Englishmen, and more especially seamen, love their bellies above anything else. ~ Samuel Pepys In which we meet ship’s biscuit,* that sustainer of seafarers, soldiers, and travelers since the days of the Romans’ buccellum and before. Only a hammer could do justice to this twice-cooked, rock-hard bread made only of flour, water, and salt, this […]Read more "Tooth Dullers and Weevil Castles – Life Before the Mast"
Thomas Dawson’s pie recipe (The Good Housewife’s Jewell, 1596) was meant to impart courage to a man or a woman, the sweet potato being considered an aphrodisiac at the time: A Tarte to prouoke courage either in man or Woman. TAKE a quart of good wine, and boyle therein two Burre rootes scraped cleane, two good Quinces, […]Read more "A Tarte to prouoke courage either in man or Woman."
“Petworth House has been the home of the Leconfield family since it was granted to them by Queen Adeliza, the second wife of Henry 1, in 1150. And it is now lived in by Lord Egremont, a family member, who grew up in the house in the 1950s, just after it was gifted to the […]Read more "The Petworth Book of Country House Cookery: An English Country House Dating to 1150"
And along comes another new book about the history of English food! My cup runneth over! This one – The Culture of Food in England 1200 – 1500, by C. M. Woolgar – looks promising, for he begins Chapter One by referencing a word game from late medieval England: A carve of pantlers (those ‘who looked after […]Read more "The Culture of Food in England 1200 -1500"
I just received a most intriguing book – Wendy Wall’s Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen (2016) – and thought that some of you might find it to be of interest. This, from the conclusion, sums up the author’s theory of what a recipe book meant, and likely still means: “The recipe […]Read more "Recipes for Thought"