Food and Drink in History

From feast to famine, explore five centuries of primary source material documenting the story of food and drink.

The story of food and drink is a unique lens through which to view social and cultural history. The materials in this collection illustrate the deep links between food and identity, politics, power, gender, race, and socio-economic status, as well as charting key issues such as agriculture, nutrition, and food production.

Explore a wide range of primary source material, including printed and manuscript cookbooks, advertising ephemera, government reports, films, and illustrated content - revealing the evolution of food and drink within everyday life and the public sphere. The unique material in this collection has been sourced from across the globe to reflect a wide range of food cultures and traditions, creating an unparalleled research resource.

A veritable feast for food and drink scholars across time and space: with primary sources ranging from cookbooks to company records and ephemeral objects, this is a one-stop collection of exciting materials from all over the globe. 
Professor Beat K√ľmin, University of Warwick

Key Data

Period Covered

  • 1514-1980


  • Early, influential and rare cookbooks from the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive at the University of Michigan
  • Cookbook collections from the University of California San Diego and Michigan State University, with a focus on Mexican, Latin American, Pacific Rim, Chinese, early Californian, African and Asian cuisines
  • A collection of manuscript cookbooks providing a unique insight into early household recipes and remedies
  • Material from the Chaston Chapman Brewing collection and the Seagram Company Archive explains brewing, winemaking, and the legal issues surrounding alcohol
  • Government papers from the Ministry of Food at The National Archives
  • Papers from the Audrey Richards collection, a pioneering anthropologist, including diaries and correspondence

Source Archives

  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • Brotherton Library, University of Leeds
  • The National Archives
  • Hagley Museum & Library
  • The British Library
  • University of California, San Diego
  • London School of Economics and Political Science 
  • Winterthur
  • History of Advertising Trust
  • State Library of New South Wales

Material Types

  • Printed and manuscript cookbooks from across the globe
  • Government papers
  • Company reports and pamphlets
  • Periodicals
  • Advertising and food packaging
  • Marketing reports and research papers
  • Correspondence and diaries
  • Ephemera, including menus, booklets, posters, adverts and leaflets

Editorial Board

  • Ken Albala, University of the Pacific
  • Martin Bruegel, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
  • Beth Forrest, Culinary Institute of America
  • Ai Hisano, Kyoto University
  • Roger Horowitz, Hagley Museum and Library
  • Beat Kumin, University of Warwick
  • Jan Longone, University of Michigan
  • James McCann, Boston University
  • Anne Murcott, SOAS University of London
  • Fabio Parasecoli, New York University
  • Jeffrey Pilcher, University of Toronto
  • William Woys Weaver
  • Adele Wessell, Southern Cross University


  • Food regulation and adulteration
  • Alcohol production and consumption
  • Global and ethnic cuisines
  • Food rituals, feasting, and religion
  • Gastronomy
  • Food retailing
  • Health, nutrition, and diet

Key Features

  • Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology to enable full-text searching of the manuscript cookbook collection
  • Contextual essays
  • Video interviews
  • Case studies
  • Visual gallery

Supporting Material