New SSHRC Funding for The Riddle Project

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has granted support to the project over the next two years to investigate this new genre from an interdisciplinary angle. The team, led by Nathalie Cooke, Associate Dean of ROAAr, includes an energetic team of research assistants as well as collaborators from across the departments of the McGill Library. Librarians, digitization specialists, cataloguers and researchers will work together to shed new light on the newly Identified sub-genre of Enigmatical Bills of fare (Ebfs).

Here is a taste of the work to come from Project lead, Nathalie Cooke:

A Baronet? A Beau? The First Temptation and a Slight Gust?

Imagine trying to decipher your dinner menu through a game of words. This research program was prompted by such a curiosity: an 1805 handwritten diagram of a table setting in which each dish was described only by riddles. (By the way, answers to those included above are Sir Loin, Macaroni, and Apple Puff, in case you are wondering what’s for dinner.) Since that initial discovery, I have identified more riddling menus, often titled “enigmatical bills of fare” (Ebfs). Some are formally printed, others scribbled by hand. Without exception they are without the riddles’ solutions. Why would one curate and serve a menu of riddles? What was the function of food that was good only for thought? How do these Table Setting riddles figure within the larger evolution of the riddle tradition?


Congratulations to the Team!

Follow the Riddle Project’s Progress:

Like on Facebook @timelessriddles, follow on Twitter @Time1essRiddles, or by email at to solve riddles, ask questions, or just to stay involved.

Keep calm and a riddle on!

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