Wikipedia:WikiProject Food and drink/Tools/sources

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Food and Drink

 Source list

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An annotated list of sources for food and drink articles. The goal is to help editors find reliable sources of information on food topics. This page is intended to provide sources that are useful for multiple articles. Of course, individual articles' bibliographies should also be useful.


Since Wikipedia is not a cookbook, the question is how useful cookbooks are not for recipes, but for the description and history of food. In general, they are fairly good about description, though they can be idiosyncratic and provincial, being unaware of food habits outside their authors' neighborhood. They also tend to be trendy. Cookbooks are generally very weak for history. Very rarely have the authors consulted serious sources, and they tend to repeat legends and folklore freely.

Encyclopedias and References[edit]

Probably the best all-round encyclopedia of food. Many articles have useful bibliographies. Especially strong on English and western European foods. Benefits from the years of articles in Petits Propos Culinaires and the Oxford Symposia on Food.
  • Cambridge World History of Food
  • Jean-Louis Flandrin and Massimo Montanari, eds., Food: A Culinary History from Antiquity to the Present ISBN 0-231-11154-1
An excellent collection of articles.
The standard reference for the science of foods.
A good source for 19th and early 20th century French cooking. Very unreliable outside France. Unreliable for history (the notorious croissant legend was first published here).
Said to be improved over the first for non-French food.
A small, eclectic anthology of articles from the Annales
Pretty good popular history.
Mostly traditional French recipes. No source notes. Not very useful.
  • Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne (1994), History of Food, Blackwell Publishing Professional, ISBN 0631194975.
A totally unreliable source, full of legends and misinformation. She doesn't footnote most of what she writes, so there's no way of verifying it. Do not use.

Journals, magazines, proceedings[edit]

Most popular magazines (Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Cook's Illustrated, Saveur, etc.), regardless of how good their recipes are, do not emphasize accurate research into the background and history of foods.

Particular cuisines[edit]


Middle East[edit]

  • Sami Zubaida and Richard Tapper, A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East, London and New York, 1994 and 2000, ISBN 1-86064-603-4, p. 35.
Excellent collection of good articles.
Though this is a cookbook, it has taken its historical research more seriously than most cookbooks.


  • K.C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives
Good scholarly overview of history.


  • Stephen Mennell, All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present
Good scholarly treatment.


Good journalistic survey.
Excellent scholarly treatment.

(see also Mennell, under England)



  • Andrew Dalby, Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece
An amazing summary of classical and Byzantine Greek texts on food. Scholarly, careful, comprehensive. The Ottoman and modern periods are very briefly touched on at the end.


Good journalistic survey.
Good survey.


  • Bríd Mahon, Land of Milk and Honey: The Story of Traditional Irish Food and Drink, Swords, Dublin: Poolbeg Press Ltd, 1991, ISBN 978-1-85371-142-8.
Mahon worked for the Irish Folklore Commission.
  • Regina Sexton and Cathal Cowan, Ireland's Traditional Foods: An Exploration of Irish Local and Typical Foods and Drinks, Dublin: Teagasc, The National Food Centre, 1997, ISBN 978-1-901138047.
Teagasc is an Irish semi-state authority responsible for research in the agri-food sector. Regina Sexton is an Irish food historian at University College Cork.
  • Margaret Hickey, Ireland’s Green Larder: The Definitive History of Irish Food and Drink, London: Unbound, 2018, ISBN 978-1783525249.
This is not a very reliable source - not properly referenced/footnoted, and re-telling a lot of Bríd Mahon's work in a superficial way.



  • Jeffrey M. Pilcher, Que vivan los tamales!: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity ISBN 978-0826318732
  • Jeffrey M. Pilcher, Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food ISBN 978-0199740062
  • José Luis Juárez López, La lenta emergencia de la comida mexicana. Ambigüedades criollas, 1750-1800 ISBN 978-0199740062
  • José Luis Juárez López, Nacionalismo culinario. La cocina mexicana en el siglo XX ISBN 978-6075164656
  • José Luis Juárez López, Engranaje Culinario: La Cocina Mexicano en el Siglo XIX ISBN 978-6074559583


A very authentic and thorough (though sadly not illustrated) coverage of traditional recipes, including those of the former republics of the Soviet Union. Chapters for each type of meal (appetizer, soup, salad, meat by type) and holiday menus. Includes brief cultural and historical introductions.


United States[edit]

Mostly social history around the year 1900


By category of food[edit]

Seafood & fish[edit]

  • Alan Davidson, Mediterranean Seafood
  • Alan Davidson, North Atlantic Seafood
Fabulous resources on the fish and seafood of their regions. A summary page per species including both biology and cuisine. Also a collection of recipes.

Web resources[edit]

There are many Web resources on food, many of them plagiarized from each other, with little reliable information, and rarely any source notes.