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The Sifter isn’t a collection of recipes, or a repository of entire texts. Instead, it’s a multilingual database, currently 130,000-items strong, of the ingredients, techniques, authors, and section titles included in more than 5,000 European and U.S. cookbooks. It provides a bird’s-eye view of long-term trends in European and American cuisines, from shifting trade routes and dining habits to culinary fads. Search “cupcakes,” for example, and you’ll find the term may have first popped up in Mrs. Putnam’s Receipt Book And Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, a guide for ladies running middle-class households in the 1850s. Search “peacock” and you’ll find the bird’s meat was sometimes eaten from the 1400s to the 1700s in courtly England.