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Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine   By: (1834-1913)

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The Book Lover's Library

Edited by Henry B. Wheatley, F.S.A.

OLD COOKERY BOOKS AND ANCIENT CUISINE

BY

W. CAREW HAZLITT

London

1902

THE BOOK LOVERS LIBRARY was first published in the following styles:

No. 1. Printed on antique paper, in cloth bevelled with rough edges, price 4s. 6d.

No. 2. Printed on hand made paper, in Roxburgh, half morocco, with gilt top: 250 only are printed, for sale in England, price 7s. 6d.

No. 3. Large paper edition, on hand made paper; of which 50 copies only are printed, and bound in Roxburgh, for sale in England, price £1 1s.

There are a few sets left, and can be had on application to the Publisher.

INTRODUCTORY

Man has been distinguished from other animals in various ways; but perhaps there is no particular in which he exhibits so marked a difference from the rest of creation not even in the prehensile faculty resident in his hand as in the objection to raw food, meat, and vegetables. He approximates to his inferior contemporaries only in the matter of fruit, salads, and oysters, not to mention wild duck. He entertains no sympathy with the cannibal, who judges the flavour of his enemy improved by temporary commitment to a subterranean larder; yet, to be sure, he keeps his grouse and his venison till it approaches the condition of spoon meat.

It naturally ensues, from the absence or scantiness of explicit or systematic information connected with the opening stages of such inquiries as the present, that the student is compelled to draw his own inferences from indirect or unwitting allusion; but so long as conjecture and hypothesis are not too freely indulged, this class of evidence is, as a rule, tolerably trustworthy, and is, moreover, open to verification.

When we pass from an examination of the state of the question as regarded Cookery in very early times among us, before an even more valuable art that of Printing was discovered, we shall find ourselves face to face with a rich and long chronological series of books on the Mystery, the titles and fore fronts of which are often not without a kind of fragrance and goût .

As the space allotted to me is limited, and as the sketch left by Warner of the convivial habits and household arrangements of the Saxons or Normans in this island, as well as of the monastic institutions, is more copious than any which I could offer, it may be best to refer simply to his elaborate preface. But it may be pointed out generally that the establishment of the Norman sway not only purged of some of their Anglo Danish barbarism the tables of the nobility and the higher classes, but did much to spread among the poor a thriftier manipulation of the articles of food by a resort to broths, messes, and hot pots. In the poorer districts, in Normandy as well as in Brittany, Duke William would probably find very little alteration in the mode of preparing victuals from that which was in use in his day, eight hundred years ago, if (like another Arthur) he should return among his ancient compatriots; but in his adopted country he would see that there had been a considerable revolt from the common saucepan not to add from the pseudo Arthurian bag pudding; and that the English artisan, if he could get a rump steak or a leg of mutton once a week, was content to starve on the other six days.

Those who desire to be more amply informed of the domestic economy of the ancient court, and to study the minutiae , into which I am precluded from entering, can easily gratify themselves in the pages of "The Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal Household," 1790; "The Northumberland Household Book;" and the various printed volumes of "Privy Purse Expenses" of royal and great personages, including "The Household Roll of Bishop Swinfield (1289 90)."

The late Mr. Green, in his "History of the English People" (1880 3, 4 vols. 8vo), does not seem to have concerned himself about the kitchens or gardens of the nation which he undertook to describe... Continue reading book >>




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