scholarship, as well as what the blog has meant to us.
Thanks again for your support. We hope that you enjoy our new directions in 2017 as we will!