Cookbook of Ann Smith, 1698

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Manuscript Location
Folger Shakespeare Library, Manuscripts
Holding Library Call No.
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
England ➔ Berkshire ➔ Reading
Date of Composition
This cookbook is inscribed "Ann Smith sen. Her Book October the 10th 1698," followed, it seems, by a credit to the person who actually penned it: "This book was written by Thomas Barnaby sen. of Reading." It appears to have been Thomas Barnaby's intention to write only on the rectos of the leaves, of which there are 78, but his recipes sometimes spill over onto the versos. He has numbered the recipes through leaf leaf 24r but not the rest. One or more later writers have marred the scribe's lovely hand by inserting a few recipes in random blank spaces.

The recipes are in no particular order. There is a generous selection of recipes for the principal dishes of the meal, including at least two dozen meat and fish dishes (including an unusual "Hashing of Chickens, leaf 52r), at least sixteen recipes for preserved foods, and almost as many recipes for puddings. There are also a number of recipes for meat and fish pies, among them an uncommon "To Make an Excellent Dish Called a Dutch Pye" (leaf 41r). The recipe entails a boned veal breast, first marinated in spices and lemon and then baked in a crust with a sauce of vinegar, wine, and egg yolks. The pie is eaten cold. There are also recipes for angelot, cream, slipcoat, and fresh cheeses, as well as an unusual recipe for "Egg Cheese" (leaf 60r), which calls for thickening the milk with egg yolks before turning it with rennet, followed by an aging of 10 to 12 days. An unclear recipe for "Portugall Eggs," an odd dish with many variants that was supposedly introduced by the Portuguese queen of Charles II, appears on leaf 10r.

Among the recipes for banquets or desserts, fruit preserving and confectionary, predicatably, are the greatest in number, followed by dessert creams, small dessert cakes and biskets, and large cakes. Spanish Cream (whipped cream with complications, served in glasses) is accorded three separate recipes, two on leaf 8r, one on leaf 27r. There are also recipes for fruit wines and one each for cider, mead, and metheglin.