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Archives Alive!: Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts & Cookbooks Collection

For students working on the Archives Alive! assignment

Contextualizing your document

What questions do you have about your document? You might, for example, have questions about the economics of cooking: How does the cost of making a chocolate cake in 1909 compare with the cost of making a similar cake today? Or perhaps you are interested in the social habits that governed when particular types of food were served: Were certain dishese considered formal rather than something eaten everyday? Or what about nutrition: What is the nutirional composition of a quarter block of chocolate?

The resources in the 'Resources on cooking, eating and food' box below are organized around perspectives that can help you develop questions about and investigate the context surrounding your particular document(s). Under each tab you'll find a list of Library of Congress Subject Heading searches from the Libraries catalog, a list of searchable databases and other pertinent materials.

Don't have a question yet? That's ok. Pick a couple of resources listed under the tabs below and browse around to help jump start your inquiry.

Wait, what is headcheese? Find a term you're unsure of? Check out  Linda's Culinary Dictionary, a culinary glossary on the What's Cooking in America website.

Resources on cooking, eating and food

Library of Congress Subject Heading search


Library of Congress Subject Heading Search

Reference materials

A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition (4 ed.) (Online)

Online resources

USDA Food & Nutrition Service


Library of Congress Subject Heading search

Additional Subject Guides

Check out the information provided on the United States Government Information Subject Guide. You might start by browsing resources organized by Topic (click on 'Info by Topic' tab at the top of the page. Resources provided related to the following topics may be of interest:

Trouble getting started?

Try reading some background information about the collection written by Chef Louis Szathmary himself. Or, check out the collection guide for more information on the manuscript or cookbook where your document is located.

Or, browse the following list of general titles on food, cooking and eating to help you get started. These books are available at Main Library Course Reserve (next to the Service Desk on the 1st floor). 

Still having trouble?

Check out the PBS cooking series A Taste of History. The chefs on this show recreate American recipes from the 18th century and provide historical context to ingredients and food items popular during this time.  Watching an episode or two from this series can give you an idea of the questions you might ask about your document and provide historical context on food, cooking, and eating more generally.

Seasons 1-6 are available at the Main Library Service Desk (1st floor). Bring one of the following call numbers to retrieve a DVD. See the Taste of History site for information about season contents.

Season 1 - Main Media Collection Video Record 40066 DVD

Season 2 - Main Media Collection Video Record 40067 DVD

Season 3 - Main Media Collection Video Record 40068 DVD

Season 4 - Main Media Collection Video Record 40069 DVD

Season 5 - Main Media Collection Video Record 40070 DVD

Season 6 - Main Media Collection Video Record 40071 DVD

Subject Guide

Katie Hassman's picture
Katie Hassman