Cookbook of L. Cromwell, 17th century
Holding Library Call No.V.a.8
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#384
Place of OriginEngland
Date of Compositionca. 1650-1675
DescriptionThis cookbook was paginated in an unsual manner. The rectos of the leaves were numbered from 1 to 97 from the front of the notebook, and then the book was turned upside down and the versos of the leaves were numbered from 98 to 198 from the back of the notebook going toward the front. The recto-numbered section contains recipes on pages 1 to 72 and an index to these recipes on pages 85 to 92. The verso-numbered pages contain an index to the verso recipes on pages 99 to 109, with one page of the index, containing "C" entries, spilling over onto recto-numbered page 95. (This page would appears right side up to readers of the part 2 index, except for the page number.) Recipes are written on verso pages 110 through 151.
The recto pages appear to be in two principal hands and one minor hand. The verso pages are mostly in the hand of the second principal writer of the recto pages, with a few pages in the hands of the other recto writers, and seven pages at the end in a previously unseen hand. The indexes appear to have written by yet another individual.
The index to the recto recipes is headed "A Table of the Cookery" and the index to the verso recipes is headed "The Table of Banquetting". In fact, the book is slightly more complicated than that because the first principal writer of the recto recipes has covered some banqueting dishes, including jumbles, trifle, clotted cream, fresh cheese, and large yeast-raised cakes. That said, most of the recto recipes do focus on the dishes of the two principal courses of dinner (meat and fish, puddings, pastry, and pickles). The verso recipes exclusively concern banqueting. Overwhelmingly, these recipes are for fruit preserving and fruit confectionary (particularly fruit "cakes"), with just a few banqueting creams, cakes, biskets, and sweet wines mixed in.
Of particular interest are several recipes to rescue beer or ale that "won't work" or is "dead" and several others for preserving beer (pages 46-7). Page 48 contains a recipe "To make bread light without barm or leaven" using wort, the sweet starter liquid extracted from mashed sprouted barley in the beer-making process. "To make a dish for a second course" (page 51) is an unsual recipe for beet and apple fritters with bread crumbs, eggs, currants, and ginger. A run of attributed recipes beginning on page 57 includes two credited to "my mother." The "white pot" on page 10 is very similar the white pot outlined in "Cookbook of Constance Hall, 1672," also in the Folger collection.