Eighteenth Century English Cookbook, Mostly in One Fine Hand

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[Library Title: [Recipe book] [manuscript].]

Manuscript Location
University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Kislak Center for Special Collections - Manuscripts
Holding Library Call No.
UPenn Ms. Codex 785
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
Date of Composition
mostly early 18th century, with slightly later additions
This volume is in two parts: a 119-page cookbook in a single fine hand initialed with a flourish on the final page, and miscellaneous recipes added on pages 120-143, which are written in several hands, with one hand predominating from page 123. There is an alphabetical table of contents at the end, which was laid out by the original writer but which also contains entries for all or most of the added material.

The original cookbook is organized, outlining preserves, dessert creams, and cakes starting on page 1; pickles starting on page 41; dishes of the first and second courses, plus large cakes, starting on page 49; medical recipes starting on page 99; and wines, spirits, medicinal waters and cosmetics from page 99 to the end. There are some recipes seemingly out of category in each section. The inside cover bears the date 1726, which appears to refer to the paying of the poor rate. Attributed cheese recipes on page 74 bear the dates 1705 and 1711, which appear to indicate the dates these recipes were given. In general, the cookbook gives the impression of having been compiled in the early eighteenth century. Noteworthy recipes in this part of the volume include "Portugal Eggs," page 6, scrambled eggs presented as an elaborate dessert; "To make a Simnel," page 37, which may call for boiling and then baking the cake, though the phrasing is unclear; "To make a Christening Cake," page 49; and "The Queen of France's Cheese Cakes," page 73, which calls for a filling of rice-flour custard.

The added recipes include an "Almond Cake," page 134, and a "Lemon Posset," page 137, which became current at some point in the second half of the eighteenth century. There is an uncommon recipe for a pungent mixed vegetable relish titled "Sa La" or "La La" on page 133.