[Sca-cooks] To Milk an Almond: Index? Database?

David Friedman ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Sat Jul 9 02:01:42 PDT 2011

I'm currently working on the full _Miscellany_, to be available as a 
POD on Amazon, and the next step is probably to index it. That 
started me thinking about useful ways of making it possible for 
people to find stuff in our recipe collection. _To Milk an Almond_ 
has about 330 recipes, and it's easy to imagine someone spending a 
good deal of time searching for ones that fit the requirements for a 
particular feast, or dinner party in terms of ingredients at hand, 
allergies, time period, etc. Some of that is taken care of by 
internal organization--recipes are categorized as European, Islamic, 
Indian, or Chinese, for instance, and subcategorized in various ways. 
But that isn't sufficient to easily find a 15th c. recipe using pork, 
onions, but no cinnamon, say.

The old fashioned solution is to  index it, so that one could look up 
all recipes with pork and get a list of page numbers. But one could 
do much better than that using a database, making it possible to 
search for any 15th c. recipe using ...   . Compiling such a database 
would be a fair amount of work, although not undoable. Once compiled, 
it could be put up on the web for free download, as the pdf of the 
book already is.

And it doesn't have to be done by us. It could be an open source 
project. It could be an open source project not limited to our 
collection, a database of the merged contents of however many 
collections belonged to people willing to make them available for the 
purpose. It wouldn't even have to be limited to collections by people 
willing to make the recipes available for free online. The database 
could let you find recipes in that category, but also point you at 
recipes available only in published cookbooks.

Thoughts? Would it be a project worth doing? Volunteers?

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