A Book of Choice Receipts in Preserveing, Consearving, and Candying, etc. Receipts in Cookery and Physick, and Other Things, Sept. 15, 1706, Elizabeth Broomhead, Her Book

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Manuscript Location
National Library of Medicine
Holding Library Call No.
HMD Collection ; MS B 266
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
Date of Composition
The library title of this recipe book is paraphrased from an inscription on the front flyleaf of the volume. The book is mostly written in one hand, presumably that of the inscriber, and is organized in the following sections, with varying numbers of blank pages in between: fruit preserving, digital pages 1-36; cakes, digital pages 45-61, which includes large cakes, small cakes (cookies), gingerbreads, fruit confectionary cakes, and pastry crusts; medical and household recipes, digital pages 69-71; fruit and flower wines, digital pages 73-79; puddings, digital pages 91-94; leaches, dessert creams, jellies, and possets, digital pages 103-109; medical and cosmetic recipes, digital pages 117-131; and pickles, digital pages 141-146. There are two sections in hands other than the predominant hand: sweet wines, digital pages 133-137; and meat dishes, digital pages 153-157. There are also a very few sporadic recipes throughout the book in hands other than the predominant hand.

The particular value of this book is that is collects multiple different recipes for the same dish or conceit. One might expect the five different recipes for gingerbread on digital pages 58-59, as the early 18th century was a transitional age for gingerbread, when old and new styles coexisted. But one would not expect the six different recipes for leach that occupy the entirety of digital page 103. The name derives from a French word meaning "slice." The common type was a stiff isinglass gelatin of milk, cream, or almond milk, sugar, and rose water that was  typically served in slices. The first four recipes outline variations on this type. The fifth leach is compounded of spices and gum Arabic, and the sixth version is made with pounded dates and printed in molds. The sections covering cakes and pickles also include interesting recipe variations.