Cookery and medicinal recipes, 17th century

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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
ca. 1650-1680
This book comprises 11 unnumbered  leaves, followed by 207 numbered pages (some of which are missing), on which 375 numbered medical and culinary recipes are written in several different hands. The eleven leaves that precede the first numbered recipe include a poem by Robert Wilson (leaf 1), a quatrain (leaf 8), and copies of some legal documents, including petitions and recognizances concerning Henry Kenney of Dublin, Esq., William Parsons, and someone by the initials A.B. (leaves 2-11), as well as a receipt for saffron cakes (leaf 2) and a medicinal receipt (leaf 9v). Most of the recipes numbered 1 through 16 and 169 through 304 are culinary, while most of the recipes numbered 17 through 168 are medical. Recipes numbered 305 to 357 contain a mix of culinary, medical, and practical receipts.

The culinary recipes focus on banqueting stuff, above all preserved fruits, fruit and flower "cakes," fruit and flower conserves, and stiff fruit jellies and marmalades meant to be boxed or printed in molds, including an unusual recipe for "Rough Red Marmalade of Quinces" (#219), which calls for cutting the fruit "in small square peeces" rather than pounding it smooth, as was typical. There are also recipes for marchpane (marzipan) "conceipts" such as bacon and eggs (#193), "conceipts in sugar workes" (#198), and musk comfits (#200), the famous aphrodisiac "kissing comfits" of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Among other banqueting stuffs outlined are almond gingerbread and leach (#225 and #226), Christall Jelly (clear wine gelatin, #228), small cakes, bisket breads, and a number of banqueting creams (#294 through #304).

There are some recipes for the principal courses of the meal. About a half dozen meat dishes are sprinkled throughout, and a run of puddings appears near the end (#268 through #285). There are also a few recipes for fritters and pancakes, as well as one for the solid sort of white pot, similar to a bread and marrow pudding, that became popular after 1650 (#185). 

Medical recipes include "To make them heare [tha]t is deafe" (#165), ". . . for plague given by King Henry in his army at Bulleyne 1536" (#66, as well as similar receipt, attributed to Henry VIII, #100), and many medical formularies for women. The book also includes a receipt for "The lady Northumberlands perfume" (#267) and a few receipts for dyes (#377-#381).