"Informative, intelligent, interesting, well documented, and user-friendly. The recipe indexes by state and time are pure gold." - Lynne Olver, editor, The Food Timeline

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Food History Detective Game

Help Solve Food History Mysteries!

Find the earliest recipes for American dishes:

With each story are clues about where to look for earlier versions, and a rating of your chances. Some dates are for first published recipe, some for a manuscript recipe, and some for earliest print mention of the dish. Click for details. Then email back about your disoveries, and get your name on a website!

(Now of course, no sooner do I show this page to Lynne Olver, quoted kndly above, than she warns me to be clear when we are looking for the name of a dish, such as "fudge," which might be quite a lot later than an early recipe, say for a fudge-like "soft candy.") So remember...

This page, too, is always under construction!

Dish or NameDate(s) Who Found Your ChancesHints Where to Look
Fudge/Panuci1888, 1892, 1893 Lee Edwards Bening, Janet Theophano, Mark Zanger Very GoodCookbooks, Letters
Hermit Cookies1877Mark Zanger ExcellentCookbooks
Strawberry Shortcake1847Virginia Mescher fairOld Newspapers

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2006 by Mark H. Zanger. Remember, there is no copyright on recipes or other common household formulae, but copyright and fair use laws do apply to selection of recipes and cultural-historical commentary.