Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Ethnology, Cultural and economic geography, Interdisciplinary, History, Folklore studies

Publication Details

Mac Con Iomaire, M. (2010) 'Hidden Voices from the Culinary Past: Oral History as a Tool for Culinary Historians' in Friedland, S. (ed) Food and Language:


There has been a growing interest in culinary history and gastronomy in the last three decades (Messer, Haber et al. 2000). Much of the work of culinary historians is centred on written sources, ranging from cookbooks, diaries, or menus. The voices and life experiences of most food workers (both domestic and professional) are hidden, apart from the minority who wrote cookbooks or memoirs. This paper discusses the use of oral history as a tool to un-lock the experiences of food workers and draws on the author’s experiences using oral history in researching the history of Dublin restaurants 1900-2000 for his Ph.D. in the Dublin Institute of Technology.