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Discover New Favorites With Old Recipes from MPL's Historic Recipe File

By MPL Staff on Apr 14, 2020 9:00 AM

If you're anything like us, you've searched for recipes online, clicked a promising link, and then been faced with a giant block of text with no recipe in sight. Why do you have to scroll past a rambling account of a life-changing retreat with six llamas in the Andes mountains when you just wanted to find out how long to bake the cookies?

Well, Milwaukee Public Library has just the collection for you: our Historic Recipe File.

This full-text, searchable database holds over 5,400 recipes diligently clipped from the Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel by Milwaukee librarians over the course of more than twenty years, starting in the 1960s. Before you could search online for a recipe (life affirming-preambles and all), if you didn't have your trusty Betty Crocker handy you could call Ready Reference. So, Ready Reference needed a file of recipes and where better to pull from than the local papers?

With the advent of the internet, far fewer folk called into Ready Reference for recipes, so our Recipe File no longer served its original purpose. Instead, the resource is now a historical record! Almost 30 years of recipes (with some dating back over 50 years) could hardly be left to languish in a disused wooden card catalog in the corner of an office. Instead, staff took the time to digitize the entire file so that anyone can access these recipes and see these slices of Milwaukee culinary history.

Whether you want to recreate State Fair Cream Puffs, have a hankering for Cabbage Crust Spinach Pie, or simply want to know how to properly make Baked Skunk, all of these recipes are available in the Historic Recipe File. You can browse the recipes alphabetically, or search by keyword to find that perfect recipe for the ingredients you've gathered from your pantry. All without having to read a giant story first!

Well, other than this whole story. Guess we didn't save you that part after all.



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