Recipes Project Flashback

Fireworks on the river Vyver. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.
Fireworks on the river Vyver. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

By Lisa Smith

The Medicinal Receipts Research Group began back in 2003 and flourished with a series of meetings, workshops and conferences over a few years. The aims of the group included

  • the promotion of the study of recipes;
  • encouraging contact between people working on historical recipes;
  • disseminating information about the study of historical recipes;
  • establishing a database.

Read more on the history of the Medicinal Receipts Research Group and its initial aims over here. The Recipes Project has, in many ways, grown out of these early aims. The emergence of social media has allowed us to fulfill these ideals in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible back in 2003. Back then, the Research Group was limited to occasional meetings that required travel on the part of participants–most of whom were scholars. But blogging, tweeting and Facebooking has allowed much more regular contact and promoted the interaction of recipe enthusiasts of all kinds.

The potential for the internet to enable this kind of interaction was envisaged by Elaine Leong back in January 2010 when they started a website on Recipes, Remedies, Receipts, then hosted by the University of Warwick. (It’s now defunct… so defunct, in fact, that a snapshot can’t even be retrieved from the Wayback Machine.) But at the time, as part of Elaine’s research project, it was launched with some fanfare: an article in BBC History Magazine and a podcast.

Fortunately, we do still have much of the material that was on the website. There was, of course, the information about the Medicinal Receipts Research Group; handlists of French and Welsh recipe collections; and some early internet writing attempts by Alun Withey and Lisa Smith. We’ve decided to reprint bits of these here for posterity. The other bibliographies and handlists have since been merged into our new Zotero page.

Hope you enjoy the Flashback pages!

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