To make a dish full of Snow

As promised, these fragments come from some very early cookery books dated from between 1500 and 1545.  Ordinarily I try not to standardise spelling, but in this case, given the recipes have been printed somewhat  phoentically, I’ve modernised them so they are easier to read.  I don’t know of anyone who has attempted to recreate any early modern dishes, but if there is someone out there who has, I’d be fascinated to hear of the results.

Brawn is best from a fortnight before Michelmas till lent.  Beef and bacon is good all times in the year. Mutton is good all times but from Easter to Midsummer it is worst. A fat pig is ever in season. A goose is worst in Midsummer and best in stubble time, but when there be young green geese then they are best. Lamb and young kid is best between Christmas and Lent.  Fat capons be ever in season. Peacocks be ever good. A mallard is good after a frost.

The order of meats how they must be served at the table with their sauces:
The first course: Potage of stewed broth, Boiled meat or stewed meat, Chickens and bacon, Powdered beef, Pies, Pig, Goose, Roasted beef, Roasted Veal, Custard.

The second course: Roasted lamb, Roasted capons, Roasted connies (rabbits), Chickens, Peahens, Bacon venison, Tarte.

The service at supper: Potage or stew, Small pig, Powdered beef slices, A shoulder of mutton or a breast, Veal, Lamb, Custard.

Service for Fish days: Butter, Hard eggs, Potage of Sand Eels and red herring and white herring, Salt salmon minced, Powdered conger, Whiting with liver and mustard, Plaice, Cod with green sauce, Perch, Pike in pike sauce, Custard.  (For an explanation of Fish Days, see my post here).

To make best sauce:
Take parsely and mint and chives, then take bread dipped in vinegar or in wine and salt and then grinde them and temper them by and serve them forth.

To make sauce for roasted beef:
Take bottom bread and dip it in vinegar and toast it, and strain and stamp garlic and salt thereto and powder of pepper and boyle it a little and serve it.



To make mussels in shells:
Take apples, thyme, and wash them and caste them into the pot, and cast thereto minced onions, wine and vinegar, and when they gape, take them up and serve them.

To make a custard:
The coffin must be first hardened in the oven, and then take a quart of cream and five or six yokes of eggs and beat them well together and put them into the cream and put in sugar and small raisins and dates sliced and out into the coffin butter.

To make a dish full of Snow:
Take a bottle of sweet thick cream and the whites of eight eggs and beat them all together with a spoon, then pour in a saucer full of Rose water and a dish full of Sugar, then take a stick and cut it in the end four square and therewith beate all the aforementioned things together and as it riseth, put it into a collander. This done, take one apple and let it sit in the midst of it, and a thick bush of Rosemary, and set it in the midst of a platter and serve it forth.

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  • June 7, 2010 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely thing to say! Thank you! I must admit my favourite snippets to post are the tiny details of everyday life. I’m often far more intrigued by the sight of an Elizabethan hair brush than I am by accounts of great battles. I suppose that makes me an out and out history nerd.

  • June 7, 2010 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I just love this blog, and this post is one reason why.

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