Texts of Taste



Below, you will find a description of our mission statement and project scope. As the project changes and develops, the scope and mission statement may shift with it. We consider this project to be living and thus challenge the static nature of the archive. If you have any questions about any of the policies described below, please reach out to a team member through our contact page. 

Mission Statement

The central mission of Texts of Taste is to take domestic authorship in the nineteenth century seriously, in whatever form and whatever levels of formalization authorship may have taken. In gathering these texts into one place, our hope is that conversations around authorship in the nineteenth century might expand to include less formalized self-publication as well as include voices which are critically overlooked in nineteenth-century, American literary studies. Just as recipes are co-authored, remediated, and edited communally, we open the archive to contributions as well as feedback that might help us make these recipes legible and accessible to all who would seek them out.

Scope and Ethics

Texts of Taste focuses on annotated, marked-up, and otherwise timeworn nineteenth-century American recipes and cookbooks. The current focus of this project is on printed cookbooks which have been annotated or personalized in some way, though future iterations of the project might expand to include annotated manuscript recipes, as well.

Similarly, since the focus of the project is on annotated recipes, users will note that many of the objects in the archive are singular pages rather than entire editions of the cookbooks. We acknowledge that the nineteenth-century is a period in which millions of Black Americans were enslaved and thus while this project hopes to expand notions of authorship to include less formalized, domestic authorship that any discussion of food writing in the nineteenth century is never far removed from notions of enslavement and forced labor. For this reason, we urge users to critically engage not only with the text as it is presented, but to also consider the power structures in which the recipes were written and from whose labor these recipes might have been derived.

We also acknowledge that the project is currently spearheaded by a cis-gender, white woman in an academic position, and identity that we hope in disclosing can push the project forward towards an ethics of transparency and care. We consider the archive to be living, in that documentation, digitization, and metadata practices are not permanent and should grow and evolve as the project does. For this reason, we invite contributions and suggestions for how we might improve our user experience and make the archive a place that acknowledges power rather than obscures it.