"Viewing 3D IMAX clips." Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Summer 2023

Summer Blockbusters


By Amanda Herbert and Jess Clark

Summer’s here, and for some of us, this means a time to get outside, relax with family and friends, and catch up on the latest films, books, tv shows, and podcasts. That’s why the RP team is devoting this summer edition to pop culture and the ways that recipes do (or don’t!) feature in some of our favourite productions. We’re spotlighting some of the fantastic posts that have appeared on RP over the years and the ways they intersect with some of the latest pop culture trends, from Bridgerton to #Barbenheimer. Tune in each week as our RP editors share their favourite summer hits.

This summer we’re also exploring all of the features of our new Substack. Nine months ago we moved from a blog roll to a quarterly e-journal format. We love how the new format has made space for new kinds of content, including an Around the Table Podcast, hosted by our own Sarah Peters Kernan, and a carousel of content for RP Tales From the Archives.

When you subscribe to our Substack, you’ll receive a monthly preview of each quarterly issue in a newsletter sent directly to your inbox. Our decision to join Substack reflects our desire to keep up with where open-access, public-facing writing and scholarship are heading. We hope you’ll enjoy receiving updates from The Recipes Project in your inbox, and that you’ll think about sharing our newsletter with a friend.

To celebrate the RP Substack, and in the spirit of The Summer of AI, we asked the internet to generate some RP content. The results were…somehow both horrifying and inspiring.

First up, a not-at-all-disturbing thank you to our new RP Substack Community.

An AI-generated message to our subscribers. It’s just eerie how accurate it is.

Next, AI-generated images of “The Recipes Project,” inspired by all of your work on recipes about science, medicine, food, magic, cosmetics, and art.

Our takeaway: turns out that the best people for generating RP content are the people who have contributed to this project for the last ten years: all of you.

So kick back and enjoy our best RP hot takes on Barbie, The Bear, House of the Dragon, Indiana Jones, Oppenheimer, The Little Mermaid, and more. We hope that you’ll enjoy revisiting some of this fabulous work, while appreciating each post’s relevance and real connections to today.


Barbie and The RP

By Amanda E. Herbert

We’ve never had anyone pitch an RP post on Barbie (*ahem* get cracking) but we do have lots of material on recipes and femininity. How does Barbie achieve that dewy complexion? Well, a vinyl compound. But how did the ideal woman achieve perfection in the past? And did she always want to? Find out in this post on idealising feminine beauty.

Now showing…

The Bear and The RP

By R.A. Kashanipour

FX’s The Bear is, ostensibly, about a kitchen. A kitchen—Chicago’s Original Beef cum The Bear—inherited by the French-trained, highly-decorated Chef Carmy, who attempts to install order and structure to disruption and disarray. A kitchen that barely marshals a brigade system to deliver everything from greasy breakfast sandwiches to braised short-ribs and risotto (and desserts that I do not understand). Every day in this kitchen is chaos, caught somewhere between group therapy and a seven-alarm fire. Ultimately, The Bear’s kitchen is a space where professional identities succumb to financial maleficence, family legacies, and personal failings.

Now showing…

The Little Mermaid and The RP

By Melissa Reynolds

Disney’s animated The Little Mermaid (1989) is the first movie I remember going to see at the theater. In case you’re wondering, that makes me two things: 1) old and 2) the target demographic for the 2023 live-action remake of the animated classic. Not only do I have fond-but-hazy memories of hearing “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World” for the first time, lo those many years ago, I also now have a daughter through whom I can experience that magic all over again. The movie industry may be selling nostalgia these days, but as it turns out, I’m buying.

An image from the 2023 remake of The Little Mermaid.
Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (2023).

Now showing…

House of the Dragon and The RP

By Jessica P. Clark

Revisit your favourite fantasy drama in this post celebrating the prequel to the hit HBO drama Game of Thrones. Historical dragons, as it turns out, were pretty much the same as Drogon. No, no they weren’t.

Now showing…

Indiana Jones and The RP

By Sarah Peters Kernan

This summer, Dr. Jones returned for one (maybe) final adventure. At this point, everyone’s favourite fictional archaeologist/destroyer of cultural heritage has definitely passed retirement age. Perhaps he should have consulted these RP posts on eternal youth.

Now playing…

Oppenheimer and The RP

By Joshua Schlachet

Our issue on Summer Blockbusters comes to a close with this post on WWII, wartime recipes, and reflections on time. We’re understandably sad that our summer series is over, but we’re also not buying fedoras in bulk. Yet.

Now playing…


Staging the Table with Deborah Krohn

By Sarah Peters Kernan

In this episode, Sarah Kernan talks to Deborah Krohn, Associate Professor and Chair of Academic Programs at Bard Graduate Center, about the recent exhibition Staging the Table in Europe 1500-1800 at Bard Graduate Center Gallery. Staging the Table explores early modern dining practices through illustrated manuals featuring instruction and carving and napkin folding. The books are considered alongside early modern material artifacts such as table linens and carving knives, as well as modern napkin folds based on period designs.
Now showing…


Tales from the Archives

  • Love and the Longevity of Charms

    By Laura Mitchell For a long time I have been interested in the endurance/longevity of charms and recipes over extended periods of time, a topic which Alun Withey addressed in a recent post. The major tropes that make up medieval medical charms, for example, appear with relatively minor variations from the thirteenth through to the…

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  • Serving Up Food History and Mastering the Art of Public Engagement

    By Paula Johnson  Over several wintry days in January, at a sprawling hotel in midtown Manhattan, members of the American Historical Association and affiliated societies gamely selected from a virtual cornucopia of panel discussions, roundtables, and special sessions built around the theme, “History and the Other Disciplines.” Those interested in food studies—an inherently multidisciplinary field—found…

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  • First Monday Library Chat: Schlesinger Library at Harvard University

    This month’s First Monday Library Chat features the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.  We spoke with Marylène Altieri,  Curator of Books and Printed Materials, about the Schlesinger collections.  She was joined by Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, an independent scholar and culinary historian who…

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  • Spicing up the Victorians: Teaching Mrs. Beeton’s Recipe for Mango Chutney

    By Erika Rappaport I love to teach with Isabella Beeton. Her biography and her opus, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861) confound several popular stereotypes about gender, middle-class Victorians and British foodways. The book is important for studying the development of the modern cookbook and recipe and reveals the international context that produced national cuisines…

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  • Stone Soup: A new project about recipes and community

    By Jennifer Sherman Roberts There’s a beautiful moment in Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Gate A-4” in which travelers from all over the world come together—despite differences in language, experience, and culture–to commune over apple juice and cookies after helping a fellow passenger: She had pulled a sack of homemade            mamool…

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  • What is a Recipe?: A Recipes Project Virtual Conversation

    We are excited to announce an upcoming event to celebrate The Recipe Project‘s fifth year. From 2 June to 5 July 2017, we will be hosting a Virtual Conversation on ‘What is a Recipe?’ Details are below. Please share our call for participation widely! The Recipes Project is a DH/HistSTM  (Digital Humanities/History of Science, Technology,…

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Food, Magic, Art, Science, and Medicine

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