Researching a Food History Question?


Are you trying to answer a food history question? We offer the following six suggestions.

Check our Inkling Series

Go to our Inkling Series booklist, and click on individual titles to see short descriptions and the books' covers. We can ship quickly, or some titles may already be available to you at a local museum bookstore.

Consider our Classic Reprints

Reprints of classic cookbooks also assist in gaining insight into early periods of American food history.

Look Through our FoodNotes Articles

Our FoodNotes articles cover a wide variety of food history topics.

Visit Your Local Library, and Used/Rare Bookseller

Your local public library, any university library, and many used/rare bookstores offer opportunities for food history research. One particularly helpful set of vintage books is the Time-Life series Foods of the World, published in the late 1960's and early 1970's, with 27 volumes surveying most major cuisines.

Use the Google Search Engine


Enter an appropriate group of words into the Google search block shown above. We find that many food history searches are effectively accomplished when the topic words are supplemented by “history” and “origin.” (For example, type into the block “mayonnaise history origin,” examine the results from Google, and then click on the most promising web addresses offered. Subsequent searches may need adjustments in the words submitted, in order to narrow in on the results desired. — And for mayonnaise history, you can also simply see our FoodNotes article “Mayo Info!”)

Contract Research by Patricia Mitchell

On some very specialized topics, you may want to contract with Patricia Mitchell to do research for you, utilizing her own extensive collection and files, and/or regional libraries and archives.

The rate is $30 per hour, plus copying and shipping/handling costs, plus travel (if applicable). Research parameters and prospects must be fully discussed and an advance fee arranged. Contact: