Sunday, September 11, 2011

Alcatraz Christmas: Cigs and butter

Last night, I was awake until bleeding 7am...then slept until almost 7pm today. Woke up still tired and cranky. Not sick, just sleepy. -.-

However, Mrs. Harris had picked up the latest issue of Food Network Magazine, because it's full of Halloween and pumpkin recipes, and she knows me all too well :3 One of the articles is about the New York Public Library and its new project: taking menus from the Rare Book room and scanning them and transcribing the recipes. Intrigued, I went to the site. A couple of clicks later, I'm helping transcribe. As an anthropology buff, I think this is awesome, but Ross keeps rolling his eyes at me.

The first menu I went to ended up being the Alcatraz Mess Hall Christmas menu from 1929. It's sparse, but not as bad as it could have been. They even got "mixed candies"! I just find it hilarious that butter is listed...and the last item is cigarettes. :D I just see grim 20's gangsters lined up in a buffet line with cartons of cigs at the end given out by other inmates in hairnets.

"Yes, please."
"Nah, but can I have two helpings of smokes?"
"Fuck off wit' dat. Youse can have seconds when youse finish what youse got."

If you're interested, go to and find out more. Or, click the link below to see what I did first to get an idea of how easy it is.
Alcatraz Island - What's on the Menu? Help transcribe The New York Public Library's historical menu collection

The Los Angeles Public Library is also doing the same, though I haven't checked it out yet. Head to to see their project. Happy transcribing!

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