Do you have a fondness for fondue, a preference for piroshki, a hankering for empanadas, or wish to savour strudel? For these delights and and many, many more, from many countries and many eras… on!

State Library Victoria members can access hundreds of databases from home (if your home is in Victoria). That’s millions of articles, magazines, archives, ebooks, videos, songs, audiobooks and more, available through the catalogue anytime. We’re taking a closer look at new and/or interesting databases as well as hidden gems from our collections. Read on for top picks and tips from librarians. 

Not a member yet? Sign up online first and reward your curiosity. 

Today we are looking at the Food and Drink in History database which explores the historical evolution of food and drink through the ages and through cultures across the world.  It examines the impact / manifestation of food and drink on the agriculture, economy, history and cuisines that have evolved through time and across countries. 

What makes this database so great?

The resources in this database have been sourced from a vast number of institutions across the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.  As such, it covers a large range of publications and manuscripts in English as well as many other languages included in the publications held by these institutions. It also includes audio and video content.

The database is consistently organized by a broad range of categories such as:  

  • Farming and Agriculture;  
  • Food Production & Industry; 
  • Food Preparation; Gastronomy;  
  • Health & Nutrition and many many other categories.  

The documents included are then grouped under the broad range of the many categories listed.  

These category headings are maintained throughout the database and used to group together or collate different aspects / resources within the database.  

For example, the database has an “Image Gallery” which uses the each of the categories established to collate / bring together images from the vast range of publications within the database.

Image Gallery

Some highlights

The database is very suitable to browsing within themes, but also has a sophisticated Advanced Search function. Much of the content is also able to be found through a search of our catalogue. It includes a collection of digitised rare books by the Roman gourmand Marcus Gavius Apicius.

In essence what is wonderful about this database is not just the massive array of books and other publications on the topics covered which have been reproduced but also that these publications show how both the concept of cooking and the equipment used have evolved through time.  Of course, the books also provide an array of recipes for cooks to explore!!

We hope you enjoy exploring Food and Drink in History

We always welcome your recommendations for database trials  – let us know what you’d like to see.  Have a research query or questions on how to use our online collections? Ask a librarian


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