What is a Recipe?: A Recipes Project Virtual Conversation

The Recipes Project is a DH/HistSTEM blog devoted to the study of recipes from all time periods and places. Our readership and contributors highlight the growing scholarly and popular interest in recipes. Over the five years that the RP has been running, our authors have continued to revisit one key question: what exactly is a recipe?  How do we know one when we see one?  What is their structure? What functions do recipes serve? How are they shared and passed on? Are they a set of instructions, a way of life, or a story? Aspirational or frequently used? Prose, poem, or image? The list could go on!

A doctor on the telephone (which is linked up to a television screen) to a patient whom he can both observe and talk to from a distance; representing possible technological innovations. (D.L. Ghilchip, 1932.) Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

And the question becomes even more complicated when we consider  the ways that social media creates new and innovative formats for conversations about recipes, across disciplines, academic/non-academic boundaries, and the world. At the RP, we’ve found that blogging is a wonderful way for recipes scholars to share their work and interests, but we recognize its limits as static text.

Introducing… the Virtual Conversation

We would like to invite you – whatever your background – to join us in our first Recipes Project Virtual Conversation, which will take place across a series of online events over the course of one month (2 June to 5 July).

Modern Medicine Pamphlets, Recipes (1930s). Credit: Wellcome Library.

The month-long event will be framed by two more traditional panels of speakers. The first, “Repast and Present: Food History Inside and Outside the Academy,” will be convened at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians in June. The second will be held in the UK in July, and will feature all of the RP’s editors.  We’ll record these two panels and post them online for discussion.

In between these panels, we’ll host a series of virtual events during which we flood social media with images, texts, and conversations about ‘What is a Recipe?’

Are you a visual person who loves Pinterest or Instagram? Or do you prefer the brevity and playfulness of Twitter? Do you use recipes in historical re-enactment, or try to reconstruct historical recipes in the lab? Are you a knitter who uses old patterns? Whether you’re a recipes scholar, or a recipes enthusiast, there is a place for you in our conference.

During the Virtual Conversation, we will be collecting and archiving presentations for a post-event exhibition site.

Types of Presentations

Designs for mince pies from Hannah Bisaker’s recipe book
1692. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

We are open to any form of online presentation on the topic of ‘What is a Recipe?’ You might use Twitter for poems, stories, or essays… Or Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat for photo-essays… Or YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook Live for videos… Or a blog forum… Or you might have another brilliant idea, which we’d love to hear!

Participation is open to ALL, whether you decide to present or to simply join the discussion.

How to Participate

Please register your interest in participating by contacting Recipes Project editors Lisa Smith and Laurence Totelin (historicalrecipes@gmail.com) by 30 April 2017.

In your email, please indicate your activity, medium, and (if any) preferred dates between 2 June and 5 July. In the interests of open participation, we are not vetting abstracts.

But in your application, please be detailed, because this will help us as we organise online activities, find participants, and ensure that we have permission to reproduce work on our exhibition site. Some virtual technical support may also be possible, depending on your needs.

We have reserved two hashtags for the conference: #recipesconf and #recipesproject. Please use these for all presentations and discussions, so participants can be sure to find each other.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Sites of Inspiration

If you’re looking for digital inspiration…

Funding for this conference has been provided by the University of Essex.

The Transcribathon in Summary

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

I am happy to report that our (more than) triple-keyed transcription of Lady Castleton’s book is complete.

The transcribathon lasted twelve hours, included 128 participants, and covered three continents and six countries (England, France, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia).

The top three transcribers in terms of pages completed were Kim Connor (42), Jennifer McNabb (28) and Kelsey Helvesten (28). The winners of the two transcription sprints were Monterey Hall and Breanne Weber.

Thank you to everyone who joined us throughout the day! You are a wonderful and amazing bunch.

Contributors

Abbie Burnett
Alice LeCorvec
Allie Hoback
Amanda Duncan
Amrita Dhar
Amy Powis
Amy Tigner
Ann Marie Kolbl
Anthony Lyman-Dixon
Ashley Morrison
Benjamin Woodring
Ben Lauer
Beth Kreitzer
Brandilynn Aines
Breanne Weber
Brooke Pincince
Caitlin Etherton
Carly Krug
Carole Sargent
Casey Kuhajda
Catherine Koehl
Connor Jensen
Cristopher Shell
Daiana Zavate
Debapriya Sarkar
Derek Dunne
Dianne Mitchell
Eileen Jakeway
Elaine Leong
Elizabeth Ball
Elizabeth Crachiolo
Elizabeth Hall
Elizabeth Yale
Eluned Smith
Emily Fields
Emily Jones
Emily Rendek
Erin McCarthy
Erin Spinney
Gabriella Santiago
Georgianna Ziegler
Heather Wolfe
Helen Kemp
Hillary Nunn
Holly Pickett
Jacob Tootalian
Jana Jackson
Jane Cunio
Jeanette M. Fregulia
Jennifer McNabb
Jennifer Munroe
Jessie Foreman
Joshua Eckhardt
Julian Neuhauser
Julie Drew
Julie Nguyen
Karen Reeds
Katharine Locke
Katherine Sexton
Kathryn Stephan
Katie Kadue
Kayla Hardy-Butler
Kaylor Montgomery
Kelsey Helveston
Kerry Hackett
Kim Connor
L. Jerleen Justus
LaVonne Evans
Leah Astbury
Liliana Rodriguez
Lisa Vargo
Luca Tifone
Lucy Pyner
Macarena Placentino
Marianne Wilson
Mary Learner
Meaghan Brown
Megan Heffernan
Meghan Kern
Melissa Geil
Melissa Schultheis
Monterey Hall
Nadia Clifton
Najwa Alsulob
Nancy Simpson-Younger
Nathan King
Nathan Neal
Nicholas Peterman
Nichols de Courville
Nicole Weibert
Nicole Winard
Pamela Lovett
Paul Dingman
Philip Allfrey
Pricilla Padaratz
Priya Pal
Quincy McMorries
Rachael Shulman
Rauslynn Boyd
Rebecca Laroche
Rob Wakeman
Ron Carter
Ruth Selman
Samuel Fatzinger
Sandra Sine
Sapphire Hornyak
Sarah Clayburn
Sarah Curtis
Sarah Linwick
Sarah Powell
Scott Rogers
Shannon Gardzelewski
Shaylee Walsh
Shelby LeClair
Sian Mathias
Taryn Dollings
Taylor Parrish
Theresa O’Byrne
Thomas Mocarski
Tiffanie Marine
Tom Jaine
Tracey Cornish
Victoria Rendt
Vince Sosko
Will Parker
Wyatt Prohaske
Zachary Maguire
Zoe Orcutt

The Transcribathon in Numbers… and Names

By Lisa Smith

The final counts are in for the Transcribathon.

There were a total of ninety-three transcribers who joined us on October 7, from five countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, U.K., U.S.).

The Winche Manuscript has sixty-five images, which included 208 pages, plus cover pages and interleaves. Transcribers started to work on 313 images and completed a total of 269 images. On average, every page was completely transcribed four times… That surpassed our goal of triple-keying the entire book!

Over the course of the day, there were three transcription sprints. The winner of the first was Rose Hadshar and the winner of the others was Breanne Weber.

Well done, everyone! I’m so pleased to have worked with you. Thank you for participating in our Transcribathon.

Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimenting with laughing gas. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimenting with laughing gas. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

List of Credits

Erin Abell, Katherine Allen, Sam Barcenas, Maria Blumberg, Christ Boettcher, Meghan Brown, Meghan Carafano, Jennifer Caro-Barnes, Jayson Carroll, Daniel Cattell, Jonathan Cey, Melissa Christine Schulteis, Justin Colson, Kim Connor, Maya Cope-Crisford, Nicholas de Courville, Morgan DeKlyen, Paul Dingman, Taryn Dollings, Julie Drew, Alexandre Dube, EMMO, Njaal Frilseth, Kailey Fukushima,  Erin Gallagher Cahoon, Clare Griffin, Rose Hadshar, Monterey Hall, Kayla Hardy-Butler, Amanda Herbert, Jason Hogue, Jordan Ivie, Jana Jackson, Julianna Jaegle, Robin Kello, Helen Kemp, Jenny Kimura, Katja Krause, Casey Kuhajda, Tayra Lanuza, Rebecca Laroche, Deborah Leslie, Lina Malmo, Hope McCarthy, Kat McDonald-Miranda, Brid McGrath, Jake Millar, Adam Mosley, Jennifer Munroe, Allison Needles, Marissa Nicosia, Hillary Nunn, Sally Osborn, Tawny Paul, Sara Pennell, Melissa Perkins, Mitchell Ploskonka, PLUBookin Society, Shelan Porter, Daniel Powell, Emily Rendek, David Rundle, Julianna Schaus, Jacqueline Schoenfeld, Hui Shen, Kim Shrive, Haley Schultz, Margaret Simon, Kailan Sindelar, Alanna Skuse, Lisa Smith, Joul Smith, Vince Sosko, Kalea Steffe, Katie Stephan, Anne Stobart, Caroline Stone, Elizabeth Tevlin, Amy Tigner, Amanda Torres, Raff Viglianti, Alice Violett, Emily Wahl, Julie Wakefield, Terran Warden, Breanne Weber, Abbie Weinberg, Christopher Whittick, Ann Elizabeth Wiener, Lizzy Williamson, Rachel Winchcombe, Heather Wolfe, Ada Wong

Note: There are two notable absences from the list of transcribers: Elaine Leong and Erin Spinney. Although they were not transcribing, they were working behind the scenes to keep everyone on track!

Thank you, everyone!

By Elaine Leonge

113461

Folger MS v.b. 366, back cover

It’s time to close the book. 12 hours have passed, our fingers are sore and our computers are fast running out of batteries. I’m delighted to say that we completed our task! We now have a TRIPLE-KEYED transcription of Rebeckah Winche’s lovely recipe book. More on that in coming days…

Over the past 12 hours, we’ve encountered a wide array of medicinal and culinary know-how and are now armed with instructions to pickle turnips, distill aqua mirabilis, make a water for sore eyes, bake a cheese cake and much much more. With our brains filled to the brim and sunset nearly upon us, we’re heading out for a round of celebratory beer.

Before we do that, EMROC members would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who joined us on this adventure. Being recipe lovers, we would also like to share with you two recipes which caught the eyes of the “Folger transcribers”.

FullSizeRenderDo let us know if you decide to try one of these at home! For now, good bye and good night.

A redy way to know the deseas called the Kings
evill
Take a grownd worme & lay itt alive to the place greved &
take a green docke leafe or 2 and lay them upon the worme
& bine them to the place at night when the patient goes to
bed & if it be the kings evill itt will turne to dust or poud
=er by the morning otherwise it will remayn dead in his owne
former forme as it was a live

A nother for the same deseas
Take a live toade & cut of one of her hinder legs
sewe it up in a pece of silke & hange it presently about the
neck of the party greeved. observe if it be a boy or man that
is greeved then a girl or  woman must kill the toade but if
a girle or woman be ill then a man must kill it
this hath cured many however if doth sertanly help the other
remydy or any other you shall apply to the sore (if any) to
worke the better efect & sooner cure.

To make pancakes
Take a pinte of creame 4 spoonfulls of fine
flower well fried 4 egges 3 quarters of a pound of
butter well clarefied season it wi th  salt & a little
nutmeg mixe it all very well together
there needs no butter to frie it, it is fat enough to
fry it self. thay must be very thin & in a small
frying pan.

Transcriptions courtesy of Breanne Weber, MA student University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Breanne won both the transcription sprints hosted at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Now you know whom to call when you need a seventeenth-century manuscript transcribed in a jiffy!

[The two recipes can be found in Folger MS v.b. 366, pages 63 and 80].

 

 

Transcribathon continues

Welcome to #transcribathon all those who have now joined us or will be shortly joining us from the University of Saskatchewan, University of Texas Arlington, Pacific Lutheran University, and the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs), as well as independent scholars from Ottawa, Calgary, and Australia!

The University of Saskatchewan crew

The University of Saskatchewan crew

We are going to be on a roll for our last three #transcribathon hours.

It’s on!

 

IMG_1548We woke up to a wonderful morning here in Washington and the EMROC/EMMO transcribathon is now underway. We’re a full house here, all working hard on the recipe book of Rebecca Winche. The book is a recent acquisition for the Folger Shakespeare Library and we’re so excited to be working on it.

The book contains a mixture of circa 150 culinary and medicinal recipes, including an early chocolate recipe, instructions to make a stewed and stuffed pigeon, a snail water, a nutmeg and raisin cheesecake and a number of fascinating cough remedies. One of these, in particular, involved dipping a licorice stick into a tincture of white wine vinegar, hyssop water, sugar and almond oil and “licke often of it”.

A little sleuthing suggests that the book at the centre of all this whirlwind activity once belonged to the Winche family of Hawnes/Haynes in Bedfordshire.

112243The book bears the ownership note of “Rebeckah Winche 1666” and was likely started by Rebeckah Brown Winche who was married to Sir Humphrey Winch, 1st Baronet (1622-1703) member of Parliament for Bedford. Rebeckah helpfully provides us with a brief genealogy at the back of the notebook and so we find out that Humphrey and Rebeckah were proud parents of Rebecca (b. 1660, married Thomas Lawley, Staffordshire, in 1681).

We’re still in the thick of things here and I will post more information about the manuscript and the transcribathon in a little while. For now, I’m dashing off to join the others.

Follow us on twitter @EMRecipesOnline – #transcribathon #FolgerEMMO!

IMG_1549

 

 

And we’re off!

By Lisa Smith

Alice Violett, Helen Kemp, Jake Millar (momentarily absent), Kim Shrive, David Rundle, Lisa Smith (taking photo)

Alice Violett, Helen Kemp, Jake Millar (momentarily absent), Kim Shrive, David Rundle, Lisa Smith (taking photo)

Here we are, all in our places with bright shining faces! It’s the first round of the Transcribathon, kicking off at the University of Essex from 11:00-14:00 (UK time), with transcribers joining in from Max Planck Institute (Berlin) and the University of York. Our participants in this round include a mix of undergraduates, postgraduates, postdoctoral fellows and lecturers.

There are two updates to the workflow for the day. First, we’re going to be triple-keying instead of just double-keying. For those non-techie people out there, that means every page will be entered three times by different people and then compared, which will ensure extra accuracy.

Once the triple keys are done, the members of the EMROC steering committee will be doing the checks for accuracy–or, reconciliation–as we go along throughout the day. The second update is a new innovation as of this week! Thanks to the Folger Shakespeare Library people making some last minute tweaks to the Dromio system, we will now be able to add in some tags (such as “ingredient” or “person”, etc.).

We’re really looking forward to seeing how far we get in producing a triple-keyed and tagged transcribed text by the end of our twelve hours.

Please come follow our progress as it happens on our Trello board or on Twitter.

Counting down the hours…

By Elaine Leong

Things are buzzing here at EMROC headquarters! Tomorrow, we are hosting the first ever annual EMROC transcribathon.

Scriptorium, 15th Century. From Project Gutenberg eText 16531: Old St. Paul's Cathedral, by William Benham. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Scriptorium, 15th Century. From Project Gutenberg eText 16531: Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, by William Benham. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

On Wednesday, an international group of us will work collectively to transcribe the seventeenth-century recipe book of Rebecca Winche. Groups of transcribers will be joining us from the University of Essex (at 11 am UK time), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (at noon Berlin time), the Folger Shakespeare Library (at 9 am, D.C. time), University of Saskatchewan, University of Texas, Arlington, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Pacific Lutheran University and the Huntington Library (circa 2 pm West Coast time).

We’re pretty sure that this is the first international cross-timezone transcribathon in the the history of such events and we’re super excited to organize and host this digital humanities and pedagogical experiment. It’s not too late to join us. Just email Lisa Smith at lisa.smith@essex.ac.uk.

For those of you already signed-up and who’d like to take a sneak peak at the manuscript and familiarize yourself with the transcription system and more, visit our Transcribathon 101 page. However, no sneaky transcribing before Wednesday!

We will be live tweeting the event – join us at #transcribathon.

Get your keyboards ready, ladies and gentlemen.

An intriguing invitation

By Elaine Leong

winche sample page

v.b.366: “Receipt booke of Rebeckah Winche”

A seventeenth-century recipe book. Twelve hours. 208 pages. And transcribers from around the world.

Our goal? Using the Folger Shakespeare Library’s online transcription platform, we’ll collaboratively produce a searchable transcription of Rebeckah Winche’s recipe book in twelve hours.

On 7 October, please join the Early Modern Recipe Online Collective (EMROC) for our first annual Transcribathon. We will have transcription groups working at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the University of Essex, the University of Akron, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Texas Arlington, with individuals joining in virtually throughout the day.

Along the way, participants will virtually meet scholars from around the world, have the opportunity to participate in a series of transcription sprints, and emerge from the day with a line for their CV—all from their own home, classroom, or office! NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY – we’ll walk you through the coding and offer pointers on the handwriting.

Even if you don’t want to transcribe, you can still join the fun in other ways.

For more information see here. To join us, email Lisa Smith (lisa.smith@essex.ac.uk).

 

Back to school….

By Elaine Leong

Welcome to the 2015-16 academic year!

Time flies. It’s hard to believe but the Early Modern Recipes Online Collective (EMROC) enters its fourth year this September. Since our launch in 2012, nearly 80 students have transcribed over 900 pages across 5 campuses. In classes such as Lisa Smith’s ‘Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe’, Jennifer Munroe’s ‘Thinking Green: Eco-Approaches to Texts’, Amy Tigner’s ‘Recipes for Literature/Literature of Recipes’ and Rebecca Laroche’s ENGL 3200 course, students have worked collaboratively to transcribe the recipe books of Johanna St. John, Anne Fanshawe, Jane Baber, Frances Catchmay and Elizabeth Bulkeley. In their endeavors, they were ably aided by student research assistants working with Elaine Leong at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and Hillary Nunn at The University of Akron. More information on teaching transcription in the classroom, including sample syllabi, can be found here.

The 2015-16 academic year proves to be an exciting one for EMROC. Firstly, we’re making the big move and joining forces with Heather Wolfe and the Early Modern Manuscripts Online team at the Folger Shakespeare Library. We have been working hard over the summer to prepare for our move. On the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus, Kat Rutz and Monterey Hall, have been helping us make the transition into DROMIO by uploading images of Wellcome manuscripts and testing out the transcription interface. In early October, we will celebrate the move with an international cross-time zone transcribathon. More news on that coming soon – watch this space!

As always, the new academic year brings a new group of undergraduate and graduate student members to EMROC. This fall, nearly 70 students will be transcribing the Catchmay, Corlyon, Grenville, Bulkeley and Fanshawe recipe books on four campuses across the United States. We’re delighted to welcome Nancy Simpson-Younger and her students at Pacific Lutheran University who will be working on sections of the Corlyon manuscript as part of the course ‘The Book in Society’. Cheers to a great semester of teaching, learning and transcribing.

Finally, led by Kailan Sindelar and Breanne Weber, enterprising students on the Charlotte campus of the University of North Carolina have started the ‘Early Modern Paleography Society’. With Jennifer Munroe as their faculty advisor, EMPS members will travel to Washington D.C. to join the October transcribe-a-thon and continue to bring recipe texts to life over the coming academic year. Starting October, EMPS members will also be chronicling their adventures in transcribing on this very blog, so check-in periodically to see how they’re doing.

Welcome!

Be Elaine Leong

Organized in 2012, the Early Modern Recipes Online Collective (EMROC) is an international group of scholars and enthusiasts who are committed to improving free online access to historical archives and quality contextual information. We see the importance of linking hundreds of texts in repositories that may be thousands of miles apart, as well as creating a space for dialogue about the ideas and research generated around these texts.

This long-term project looks to include scholars, students and the general public in the preservation, transcription and analysis of recipes written in English from circa 1550-1800. The ultimate goal is an accessible and searchable corpus of recipe books currently in manuscript. By enabling users to search by ingredient, date, process, person, disease, and type, we will be able to learn a lot about how early modern people interacted with each other and with their environments.