Elizabeth Powell her book

View Online

Holding Library Call No.
LMC 2435
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
Date of Composition
mostly ca. 1688, with additions to ca. 1713
This book is inscribed on a leaf near the front: "Elizabeth Powell Her Book 1688" and, directly below, "Thomasine Andrew Her Book 1713." The primary author of the book is Elizabeth Powell. Eighty-five numbered pages of recipes in her hand follow the inscription. After her recipes, there are 16 mostly unnumbered pages of recipes in three or more other hands, none of which clearly resembles that of the second inscriber. An alphabetical index has been laid out following the recipes but has been barely filled in.

Elizabeth Powell headed her recipes "Choise Receipts in Preserving and Candying," and that, indeed, is what most of the recipes are. However, the book also contains recipes for biscuits, macaroons, jumbles, sugar cakes, large yeast-raised cakes, buns, chocolate, and fruit wines and other drinks, most of which, like preserved and candied fruits, were conceits of "banqueting," or dessert, in the late seventeenth century. Thus this book can aptly be considered a banqueting book.

There is an extensive collection of large yeast-raised cakes on pages 59-63, which includes unusual recipes for cakes touted as long-keeping--for two months (page 59), for three months (page 61), and for "a quarter of a year" (pages 60, 63). An extremely early use of the term "Queens cakes" for what were typically called "Portugal Cakes" in the seventeenth century occurs in the title of the recipe on page 55. Also of note is a recipe titled "A cake of queen Elisabeths," page 60, although England's Elizabeth I, if she is the queen meant, is unlikely to have known this cake, which is very much of the late seventeenth century. The recipe "To make Chocolet," page 65, outlines turning cocoa beans into cakes of chocolate for the hot drink chocolate. The recipe calls for the unattested substance "benelio" (handwriting pristine) and ends, "you may make it [the cakes] up as the Jews [do] for 4 pence a pound."