Paper Trail

Remnants of meals past, digitized

We all have cherished memories that revolve around food.

Perhaps it was a meal at your favorite restaurant, which culminated with that unbelievable blackberry tart (or was it a raspberry tart?). Maybe it's that Bolognese recipe from Grandma, with its secret ingredient of cream cheese (or is it sour cream?).

The point is, we can't always trust our memories, but a crop of digital projects is available to combat our forgetfulness by offering a permanent URL to the detritus of past culinary explorations.

The blog Handwritten Recipes is a fascinating time capsule in which the owner of a used bookstore posts recipes he finds tucked in old books (he found a recipe for Choco Mallow Logs in an old Sherlock Holmes volume).

For the design-focused, The Art of the Menu, a new site from Scandinavian designers, posts menus from around the world and then breaks down the finer points of the layouts.

And for those who'd like to participate in an archival odyssey, The New York Public Library is looking for the public's help in transcribing the text of its digital collection of about 40,000 menus (which date back to the 19th century).

Soon you'll no longer need your memory to jog those taste buds.