Research historical recipes & menus

Learn to locate digitised recipes and menus in the Library's online catalogue.

This activity is linked to the Eating in inquiry unit and is targeted at Years 3–6 students.

Tuning in

  • Ask students to think about the ways people know about what food is available when they go out to eat (for example, through printed menus, blackboards, or display cases). Make a list of these and discuss how the format and language differs depending on the audience.
  • Discuss the difference between a menu and a recipe. What are the similarities? Why is this important?



  • Look at the materials collected through the activity and 'Recipes and menus' lessons. Ask: how have recipes and menus changed over time? What were some of the most popular recipes? Were there any surprises?
  • Watch Rita Erlich (1:07–3:13) talking about her collection of restuarant menus, and how menus have changed.

Going further

  • Look at the Library's online Food in Victoria research guide for more research options for the topic.
  • Try an historic recipe from the collection to explore how much our tastes have changed!