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Blog Posts by Subject: Food

Summer Reading Kick-Off: Top Chef Edition

What do you get when you combine 11 teenagers, two brave judges, and a shopping bag filled with after-school snacks? Muhlenberg Library’s first annual “Top Chef” competition!

Last Friday, teens at Muhlenburg Library used everyday food to make extra-ordinary after school snacks. The results were simply delicious! (Most of the time.)

To host a “Top Chef” program, you’ll need a grab bag of snacks (the more random they are... the more interesting the finished products will be!), and a variety of utensils, plates, cups, and 

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History on the Half-Shell: The story of New York City and its oysters

Blue Points, Saddle Rocks, Rockaways, Lynnhavens, Cape Cods, Buzzard Bays, Cotuits, Shrewsburys -- raw on the half shell. Fried oysters, oyster pie, oyster patties, oyster box stew, Oysters Pompadour, Oysters Algonquin, Oysters a la Netherland, a la Newberg, a la Poulette, oysters roasted on toast, broiled in shell, served with cocktail sauce, stewed in milk or cream, fried with bacon, escalloped, fricasseed, and pickled.  If you have spent any time transcribing for NYPL's What’s on the Menu? project, you’ve seen a lot of ways to 

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What Flavor is Your Book?

Do you have a "voracious appetite" for reading? Have you ever “devoured” a book? Have you ever had the depraved desire to slather your first-edition F. Scott Fitzgerald classic with whipped cream and chocolate sauce? Do you look forward to resuming that book you put down on the subway with the same hunger that you anticipate that chocolate cake at your favorite restaurant? Does a good dessert make you feel equally comfortable as a good book, like you would want to curl up in bed with either (aside from the crumbs that a dessert might shed, of course)?   If you ... Read More ›

Hold the Applause! Testimonial Menus

Perhaps you’ve noticed a few more people joining the menu party lately. The Buncombe County Medical Association is here. As are our friends from the National Life Insurance Company. We’ve even extended an invite to our canine crew (and their owners) from the Philadelphia Dog Show Association.

Clubs, organizations, companies, and associations often hosted an 

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The Queen B: Miss Buttolph and Her Menus

If you've transcribed even one menu, you've likely seen her stamp. A blue oval bearing her name, "Buttolph Collection", as graceful as a branding iron over asparagus, Russian caviar, or Boston baked beans.

Miss Frank E. Buttolph stamped nearly every menu she collected for the New York Public Library, twenty-three years worth, amounting to roughly 25,000 menus under her tenure 

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New Feature! Unlock Menus to Continue Editing

We've gotten a number of questions over the past week of What's on the Menu? about menus marked as "done." Do we really mean done? As in finished, vetted, archived for posterity? Fear not, we've cleared up this confusion with some new language. What we really meant to say was "under review."

On several occasions, a volunteer e-mailed us saying they'd spotted errors, or missing dishes, on menus marked as complete. I happily re-opened the menus in question (a facility only open to site administrators) and 

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Tricky Menu Tips: Ditto Marks, Prices, and More

Wow. We're sitting here with our mouths agape, simply overwhelmed --and thrilled! -- by the response to What's on the Menu? We knew you guys liked food, but holy (broiled) mackerel!

We launched WOTM very quietly, just three days ago, and, as of this typing, we have over 22K dishes transcribed! And it's evident, from the emails and tweets we've been receiving, that we have some very enthusiastic participants out there. Thank you!

But as you may have noticed, each menu is very different. Each has its quirks and 

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Doin' the Dishes!

Saratoga ChipsCorned Beef Hash.  Large Pot of Oolong Tea

Okay, so they’re not included in the works of Shakespeare (as far as I know), but that doesn’t mean these dishes aren't of value to researchers and scholars and the generally curious who read menus in order to learn more about the food served and consumed in restaurants throughout history.

But until now this kind of information (the food!) was 

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Close To Famous: A Young Adult Novel by Joan Bauer

Cinderella sang "A dream is a wish your heart makes."  That about sums up the mindset of the main characters in Close to Famous by Joan Bauer.  They are all wishing and hoping for something.

When the novel begins, the main character, twelve year old  Foster and her mom have been driven away from their home in Memphis to Culpepper, West Virginia by an abusive Elvis impersonator, Huck.  Foster's dad died in 

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The Amazing, Wonderful, Incredible World of Beer: A Memoir

When health is bad and your heart feels strange, And your face is pale and wan, When doctors say you need a change, A pint of plain is your only man.

                                  —Flann O'Brien

I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes 

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Food, Glorious Food: Baking Blogs and Food Memoirs

I recently came upon a blog called The World Needs More Pie: Give a piece a chance. It is a blog dedicated to living each day to the fullest as if it were your last. The blogger, Beth Howard, used pie making to help her heal from the untimely death of her husband, Marcus.  She is also writing a full length book about her choice to leave a nine to five career in favor of 

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An interview with Sri Walpola, creator of "A Taste of Home: Cooking Sri Lankan in New York"

Currently on display at the St. George Library Center is a photo exhibit by photojournalist Sri Walpola, "A Taste of Home: Cooking Sri Lankan in New York." We sat down with him for a brief interview.

What inspired "A Taste of Home: Cooking Sri Lankan in New York"?

Since my arrival in New York, I started cooking. I started looking for Sri Lankan ingredients first, and then I started cooking with the help of my mother and both my sisters via the telephone because all of them are in Sri 

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Start a New Hobby with the Help From NYPL's Periodical Collections!

Would you like to learn how to knit or improve your bird watching skills? The DeWitt Wallace Periodicals Division currently holds over 100 hobbies and leisure activities magazines for hobbyists, amateurs and enthusiasts alike.  

We have periodicals ranging from antique trading to

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How to Cook Sri Lankan with Cabbage

Spices to prepare Sri Lankan chicken stewTraditional Sri Lankan cuisine is a wondrous mix of tropical produce, freshly pounded spices, and curries cooked slowly in clay pots over an open fire. Flavor comes with spare time and energy — two factors in short supply in the big city. As a result, photojournalist Sri Walpola became interested in how his fellow countrywomen manage to recreate the tastes of home on Staten Island.

Last year, Walpola photographed several women in the Sri Lankan enclave of Tompkinsville, Staten Island, documenting the way they adapt 

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A Helping Hand from Food Stamps

The United States Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known more commonly as the Food Stamp Program, provides support to low-income New Yorkers including working families, qualified immigrants, the elderly and the disabled to increase their ability to purchase food. A household must qualify under eligibility rules set by the federal government to enroll in this program.  To determine your eligiblity for this or other goverment assistance programs, click

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November Reader's Den: "Kitchen Confidential" Discussion Wrap-Up

Welcome to the wrap-up of our discussion of Kitchen Confidential. We hope that we have inspired you to be adventurous in the kitchen this Thanksgiving holiday [if you happen to be reading this blog from a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving now, then we hope that it has inspired you to be adventurous in the kitchen in general], or at least inspired you to find some tasty reading.

Since Kitchen Confidential is a memoir, many of the scenes in it help us to understand why Anthony Bourdain is so 

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Finishing Up: "Kitchen Confidential"

The third course chapter of Kitchen Confidential recounts Tony's series of jobs after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America.  From the fading glory with a view of the Rainbow Room to the Apocalypse Now atmosphere of Works Progress, then later to the slow failures of Tom's and Rick's Cafe, etc. Along with an increasingly fat paycheck, his stories of the various kitchens he worked in 

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Discount sushi and other really bad ideas

Welcome back to the Reader’s Den.  This month we are reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen ConfidentialJenny’s post from last week gave us some background on Bourdain.  We are progressing in the book onto the second course now, which outlines “what strange beasts lurk behind the kitchen doors” as well as several 

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November Reader’s Den: About the Author of "Kitchen Confidential"

Welcome back to this month’s Reader’s Den, co-led by Jenny Baum and Ursula Murphy, about Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

Anthony Bourdain is a polarizing figure and, as such, elicits strong responses, as strong as a few politicians I can think of. Cable channels like the Food channel, the newer Cooking channel and the Travel 

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November Reader's Den: "Kitchen Confidential"

Welcome to this month’s Reader’s Den!  This month we’ll have a discussion co-led by Jenny Baum and Ursula Murphy about Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Please feel free to comment or bring up anything relevant to the book in the comment section.  We'll try to address and facilitate discussion as it comes up. 

“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating is 

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