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  • Writer's pictureMonique Gaddy

Easing into E-Resources: Recipe and Food Culture

Updated: Jan 3

The Hidden Resource:

You may be familiar with many of the materials that you have access to at our library, such as books, CD's, audio-books, magazines, and DVDs. But are you familiar with the array of resources that are available electronically? Do you know what an electronic resource is? For those of you who are willing to take a journey into the vast world of electronic resources, this blog series is for you.

Recipe and Food Culture

On our website, underneath the green ribbon, you will find the tab “Skills and Hobbies.” Under this section you will see the AtoZ World Foods, AtoZ Food America, and ABC Food America, wonderful resources for anyone who is interested in various facets of food and beverage culture.

AtoZ World Foods

Every day, World Foods features a different country to spotlight. For instance, today as I write this blog, the spotlight is Angola. On the home page, there is a map, and if you hover over the name of the country it will light up on the map so you can see a location. When you click on the country name a page opens up about the country and its food culture. In this section, I learned that kitaba is a crunchy peanut paste used for an appetizer dish. Fish and fruit are both important staples of the food culture in Angola. If I click on the word “kitaba,” a recipe appears with a picture of the dish, preparation and cook time, and the option to save or print this recipe.

You can search this database by selecting a country on the map, a country from the list, or by the world food categories: Recipes & Food Culture, Ingredients, and Reference. There is a search bar on the top of the website as well, where you can type in and search for terms such as recipes or ingredients alone. So, for instance, if you wanted to learn all the ways that “coriander” is used, you can look it up and a list will generate that will link you back to a recipe. Try it out sometime!

If you'd like a video tutorial of this resource, check out Niche Academy.

AtoZ Food America

Today’s featured state for AtoZ Food America is Rhode Island. On the right side, some recipes are highlighted, such as Cream of Mussel Soup. You can select from the following categories: Browse by State, Browse by Region, Browse by Ethnic Group, Historical, Ingredients, and Reference. I thought Ethnic Group looked interesting, so I started my search there. Under Navajo Cuisine, I found a recipe for Navajo Mutton Stew.

I went back to the main menu and decided to explore the Historical category. Here I found a ton of archived food facts and photos, such as Fruit Carton Labels, Soda Pop Ads, and Menus. Menus popped out to me as I was searching, so I explored that further. Here I saw decades of menus, from 1850 to 2000. I found a menu from the Delavan House, a vintage menu from May 30, 1854. This particular menu archive is provided by New York Public Library.

We are currently working on a video tutorial for navigating this database.

ABC Food America

Since we are already on the subject of historical food, I thought I would explore this subject in ABC Food America. After entering my library card number and my pin I was surprised to see that this is the same website design as AtoZ Food America, the primary difference is that ABC Food America does not include recipes or information about any alcoholic beverages, but AtoZ Food America does. I explored the Reference category this time. The Reference section has a lot of useful information, such as Cooking Conversions and a Farmers' Market Directory. It also has some interesting sections such as Dietary Philosophies and Food Quotes.

For those who are still getting used to the pronunciation and word association (perhaps those who are learning from another language or learning through school), there is a Food Video Dictionary that I thought was a lot of fun. This video dictionary also provides audio for guidance. From here, you can also switch the language of the site- I switched it to Spanish -since I am working on enhancing my Spanish skills. I ran across a word I wasn’t familiar with, “clabber,” and like a true librarian used my search tools to look up more information on the food, delighted to see the description also contained photos!

Need Help?

Not everyone is comfortable or familiar with online databases, and that's where your local librarians can help. Come in and use our computers or WiFi, or give us a call, and if you get stuck or need help getting started you can ask the reference librarian and we can assist. Or, if you think you will need more uninterrupted, one-on-one help, then book a tech tutor appointment, and we can work with you individually. We like to encourage as much learning and hands-on experience as possible, so come with your notes, prepare to take more notes, and we can guide you through it so you can feel comfortable working on your own!

For online help with these resources, check out the AtoZ World Food tutorial and AtoZ Food America tutorial on Niche Academy.

Up Next: Exploring LiLI - Chilton Library

It's time we explored more of the massive database that is We can begin with one of the databases that I recommend the most to patrons, Chiltion Library. This database is so functional that it is perfect for those who are car savvy as well as those who are in the business of cars. Tune in to catch the next blog on this amazing online database!

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