Cookbook of Margaret Turner, ca. 1709

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Manuscript Location
Folger Shakespeare Library, Manuscripts
Holding Library Call No.
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
Date of Composition
1709 -ca. 1750
Margaret Turner (born Margaret Eyre around 1686) inscribed this 254-page recipe book near the front, with the date 1709. A 10-page table of contents follows the inscription. The recipes are loosely grouped by type: preserves and sweet wines; little cakes and biskets; creams and jellies; dessert butters and similar dishes; pastry, pancakes, waffles, cheese; puddings; soups (including four recipes for pea soup); meat and fish dishes (including pies, collars, and pickles); and miscellaneous recipes. Most of the recipes appear to be in Margaret Turner's hand. However, there are later additions in other hands (including several from John Turner, ca. 1750, near the end). Only a few of these later recipes have been added to the table of contents. The book contains some household recipes and cures for man and beast in the back.

The book contains an uncommon recipe for "Brown Bread Cream" (original page 66) that calls for steeping thin slices of brown bread overnight in scalded cream and milk seasoned with sugar and a little nutmeg. "The next day with a skimmer take it up as whole as you can & lay it in dishes you intend to serve it up in." Also uncommon is the recipe "To boyle Pullets in Blathers" (original page 153). The chickens are stuffed with hard-cooked egg yolks, oysters or cockles, bread, butter, and herbs and then inserted in a bladder with a pint of cream "to each fowl." Like several other cookbooks in the Folger collection, Margaret Turner's book includes a recipe for chocolate from scratch (original page 109). The recipe advises using "the newest coco nuts of saint Dem . . .goes" [Santa Domingo?] and adds that "Jamaica [nuts] are the worst." The recipe calls for sugar, spices, vanilla, and, if desired, a little musk and ambergris.