Seven Centuries of English Cooking
978-0-8021-3296-3 • $16.95 • Paperback • Oct. 1992
The hundreds of recipes in Maxime de la Falaise’s delightful book triumphantly attest to the virtues of Anglo-Saxon gastronomy. Rich with the historical sense of taste, this book allows you to cook the rudiments of a medieval royal banquet, an Elizabethan nursery breakfast, or an eighteenth-century tavern lunch.
The recipes are divided into five chronological sections, each preceded by an introduction recounting the fashions and the changes in the food and drink of the period; together they provide an overview of the evolution of English cookery. The earliest recipes, dating from the thirteenth century, are presented in their original language (“Take faire Mutton that hath ben roste . . .”) as well as in a modern translation, and all measures and quantities have been updated throughout. Many of the dishes are quite simple to make; others are, quite literally, fit for a king. All together they constitute a delectable, sensual celebration of the development of English cuisine.
Take a Leg of Beef, or other fresh Meat, and make of it strong Broth; take two or three Quarts of hull’d Pease, and boil them by themselves to a Pulp with a little piece of Bacon; then take Sorrel, Spear Mint and Parsley chopt, put it into the strong Broth, and stew it over some Coals, with a quarter of a pound of Butter; thicken it with the Pulp of the Pease, and stir it; when you put them together, put in some French bread with a little Salt, Pepper and Butter when you eat it. (The Family Dictionary, 1695)
2 lb shin of beef (beef shank)
1 large onion
4 stalks (sticks) celery
1 tbsp salt
1 bay leaf
2 pt (5 cups) broad beans or lima beans
¼ lb bacon
1 lb sorrel, chopped
4 tbsp each spearmint and parsley, chopped
1 oz (2 tbsp) butter
6-8 slices of French bread, toasted
Make some stock by boiling together the beef, onion, celery, carrots, salt, pepper and bay leaf with water to cover. Cook 3–4 hours and strain. Boil the beans with the bacon in water until they are soft enough to mash against the side of the pan. Drain and sieve. Put the sorrel, spearmint, parsley and butter into the beef broth and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Stir in the sieved beans to thicken and cook for 10 minutes longer. Serve with French bread.