So many students (or their mothers) have written to me requesting information about Elizabethan and Renaissance cooking that I've put together this page of references and links to help you find pertinent material. I hope it is of some use to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
READ, Jan and Maite Manjón. "The Great British Breakfast". 1981 A history of breakfasts from mediaeval times to its eighteenth and nineteenth century heyday. Illustrated.
A searce is a sieve. The pre-baked flour will be very hard and lumpy; you will need to rub it through a sieve in order to use it. Clouted creame is fresh unpasteurized cream that has been allowed to sit in an earthenware pan near the hearth overnight. The cream forms a thick wrinkled yellow crust called clouted or clotted cream. If you don't have clouted cream, use butter. Here is a worked out recipe for you:
To every 3 cups of sifted baked flour, take the following:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon clove powder
1/4 teaspoon mace powder
1/2 pinch saffron, crumbled
3 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the spices and egg yolks, and beat to mix thoroughly. Add the flour, and beat until smooth. Use a non-stick cookie sheet, or line a cookie sheet with baking parchment. Take the dough, 1 level teaspoonful at a time, and roll into small balls with your hands. (Resist the temptation to make them larger -- they won’t cook in the middle if they’re too big.) Flatten the balls slightly, and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and golden around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
The House on the Hill - They carry Rosewater, and much more.
Acanthus Books carries lots of rare and unusual cookbooks. Send email to: Acanthusbk@aol.com
Francesco Sirene - Spicer. Look here for all your hard-to-find spices.
Food Heritage Press - a treasure trove of old cookbooks.
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Medieval & Renaissance Food Homepage
Stefan's Florilegium - click on "food" or "cooking", you will find several files about medieval & renaissance cooking. Look under "desserts", "sweets", and "cookies". There are a few recipes there.
Elizabethan Homebrewing by Tofi Kerthjalfadsson.
Chocolate: or, An Indian Drinke. - Excerpts from a 1652 book.
Thomas Gloning's bibliography of cookery, wine, etc.
Culinary gleanings from Gerard's Herbal
Elizabethan Food and Drink
at the Dinner Table By Dr. Alessandro Giacomello
In The historie of fovre-footed beastes ... : Collected out of all the volumes of Conradvs Gesner, and all other writers to this present day. London: Printed by W. Iaggard, 1607. Topsell, Edward, 1572-1625?
and true report of the new found land of Virginia." Latin.
Hariot, Thomas, 1560-1621. Admiranda narratio fida tamen, de commodis et
incolarum ritibus Virgini : nuper admodum ab Anglis, qui à Dn. Richardo
Greinvile equestris ordinis viro eò in coloniam anno M.D. LXXXV.
deducti sunt invent, sumtus faciente Dn. VValtero Raleigh equestris ordi.
Francoforti ad Moenum : Typis Ioannis Wecheli, sumtibus vero Theodori de
Bry,  MDXC.
Click here for more culinary history links.
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A Short Bibliography:
Acanthus Books and Food Heritage Press both have reprints of so many wonderful period cookbooks, that I'm sending you there to read the titles. I won't bother listing them all here.
A Propre new booke of Cokery / declaryng what maner of meates bee best in ceason for all tymes of [th]e yere and how thei ought to bee dressed and serued at the table bothe for flessh daies and fisshe daies with a newe addicion / veri necessarye for all them that delighteth in cokery. Imprinted at London in Paules churchyard by Richard Lant and Richarde Bankes. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum. M.D.XLV. Transcription
A BOOK OF COOKRYE Very Necessary for all such as delight therin. Gathered by A. W. And now newlye enlarged with the serving in of the Table. With the proper Sauces to each of them convenient. AT LONDON Printed by Edward Allde. 1591.
Brett, Gerard. Dinner is Served: A History of Dining in England, 1400-1900. 1968.
Byrne, M. St. Clare. Elizabethan Life in Town and Country. 1961.
Culpeper, Nicholas. The English Physitian Herball , 1652. The text of this is online.
Emmison, Frederick G. Tudor Foods and Pastimes: Life at Ingatestone Hall. 1964.
Gerard, John. The Herball or General Historie of Plantes. 1633. Recently reprinted by at least 3 different people.
Lorwin, Madge. Dining With William Shakespeare. Atheneum, New York, 1976.
Sass, Lorna. To the Queen's Taste. Metropolitan Museum of Art Press, New York, 1976.
Wilson, C. Anne, ed. Banquetting Stuffe, The fare and
social background of the Tudor and Stuart banquet. Edinburgh University
Press, Edinburgh, 1991.
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Here are a few easy Elizabethan & Renaissance recipes I think you'll enjoy. Read these phonetically, and you shouldn't have too much trouble. Verjuice is the sour juice of unripe fruit; you may substitute cider vinegar. A coffin is a pie crust.
How to make Fartes of Portingale. Take a peece of a leg of mutton. Mince it smal and season it with cloves, mace, pepper, and salt, and Dates minced with currants: then roll it into round rolles, and so into little balles, and so boyle them in a little beef broth and so serve them foorth. (The Good Huswives Handmaid for Cookerie, 1588.)
To roast olives of veal. You shall take a leg of veal and cut the flesh from the bones, and cut it out into thin long slices; then take sweet herbs and the white parts of scallions, and chop them well together with the yolks of eggs, then roll it up within the slices of veal, and so spit them and roast them; then boil verjuice, butter, sugar, cinnamon, currants, and sweet herbs together, and, being seasoned with a little salt, serve the olives up upon that sauce with salt cast over them. (The English Hus-wife, by Gervase Markham, 1615.)
To make Pies that the Birds may be alive in them, and flie out when it is cut up. - click to view this recipe.
To Make Ipocras With Red Wine Take a gallon of wine, three ounces of cinamon, two ounces of slic't ginger, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, an ounce of mace, twenty corns of pepper, an ounce of nutmegs, three pound of sugar, and two quarts of cream. (From The Accomplisht Cook, by Robert May, 1660.)
The [sweet] Potato roots... being tosted in the embers they lose much of their windinesse, especially being eaten sopped in wine. Of these roots may be made conserues no lesse toothsome, wholesome, and dainty than of the flesh of Quinces... They are vsed to be eaten rosted in the ashes. Some when they be so rosted infuse them and sop them in Wine; and others to giue them the greater grace in eating, do boyle them with prunes, and so eate them. And likewise others dresse them (being first rosted) with Oyle, Vineger, and salt, euerie man according to his owne taste and liking. Notwithstanding howsoeuer they bee dressed, they comfort, nourish, and strengthen the body, procuring bodily lust, and that with greedinesse. (Gerard's Herball , 1633 edition.)
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This page was last modified on June 18, 2007.