"Reciepts approv'd": Early 18th Century English Recipe Book

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[Library Title: Reciepts approv'd [manuscript].]

Holding Library Call No.
LMC 2435
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
Date of Composition
early 18th century
This recipe book is written in a small oblong notebook, measuring 10 X 16 cm. (4 X 6 1/4 in.). It is inscribed "Reciepts approv'd." The second word of the inscription may be in a different hand from the first. The book is written in a number of hands, many of which are crabbed and difficult to read. Some of the hands appear to recur, suggesting that the book may have been a collaborative project undertaken by a group of friends. Many of the recipes are attributed, some to persons of the peerage.

The book is loosely organized. It begins with approximately 75 pages of recipes mostly given over to soups (called "pottage"), meat and fish dishes, pickled, potted and preserved foods, and puddings. After a gap of blank pages, the focus of the recipes shifts to breads, dessert creams and jellies, sweet pastry, and fruit and flower wines. After another run of blank pages, approximately 55 pages of medical recipes occur. Additional recipes are written from the back of the notebook going toward the center. These recipes, too, are loosely organized, proceeding from preserves, to dessert creams, to pickled foods. All sections contain some recipes that are out of category.

Although the book was likely compiled in the early eighteenth century, it hearkens back to the seventeenth century in several regards: the use of the word "pottage" for thick soup; the frequent use of egg yolks as a sauce thickening; three recipes for carp in its blood appearing on digital images 55 and 58; the phrase "manchet flour" in digital image 86. Some of the hands are likewise of the seventeenth century, as is some of the recipe phrasing.

Two recipes for "Lobster py" appear on digital images 32 and 33; the second recipe is declared "much better" in some respect (the handwriting is unclear). Digital image 32 shows a very early English recipe for pate a choux, titled "French Puffs." There are several uncommon recipes, including "Fritters of sheep's feet" (digital image 25), "Beef Pudding" (meatloaf boiled in a cloth, digital image 29), "Little caraway puddings" (digital image 64), and "fine Oat Cakes" (digital image 77). The recipe for "Lemon Aide" (digital image 100) includes herb leaves, orange flower water, musk, and ambergris as flavorings. Among the medical formulas are "To make the Face youthful" and "To take away Freckles."