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Stories and memories: Day 8 of the Recipes Project

By Tallulah Maait Pepperell

On Day 8 of the Recipes Project, we revisited some themes that had popped up on previous days of our virtual conversation. There were reconstructions, along with discussions of the ‘art’ of a good recipe. And, of course, we came back to the connections between recipes and family history, and the many forms of recipes that appear in our daily lives.

To start with the reconstructions, Maria Galanaki shared her video on constructing a meal that follows the Hippocratic Regimen.  Simon Walker continued his “Feeding under Fire” series with a video on Classic French Soldiers’ Food and a twitter thread on the subject.

There really was no end to the bready delights available yesterday (though specifically absent in Maria’s Hippocratic menu!).  We had @Pamphilia2‘s video on gingerbread recipes, Deborah Lawton writing on gingerbread in historical re-enactment, and Molly-Taylor Polesky’s interview with a master baker.

A lot of the activity of the day was focused around Twitter, with conversations surrounding family medicine recipes. We had chicken soup, hot toddies, mustard plasters, “The Remedy”, onion compresses, honey and salt water, honey-onion syrup, lemons, and Schmaltzwickel… All old family recipes, bringing together themes of family, memory, and personal links to recipes that has permeated this project.

Then I took over the Twitter feed for a few hours to indulge a personal project and explore the subject of fictional foods and recipes. A few suggestions of my own started us off on a journey through Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away” to Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and then it took on a life of its own. Our wonderful contributors pitched in their own literary recipes, with a number from fairy tales and books from their childhood; we had an overflowing porridge pot, Little Red Riding hood’s picnic, the darker sides of Beatrix Potter, Narnian Turkish Delight, and the wonderful stories of Roald Dahl.

Participants came together around common themes, all  falling under the topic “recipes”.  We all have recipes that hold personal meanings, whether from tradition or memories associated with them. Recipes are just another way that family history is kept alive– like quilts, cookbooks, or photograph albums. This is also the case with the Winslow family in the bread posts today, and with the use of recipes as a wider historical teaching, such as the gingerbread reconstructions.

Similarly, the focus on fictional recipes explored the meanings food and recipes hold in both narrative and real life. Many of the recipes contributed dealt with fairy tales and children’s literature, showing how people can be shaped by what they encounter as a child. For me, the most vivid fictional recipe that sticks in my mind is the hideous roly-poly from Tom Kitten that Michael Rosen reminded me of during the discussion.

If there’s anything that the virtual conversation on ‘What is a Recipe?’ has shown us this last month, it’s that while they may not always be historical, recipes connect people in a multitude of ways.

Day 5: What is a recipe?

Credit: Wellcome Library, London.
Recipes, by H.J. Green & Co. Ltd.

Welcome to Day 5 of our virtual conversation on ‘What is a Recipe?’. Things have already kicked off for the week at H-Nutrition. So far,  there are posts on ‘Weight Watchers’ Fried Chinese Chicken‘, ‘First Bouillon, Then Meat with Potatoes‘, ‘Spaghetti Mexican Style‘  and ‘Statistical Analysis of Yorkshire Pudding‘. Lots to think about here on sacred vs profane recipes, ethnicity, and methodology!

But before you settle in today, you might want to catch up on last week in our virtual conversation if you missed it. There  was a whirlwind of recipe recreations, cosmetic explorations and “beauty enhancers”, potato measuring, podcast explorations, ancient breast engorgement treatments, recipes via sound archives, and a consideration of a module in which students explored recipes. You can read the Storify of Day 3 here, and the reflection on the theme of connectivity on Day 4  here.

Today is a continuation of current projects and a few new ones:

  • H-Nutrition will have discussion and new posts every day this week.  Check them out at their website here or over on twitter @HNetNutrition?
  • Siobhan Clark continues her eighteenth-century potato growing experiment on Twitter @Spuddenly_Farm and Instagram @SpuddenlyFarming.
  • Sietske Fransen delves deep back into the Early Royal Society Archives and continues her always interesting recipe tweeting @sietske_fransen
  • “The Endless Knot” podcast will be hosting a special episode with Laura Carlson of “The Feast” podcast, discussing and sharing recipes, attempts to recreate old recipes, and what we can learn from these recipes.  Catch them at http://www.alliterative.net/podcast/2017/6/16/episode-37-what-is-a-recipe-with-laura-carlson for the episode itself, uploading at 5am EDT, and then on twitter as well @AllEndlessKnot
  • Dorothy Cashman will explore Irish culinary history and cookbooks over at @Irish_Cookbooks
  • The College of Physicians Philadelphia will be tweeting throughout the day @CPPHistMedLib, sharing serious and whimsical items from their collections, focusing on medicinal and scientific recipes.
  • The Cooking With Anger experiment is still on, with fun short recipe stories. Why not take a few minutes from your day to grab a few ingredients and create your own tantalising story concoction?

As always, comments, contributions, stray thoughts, questions, and anything else you wish to put forward are always welcome! Join us on twitter using #recipesconf, or comment on any one of the projects above. We look forward to hearing from you!