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Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine by William Carew Hazlitt

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gentlemanly serving-man, whose life and manners doth equal his birth
and bringing up, scorneth the society of these sots, or to place
a dish where they give a trencher"; and speaking of the passion of
people for raising themselves above their extraction, the writer, a
little farther on, observes: "For the yeoman's son, as I said before,
leaving _gee haigh!_ for, _Butler, some more fair trenchers to the
table!_ bringeth these ensuing ulcers amongst the members of the
common body."

The employment of trenchers, which originated in the manner which I
have shown, introduced the custom of the distribution at table of
the two sexes, and the fashion of placing a lady and gentleman
alternately. In former days it was frequently usual for a couple thus
seated together to eat from one trencher, more particularly if the
relations between them were of an intimate nature, or, again, if it
were the master and mistress of the establishment. Walpole relates
that so late as the middle of the last century the old Duke and
Duchess of Hamilton occupied the dais at the head of the room, and
preserved the traditional manner by sharing the same plate. It was a
token of attachment and a tender recollection of unreturnable youth.

The prejudice against the fork in England remained very steadfast
actual centuries after its first introduction; forks are
particularised among the treasures of kings, as if they had been crown
jewels, in the same manner as the _iron_ spits, pots, and frying-pans
of his Majesty Edward III.; and even so late as the seventeeth
century, Coryat, who employed one after his visit to Italy, was
nicknamed "Furcifer." The two-pronged implement long outlived Coryat;
and it is to be seen in cutlers' signs even down to our day. The old
dessert set, curiously enough, instead of consisting of knives and
forks in equal proportions, contained eleven knives and one fork for
_ginger_. Both the fork and spoon were frequently made with handles of
glass or crystal, like those of mother-of-pearl at present in vogue.

In a tract coeval with Coryat the Fork-bearer, Breton's "Court and
Country," 1618, there is a passage very relevant to this part of the
theme:--"For us in the country," says he, "when we have washed our
hands after no foul work, nor handling any unwholesome thing, we need
no little forks to make hay with our mouths, to throw our meat into

Forks, though not employed by the community, became part of the
effects of royal and great personages, and in the inventory of Charles
V. of France appear the spoon, knife, and fork. In another of the Duke
of Burgundy, sixty years later (1420), knives and other implements
occur, but no fork. The cutlery is described here as of German make.
Brathwaite, in his "Rules for the Government of the House of an Earl,"
probably written about 1617, mentions knives and spoons, but not

As the fork grew out of the chopstick, the spoon was probably
suggested by the ladle, a form of implement employed alike by the
baker and the cook; for the early tool which we see in the hands of
the operative in the oven more nearly resembles in the bowl a spoon
than a shovel. In India nowadays they have ladles, but not spoons.
The universality of broths and semi-liquid substances, as well as the
commencement of a taste for learned gravies, prompted a recourse to
new expedients for communicating between the platter and the mouth;
and some person of genius saw how the difficulty might be solved by
adapting the ladle to individual service. But every religion has its
quota of dissent, and there were, nay, are still, many who professed
adherence to the sturdy simplicity of their progenitors, and saw
in this daring reform and the fallow blade of the knife a certain
effeminate prodigality.

It is significant of the drift of recent years toward the monograph,
that, in 1846, Mr. Westman published "The Spoon: Primitive, Egyptian,
Roman, Mediaeval and Modern," with one hundred illustrations, in an
octavo volume.

The luxury of carving-knives was, even in the closing years of the
fifteenth century, reserved for royalty and nobility; for in the
"Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VII.," under 1497, a pair is said to
have cost L1 6s. 8d. of money of that day. Nothing is said of forks.
But in the same account, under February 1st, 1500-1, one Mistress
Brent receives 12s. (and a book, which cost the king 5s. more) for a
silver fork weighing three ounces. In Newbery's "Dives Pragmaticus,"
1563, a unique poetical volume in the library at Althorpe, there is a
catalogue of cooking utensils which, considering its completeness, is
worth quotation; the author speaks in the character of a chapman--one
forestalling Autolycus:--

"I have basins, ewers, of tin, pewter and glass.
Great vessels of copper, fine latten and brass:
Both pots, pans and kettles, such as never was.
I have platters, dishes, saucers and candle-sticks,
Chafers, lavers, towels and fine tricks:
Posnets, frying-pans, and fine puddingpricks ...
Fine pans for milk, and trim tubs for sowse.
I have ladles, scummers, andirons and spits,
Dripping-pans, pot-hooks....
I have fire-pans, fire-forks, tongs, trivets, and trammels,
Roast-irons, trays, flaskets, mortars and pestles...."

And among other items he adds rollers for paste, moulds for cooks,
fine cutting knives, fine wine glasses, soap, fine salt, and candles.
The list is the next best thing to an auctioneer's inventory of an
Elizabethan kitchen, to the fittings of Shakespeare's, or rather
of his father's. A good idea of the character and resources of a
nobleman's or wealthy gentleman's kitchen at the end of the sixteenth
and commencement of the seventeenth century may be formed from the
Fairfax inventories (1594-1624), lately edited by Mr. Peacock. I
propose to annex a catalogue of the utensils which there present

The furnace pan for beef.
The beef kettle.
Great and small kettles.
Brass kettles, holding from sixteen to twenty gallons each.
Little kettles with bowed or carved handles.
Copper pans with ears.
Great brass pots.
An iron peel or baking shovel.
A brazen mortar and a pestle.
Iron ladles.
A laten scummer.
A grater.
A pepper mill.
A mustard-quern.
A salt-box.
An iron range.
Iron racks.
A tin pot.
Pot hooks.
A galley bawk to suspend the kettle or pot over the fire.
Spits, square and round, and various sizes.

In the larders (wet and dry) and pastry were:--

Moulding boards for pastry.
A boulting tub for meal.
A little table.
A spice cupboard.
A chest for oatmeal.
A trough.
Hanging and other shelves.

Here follows the return of pewter, brass, and other vessels belonging
to the kitchen:--

Pewter dishes of nine sizes (from Newcastle).
Long dishes for rabbits. }
Saucers. }
Chargers. } Silver fashioned.
Pie plates. }
Voider. }
A beef-prick.
Fire shoves and tongs.
A brig (a sort of brandreth).
A cullender.
A pewter baking-pan.
Kettles of brass.
A skillet.
A brandeth.
A shredding knife.
A chopping knife.
An apple cradle.
A pair of irons to make wafers with.
A brass pot-lid.
Beef-axes and knives. }
Slaughter ropes. } For Slaughtering.
Beef stangs. }

In the beef-house was an assortment of tubs, casks, and hogsheads.
Table knives, forks, spoons, and drinking-vessels presumably belonged
to another department.

The dripping-pan is noticed in Breton's "Fantasticks," 1626: "Dishes
and trenchers are necessary servants, and they that have no meat
may go scrape; a Spit and a Dripping-pan would do well, if well
furnished." Flecknoe, again, in his character of a "Miserable old
Gentlewoman," inserted among his "Enigmatical Characters," 1658,
speaks of her letting her prayer-book fall into the dripping-pan, and
the dog and the cat quarrelling over it, and at last agreeing to pray
on it!

But this is a branch of the subject I cannot afford further to
penetrate. Yet I must say a word about the polished maple-wood bowl,
or _maser_, with its mottoes and quaint devices, which figured on the
side-board of the yeoman and the franklin, and which Chaucer must have
often seen in their homes. Like everything else which becomes popular,
it was copied in the precious metals, with costly and elaborate
goldsmith's work; but its interest for us is local, and does not lend
itself to change of material and neighbourhood. The habits of the poor
and middle classes are apt to awaken a keener curiosity in our minds
from the comparatively slender information which has come to us upon
them; and as in the case of the maser, the laver which was employed in
humble circles for washing the hands before and after a meal was, not
of gold or silver, as in the houses of the nobility, but of brass
or laten, nor was it in either instance a ceremonious form, but a
necessary process. The modern finger-glass and rose-water dish, which
are an incidence of every entertainment of pretension, and in higher
society as much a parcel of the dinner-table as knives and forks, are,
from a mediaeval standpoint, luxurious anachronisms.

In Archbishop Alfric's "Colloquy," originally written in the tenth
century, and subsequently augmented and enriched with a Saxon gloss
by one of his pupils, the cook is one of the persons introduced
and interrogated. He is asked what his profession is worth to the
community; and he replies that without him people would have to eat
their greens and flesh raw; whereupon it is rejoined that they might
readily dress them themselves; to which the cook can only answer, that
in such case all men would be reduced to the position of servants.

The kitchen had its _chef_ or master-cook (archimacherus),
under-cooks, a waferer or maker of sweets, a scullion or swiller
(who is otherwise described as a _quistron_), and knaves, or boys
for preparing the meat; and all these had their special functions and

Even in the fifteenth century the appliances for cookery were
evidently far more numerous than they had been. An illustrated
vocabulary portrays, among other items, the dressing-board, the
dressing-knife, the roasting-iron, the frying-pan, the spit-turner (in
lieu of the old turn-broach), the andiron, the ladle, the slice, the
skummer; and the _assitabulum_, or saucer, first presents itself.
It seems as if the butler and the pantler had their own separate
quarters; and the different species of wine, and the vessels for
holding it, are not forgotten. The archaic pantry was dedicated, not
to its later objects, but to that which the name strictly signifies;
but at the same time the writer warrants us in concluding, that the
pantry accommodated certain miscellaneous utensils, as he comprises
in its contents a candlestick, a table or board-cloth, a hand-cloth or
napkin, a drinking bowl, a saucer, and a spoon. The kitchen, in short,
comprised within its boundaries a far larger variety of domestic
requisites of all kinds than its modern representative, which deals
with an external machinery so totally changed. The ancient Court of
England was so differently constituted from the present, and so
many offices which sprang out of the feudal system have fallen
into desuetude, that it requires a considerable effort to imagine a
condition of things, where the master-cook of our lord the king was
a personage of high rank and extended possessions. How early the
functions of cook and the property attached to the position were
separated, and the tenure of the land made dependent on a nominal
ceremony, is not quite clear. Warner thinks that it was in the
Conqueror's time; but at any rate, in that of Henry II. the husband
of the heiress of Bartholomew de Cheney held his land in Addington,
Surrey, by the serjeantry of finding a cook to dress the victuals at
the coronation; the custom was kept up at least so late as the reign
of George III., to whom at his coronation the lord of the manor of
Addington presented a dish of pottage. The tenure was varied in its
details from time to time. But for my purpose it is sufficient that
manorial rights were acquired by the _magnus coquus_ or _magister
coquorum_ in the same way as by the grand butler and other officers of
state; and when so large a share of the splendour of royalty
continued for centuries to emanate from the kitchen, it was scarcely
inappropriate or unfair to confer on that department of state some
titular distinction, and endow the holder with substantial honours. To
the Grand Chamberlain and the Grand Butler the Grand Cook was a meet

The primary object of these feudal endowments was the establishment
of a cordon round the throne of powerful subjects under conditions
and titles which to ourselves may appear incongruous and obscure,
but which were in tolerable keeping with the financial and commercial
organisation of the period, with a restricted currency, a revenue
chiefly payable in kind, scanty facilities for transit, and an absence
of trading centres. These steward-ships, butler-ships, and cook-ships,
in the hands of the most trusted vassals of the Crown, constituted a
rudimentary vehicle for in-gathering the dues of all kinds renderable
by the king's tenants; and as an administrative scheme gradually
unfolded itself, they became titular and honorary, like our own
reduced menagerie of nondescripts. But while they lasted in their
substance and reality, they answered the wants and notions of a
primitive people; nor is it for this practical age to lift up its
hands or its voice too high; for mediaeval England is still legible
without much excavation in our Court, our Church, nay, in our Laws.
There lurk our cunning spoilers!

Mr. Fairholt, in the "Archaeological Album," 1845, has depicted for
our benefit the _chef_ of the Abbey of St. Albans in the fourteenth
century, and his wife Helena The representations of these two notable
personages occur in a MS. in the British Museum, which formerly
belonged to the Abbey, and contains a list of its benefactors, with
their gifts. It does not appear that Master Robert, cook to Abbot
Thomas, was the donor of any land or money; but, in consideration of
his long and faithful services, his soul was to be prayed for with
that of his widow, who bestowed 3s. 4d. _ad opus hujus libri_, which
Fairholt supposes to refer to the insertion of her portrait and that
of her spouse among the graphic decorations of the volume. They are
perhaps in their way unique. Behold them opposite!

Another point in reference to the early economy of the table, which
should not be overlooked, is the character of the ancient buttery, and
the quick transition which its functionary, the butler, experienced
from the performance of special to that of general duties.

He at a very remote period acted not merely as the curator of the
wine-cellar, but as the domestic steward and storekeeper; and it was
his business to provide for the requirements of the kitchen and the
pantry, and to see that no opportunity was neglected of supplying,
from the nearest port, or market town, or fair, if his employer
resided in the country, all the necessaries for the departments under
his control. We are apt to regard the modern bearer of the same title
as more catholic in his employments than the appellation suggests;
but he in fact wields, on the contrary, a very circumscribed authority
compared to that of his feudal prototype.

One of the menial offices in the kitchen, when the spit came into
use, was the broach-turner, lately referred to. He was by no means
invariably maintained on the staff, but was hired for the occasion,
which may augur the general preference for boiled and fried meats.
Sometimes it appears that any lad passing by, or in want of temporary
employment, was admitted for this purpose, and had a trifling
gratuity, or perhaps only his dinner and the privilege of dipping his
fingers in the dripping, for his pains.

Warner cites an entry in some accounts of the Hospital of St.
Bartholomew at Sandwich, under 1569:--"For tournynge the spytte,
iiijd." and this was when the mayor of the borough dined with the
prior. A royal personage gave, of course, more. The play of "Gammer
Gurton's Needle," written about 1560, opens with a speech of Diccon
the Bedlam, or poor Tom, where he says:--

"Many a gossip's cup in my time have I tasted,
And many a broach and spit have I both turned and basted."

The spit, again, was supplanted by the jack.

The "History of Friar Rush," 1620, opens with a scene in which
the hero introduces himself to a monastery, and is sent by the
unsuspecting prior to the master-cook, who finds him subordinate


It has been noted that for a great length of time two meals were made
to suffice the requirements of all classes. Our own experience shows
how immaterial the names are which people from age to age choose to
bestow on their feeding intervals. Some call supper _dinner_, and
others call dinner _luncheon._ First comes the prevailing mode
instituted by fashionable society, and then a foolish subscription to
it by a section of the community who are too poor to follow it, and
too proud not to seem to do so. Formerly it was usual for the Great
to dine and sup earlier than the Little; but now the rule is reversed,
and the later a man dines the more distinguished he argues himself.
We have multiplied our daily seasons of refreshment, and eat and drink
far oftener than our ancestors; but the truly genteel Briton never
sups; the word is scarcely in his vocabulary,--like Beau Brummel and
the farthing--"Fellow, I do not know the coin!"

In a glossary of the tenth-eleventh century only two meals are quoted:
undermeat = _prandium_, and even-meat = _coena_. That is to say, our
Saxon precursors were satisfied as a rule with two repasts daily, but
to this in more luxurious times were added the supper and even the
rear-supper, the latter being, so far as we know, a second course or
dessert and the bipartite collation corresponding to the modern late
dinner. But it is one of those strange survivals of ancient manners
which people practise without any consciousness of the fact, which
is at the root of the fashion, which still occasionally prevails,
of dividing the chief meal of the day by an interval of repose, and
taking the wine and dessert an hour or two after the other courses;
and the usage in our colleges and inns of court of retiring to another
apartment to "wine" may claim the same origin. It is obvious that the
rear-supper was susceptible of becoming the most important and costly
part of an entertainment; and that it frequently assumed extravagant
proportions, many passages from our early poets might be adduced to

In the "Book of Cookery," 1500, we have the _menu_ at the installation
of Archbishop Nevill in York in 1467; but the bill of fare of a
feast given by him in 1452 at Oxford, where he is mentioned as Master
Nevill, son of the Earl of Salisbury, is inserted from the Cotton MS.
Titus, in "Reliquiae Antiquae," 1841. It consisted of three courses,
which seem to have been the customary limit. Of course, however, the
usage varied, as in the "Song of the Boar's Head," of which there are
two or three versions, two courses only are specified in what has the
air of having been a rather sumptuous entertainment.

The old low-Latin term for the noonday meal was _merenda_, which
suggests the idea of food to be earned before it was enjoyed. So in
"Friar Bacon's Prophesie," 1604, a poem, it is declared that, in the
good old days, he that wrought not, till he sweated, was held
unworthy of his meat. This reminds one of Abernethy's maxim for the
preservation of health,--to live on sixpence a day, _and earn it_.

The "Song of the Boar's Head," just cited, and printed from the
Porkington MS. in "Reliquiae Antiquae" (ii, 30), refers to larks for
ladies to pick as part of the second course in a banquet. On special
occasions, in the middle ages, after the dessert, hippocras was
served, as they have liqueurs to this day on the Continent both after
dinner and after the mid-day breakfast.

The writer of "Piers of Fulham" lived to see this fashion of
introducing a third meal, and that again split into two for
luxury's sake; for his metrical biographer tells us, that he refused
rear-suppers, from a fear of surfeiting.

I collect that in the time of Henry VIII. the supper was a
well-established institution, and that the abuse of postponing it to
a too advanced hour had crept in; for the writer of a poem of this
period especially counsels his readers _not to sup late_.

Rear-suppers were not only held in private establishments, but in
taverns; and in the early interlude of the "Four Elements," given in
my edition of Dodsley, and originally published about 1519, a very
graphic and edifying scene occurs of a party of roisterers ordering
and enjoying an entertainment of this kind. About seventy years later,
Robert Greene, the playwright, fell a victim to a surfeit of pickled
herrings and Rhenish wine, at some merry gathering of his intimates
falling under this denomination. Who will venture to deny that the
first person who kept unreasonable hours was an author and a poet?
Even Shakespeare is not exempt from the suspicion of having hastened
his end by indulgence with one or two friends in a gay carouse of this

The author of the "Description of England" enlightens us somewhat on
the sort of kitchen which the middle class and yeomanry of his time
deemed fit and sufficient. The merchant or private gentleman had
usually from one to three dishes on the table when there were no
visitors, and from four to six when there was company. What the
yeoman's every-day diet was Harrison does not express; but at
Christmas he had brawn, pudding and souse, with mustard; beef, mutton,
and pork; shred pies, goose, pig, capon, turkey, veal, cheese, apples,
etc., with good drink, and a blazing fire in the hall. The farmer's
bill of fare varied according to the season: in Lent, red herrings and
salt fish; at Easter, veal and bacon; at Martinmas, salted beef; at
Midsummer, fresh beef, peas, and salad; at Michaelmas, fresh herrings
and fat mutton; at All Saints', pork and peas and fish; and at
Christmas, the same dainties as our yeoman, with good cheer and

The modern luncheon or nuncheon was the archaic _prandium_, or
under-meat, displaced by the breakfast, and modified in its character
by the different distribution of the daily repasts, so that, instead
of being the earliest regular meal, like the _grand dejeuner_ of the
French, or coming, like our luncheon, between breakfast and dinner, it
interposed itself between the noontide dinner and the evening supper.
Now, with an increasing proportion of the community, the universal
luncheon, postponed to a later hour, is the actual dinner; and our
under-meal is the afternoon tea.

In those not-wholly-to-be-discommended days, the residue of the meal
was consumed in the servants' hall, and the scraps bestowed on the
poor at the gate; and the last part of the business was carried out,
not as a matter of chance or caprice, but on as methodical a principle
as the payment of a poor-rate. At the servants' table, besides the
waiters and other attendants on the principal board, mentioned by
Harrison, sat the master-cook, the pantler, the steward or major-domo,
the butler, the cellarman, the waferer, and others. It was not till
comparatively recent times that the _wafery_, a special department of
the royal kitchen, where the confectionery and pastry were prepared,
was discontinued.

There was necessarily a very large section of the community in all
the large towns, especially in London, which was destitute of culinary
appliances, and at the same time of any charitable or eleemosynary
privileges. A multitude of persons, of both sexes and all ages,
gradually developed itself, having no feudal ties, but attached to an
endless variety of more or less humble employments.

How did all these men, women, boys, girls, get their daily food? The
answer is, in the public eating-houses. Fitzstephen tells us that
in the reign of Henry II. (1154-89), besides the wine-vaults and the
shops which sold liquors, there was on the banks of the river a public
eating-house or cook's-shop, where, according to the time of year, you
could get every kind of victuals, roasted, boiled, baked, or fried;
and even, says he, if a friend should arrive at a citizen's house, and
not care to wait, they go to the shop, where there were viands always
kept ready to suit every purse and palate, even including venison,
sturgeon, and Guinea-fowls. For all classes frequented the City; and
before Bardolph's day noblemen and gentlemen came to Smithfield to buy
their horses, as they did to the waterside near the Tower to embark
for a voyage.

One of the characters in the "Canterbury Tales"--the Cook of
London--was, in fact the keeper of a cook's-shop; and in the Prologue
to the Tale, with which his name is associated, the charming story of
"Gamelin," the poet makes the Reeve charge his companion with not very
creditable behaviour towards his customers. So our host trusts that
his relation will be entertaining and good:--

"For many a pasty hast thou let blood,
And many a Jack of Dover[1] hast thou sold,
That hath been twice hot and twice cold.
Of many a pilgrim hast thou Christ's curse--
For thy parsley fare they yet the worse:
That they have eaten with the stubble goose,
For in thy shop is many a fly loose."

[Footnote 1: A sole]

But these restaurants were not long confined to one locality. From a
very early date, owing perhaps to its proximity to the Tower and the
Thames, East Cheap was famed for its houses of entertainment. The
Dagger in Cheap is mentioned in "A Hundred Merry Tales," 1526. The
Boar is historical. It was naturally at the East-end, in London
proper, that the flood-tide, as it were, of tavern life set in, among
the seafarers, in the heart of industrial activity; and the anecdotes
and glimpses which we enjoy show, just what might have been guessed,
that these houses often became scenes of riotous excess and debauch.
Lydgate's ballad of "London Lickpenny" helps one to imagine what such
resorts must have been in the first part of the fifteenth century. It
is almost permissible to infer that the street contained, in addition
to the regular inns, an assortment of open counters, where the
commodities on sale were cried aloud for the benefit of the passer-by;
for he says:--

"When I hied me into East Cheap:
One cries ribs of beef, and many a pie:
Pewter pots they clattered on a heap;
There was harp, fife, and sautry."

The mention of pewter is noteworthy, because the Earl of
Northumberland ate his dinner off wood in 1572. Pewter plates had not
long been given up when I joined the Inner Temple in 1861.

There is a still more interesting allusion in the interlude of the
"World and the Child," 1522, where Folly is made to say:--

"Yea, and we shall be right welcome, I dare well say,
In East Cheap for to dine;
And then we will with Lombards at passage play,
And at the Pope's Head sweet wine assay."

The places of resort in this rollicking locality could furnish, long
before The Boar made the acquaintance of Falstaff, every species of
delicacy and _bonne bouche_ to their constituents, and the revelry
was apt sometimes to extend to an unseasonable hour. In an early naval
song we meet with the lines:

"He that will in East Cheap eat a goose so fat,
With harp, pipe, and song,
Must lie in Newgate on a mat,
Be the night never so long."

And these establishments infallibly contributed their quota or more to
the prisons in the vicinity.

Houses of refreshment seem, however, to have extended themselves
westward, and to have become tolerably numerous, in the earlier
society of the sixteenth century, for Sir Thomas More, in a letter to
his friend Dean Colet, speaking of a late walk in Westminster and
of the various temptations to expenditure and dissipation which the
neighbourhood then afforded, remarks: "Whithersoever we cast our eyes,
what do we see but victualling-houses, fishmongers, butchers, cooks,
pudding-makers, fishers, and fowlers, who minister matter to our
bellies?" This was prior to 1519, the date of Colet's decease.

There were of course periods of scarcity and high prices then as now.
It was only a few years later (1524), that Robert Whittinton, in
one of his grammatical tracts (the "Vulgaria"), includes among his

"Befe and motton is so dere, that a peny worth of meet wyll scant
suffyse a boy at a meale."

The term "cook's-shop" occurs in the Orders and Ordinances devised
by the Steward, Dean, and Burgesses of Westminster in 1585, for the
better municipal government of that borough.

The tenth article runs thus:--"Item, that no person or persons that
keepeth or that hereafter shall keep any cook's-shop, shall also
keep a common ale-house (except every such person shall be lawfully
licensed thereunto), upon pain to have and receive such punishment,
and pay such fine, as by the statute in that case is made and

But while the keepers of restaurants were, as a rule, precluded by
law from selling ale, the publicans on their side were not supposed to
purvey refreshment other than their own special commodities. For the
fifteenth proviso of these orders is:--

"Item, that no tavern-keeper or inn-keeper shall keep any cook shop
upon pain to forfeit and pay for every time offending therein 4d."

The London cooks became famous, and were not only in demand in the
City and its immediate outskirts, but were put into requisition when
any grand entertainment was given in the country. In the list of
expenses incurred at the reception of Queen Elizabeth in 1577 by Lord
Keeper Bacon at Gorhambury, is an item of L12 as wages to the cooks
of London. An accredited anecdote makes Bacon's father inimical to too
lavish an outlay in the kitchen; but a far more profuse housekeeper
might have been puzzled to dispense with special help, where the
consumption of viands and the consequent culinary labour and skill
required, were so unusually great.

In the Prologue to the "Canterbury Tales," the Cook of London and his
qualifications are thus emblazoned:--

"A Cook thei hadde with hem for the nones,
To boylle chyknes, with the mary bones,
And poudre marchaunt tart, and galyngale;
Wel cowde he knowe a draugte of London ale.
He cowde roste, and sethe, and broille, and frie
Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pie.
But gret harm was it, as it thoughte me,
That on his schyne a mormal had he:
For blankmanger that made he with the beste."

This description would be hardly worth quoting, if it were not for the
source whence it comes, and the names which it presents in common
with the "Form of Cury" and other ancient relics. Chaucer's Cook was a
personage of unusually wide experience, having, in his capacity as the
keeper of an eating-house, to cater for so many customers of varying
tastes and resources.

In the time of Elizabeth, the price at an ordinary for a dinner seems
to have been sixpence. It subsequently rose to eightpence; and in the
time of George I. the "Vade Mecum for Malt Worms (1720)" speaks of the
landlord of The Bell, in Carter Lane, raising his tariff to tenpence.
In comparison with the cost of a similar meal at present, all these
quotations strike one as high, when the different value of money is
considered. But in 1720, at all events, the customer ate at his own

Their vicinity to East Cheap, the great centre of early taverns and
cook's-shops, obtained for Pudding Lane and Pie Corner those savoury

Paris, like London, had its cook's-shops, where you might eat your
dinner on the premises, or have it brought to your lodging in a
covered dish by a _porte-chape._ In the old prints of French kitchen
interiors, the cook's inseparable companion is his ladle, which
he used for stirring and serving, and occasionally for dealing a
refractory _garcon de cuisine_ a rap on the head.

The Dictionary of Johannes de Garlandia (early thirteenth century)
represents the cooks at Paris as imposing on the ignorant and
inexperienced badly cooked or even tainted meat, which injured their
health. These "coquinarii" stood, perhaps, in the same relation to
those times as our keepers of restaurants.

He mentions in another place that the cooks washed their utensils in
hot water, as well as the plates and dishes on which the victuals were

Mr. Wright has cited an instance from the romance of "Doon de
Mayence," where the guards of a castle, on a warm summer evening,
partook of their meal in a field. Refreshment in the open air was
also usual in the hunting season, when a party were at a distance from
home; and the garden arbour was occasionally converted to this kind of
purpose, when it had assumed its more modern phase. But our picnic was


Paul Hentzner, who was in England at the end of the reign of
Elizabeth, remarks of the people whom he saw that "they are more
polite in eating than the French, devouring less bread, but more meat,
which they roast in perfection. They put a good deal of sugar in their

In his "Court and Country," 1618, Nicholas Breton gives an instructive
account of the strict rules which were drawn up for observance
in great households at that time, and says that the gentlemen who
attended on great lords and ladies had enough to do to carry these
orders out. Not a trencher must be laid or a napkin folded awry; not a
dish misplaced; not a capon carved or a rabbit unlaced contrary to
the usual practice; not a glass filled or a cup uncovered save at the
appointed moment: everybody must stand, speak, and look according to

The books of demeanour which have been collected by Mr. Furnivall
for the Early English Text Society have their incidental value as
illustrating the immediate theme, and are curious, from the growth in
consecutive compilations of the code of instructions for behaviour at
table, as evidences of an increasing cultivation both in manners and
the variety of appliances for domestic use, including relays of knives
for the successive courses. Distinctions were gradually drawn between
genteel and vulgar or coarse ways of eating, and facilities were
provided for keeping the food from direct contact with the fingers,
and other primitive offences against decorum. Many of the precepts in
the late fifteenth century "Babies' Book," while they demonstrate the
necessity for admonition, speak also to an advance in politeness
and delicacy at table. There must be a beginning somewhere; and the
authors of these guides to deportment had imbibed the feeling for
something higher and better, before they undertook to communicate
their views to the young generation.

There is no doubt that the "Babies' Book" and its existing congeners
are the successors of anterior and still more imperfect attempts to
introduce at table some degree of cleanliness and decency. When the
"Babies' Book" made its appearance, the progress in this direction
must have been immense. But the observance of such niceties was of
course at first exceptional; and the ideas which we see here embodied
were very sparingly carried into practice outside the verge of the
Court itself and the homes of a few of the aristocracy.

There may be an inclination to revolt against the barbarous doggerel
in which the instruction is, as a rule, conveyed, and against the
tedious process of perusing a series of productions which follow
mainly the same lines. But it is to be recollected that these manuals
were necessarily renewed in the manuscript form from age to age, with
variations and additions, and that the writers resorted to metre as
a means of impressing the rules of conduct more forcibly on their

Of all the works devoted to the management of the table and kitchen,
the "Book of Nurture," by John Russell, usher of the chamber and
marshal of the ball to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, is perhaps, on
the whole, the most elaborate, most trustworthy, and most important.
It leaves little connected with the _cuisine_ of a noble establishment
of the fifteenth century untouched and unexplained; and although
it assumes the metrical form, and in a literary respect is a dreary
performance, its value as a guide to almost every branch of the
subject is indubitable. It lays bare to our eyes the entire machinery
of the household, and we gain a clearer insight from it than from the
rest of the group of treatises, not merely into what a great man of
those days and his family and retainers ate and drank, and how they
used to behave themselves at table, but into the process of making
various drinks, the mystery of carving, and the division of duties
among the members of the staff. It is, in fact, the earliest
comprehensive book in our literature.

The functions of the squire at the table of a prince are, to a certain
extent, shown in the "Squire of Low Degree," where the hero, having
arrayed himself in scarlet, with a chaplet on his head and a belt
round his waist, cast a horn about his neck, and went to perform his
duty in the hall. He approaches the king, dish in hand, and kneels.
When he has served his sovereign, he hands the meats to the others.
We see a handsome assortment of victuals on this occasion, chiefly
venison and birds, and some of the latter were baked in bread,
probably a sort of paste. The majority of the names on the list are
familiar, but a few--the teal, the curlew, the crane, the stork,
and the snipe--appear to be new. It is, in all these cases, almost
impossible to be sure how much we owe to the poet's imagination and
how much to his rhythmical poverty. From another passage it is to be
inferred that baked venison was a favourite mode of dressing the deer.

The precaution of coming to table with clean hands was inculcated
perhaps first as a necessity, when neither forks nor knives were used,
and subsequently as a mark of breeding. The knife preceded the spoon,
and the fork, which had been introduced into Italy in the eleventh
century, and which strikes one as a fortuitous development of the
Oriental chopstick, came last. It was not in general use even in
the seventeenth century here. Coryat the traveller saw it among the
Italians, and deemed it a luxury and a notable fact.

The precepts delivered by Lydgate and others for demeanour at table
were in advance of the age, and were probably as much honoured in the
breach as otherwise. But the common folk did then much as many of
them do now, and granted themselves a dispensation both from knife and
fork, and soap and water. The country boor still eats his bacon or his
herring with his fingers, just as Charles XII. of Sweden buttered his
bread with his royal thumb.

A certain cleanliness of person, which, at the outset, was not
considerably regarded, became customary, as manners softened and
female influence asserted itself; and even Lydgate, in his "Stans
Puer ad Mensam (an adaptation from Sulpitius)," enjoins on his page or
serving-boy a resort to the lavatory before he proceeds to discharge
his functions at the board--

"Pare clean thy nails; thy hands wash also
Before meat; and when thou dost arise."

Other precepts follow. He was not to speak with his mouth full. He
was to wipe his lips after eating, and his spoon when he had finished,
taking care not to leave it in his dish. He was to keep his napkin as
clean and neat as possible, and he was not to pick his teeth with his
knife. He was not to put too much on his trencher at once. He was not
to drop his sauce or soup over his clothes, or to fill his spoon
too full, or to bring dirty knives to the table. All these points of
conduct are graphic enough; and their trite character is their virtue.

Boiled, and perhaps fried meats were served on silver; but roasts
might be brought to table on the spit, which, after a while, was often
of silver, and handed round for each person to cut what he pleased;
and this was done not only with ordinary meat, but with game, and even
with a delicacy like a roast peacock. Of smaller birds, several were
broached on one spit. There is a mediaeval story of a husband being
asked by his wife to help her to the several parts of a fowl in
succession, till nothing was left but the implement on which it had
come in, whereupon the man determined she should have that too, and
belaboured her soundly with it. At more ceremonious banquets the
servants were preceded by music, or their approach from the kitchen
to the hall was proclaimed by sound of trumpets. Costly plate was
gradually introduced, as well as linen and utensils, for the table;
but the plate may be conjectured to have been an outcome from the
primitive _trencher_, a large slice of bread on which meat was laid
for the occupants of the high table, and which was cast aside after

Bread served at table was not to be bitten or broken off the loaf,
but to be cut; and the loaf was sometimes divided before the meal, and
skilfully pieced together again, so as to be ready for use.


Acton, Eliza, 171
Addington, Surrey, 232
Aigredouce, 57
Albans, St., Abbey of, 208, 233-4
Ale, 183, 205
--Cock, 152
--Elder, 152
--Kentish, 205
Alfred and the cakes, 54
Al-fresco meals, 253-4
Alfric, Colloquy of, 57
Amber puddings, 29, 83
Angelica, 135
Anglo-Danish barbarism, 3
Anglo-Celtic influence, 52
Anglo-Saxon names of meats, 181
Animal food, 8-9, 34
Anthropophagy, 5-7
Apicius, C., 12
Apuleius, 65
Arms and crests on dishes, 42
Arnold's Chronicle, 61
Arthur, 56, 182, 184-5
Ashen-keys, pickled, 143
Asparagus, 84
Assize of ale, 205
Australian meat, 172

Babies' Book, 257
Bacon, Lord Keeper, 251
Bag pudding, 184-5-6
Baker, 28, 197-8
--Parisian, 197-8
Bakestone, 35, 211
Banbury cake, 29, 83
Bannock, 33
Banquet, order of a fourteenth century, 43
Barba, M., 15
Bardolf, a dish, 57
Bardolph, 245
Bartholomew de Cheney, 232
--St., Hospital of, at Sandwich, 236
Battalia pie, 109
Beef, powdered, 187
--Martlemas, 183
Beer, 26-7, 204-5
--composition of the ancient, 205
Bees, wild, 8
Bellows 213, 215
Birch wine, 204
Bit and bite, 218
Blackcaps, 85-6
Bolton, Charles, Duke of, 82
Book of St. Albans, 61
Books of demeanour, 256
Branderi, 211
Brass cooking vessels, 211
Brawn, 187
Bread, 8, 25-6, 195-7, 262
Britons, diet of the, 8
-- Northern and Southern, 16
Brittany, 3
Broach or spit turner, 236-7
Broom-buds, pickled, 144
Broth, 3, 23
Bun, 28
Butler, ancient duties of the, 234
Butter, 198

Caerleon, 183
Caesar, evidence of, 9-11, 16, 17
Cakes, 35, 127-32
Calais, 194
Calves, newly-born
--removal of, from the mother, while in milk, 8
Cannibalism, 5-6
Carps' tongues, 13
Carving, terms of, 12
Castelvetri, 199
Caudles and possets, 132-4
Caviary, 199-200
Charlet, 23
Chaucer, G. 246, 251
Chaworth's (Lady) pudding, 29
Cheesecakes, Mrs. Leed's, etc., 29, 127, 191
Cheeses, 125-7
Chimney, kitchen, 210
China broth, 84
China earth, 220
Christmas, 27
Clare Market, 14
Cleikirai Club, 168
Clermont, B., 159-61
Coals, 215-16
Cobham, Lord, 194
Cockle, 195
Colet, Dean, 249
College wine, 240
Colonial cattle, 172
Condiments, 29-31, 198, 214
Confectioner, 28
--master, 37
Confectionery, 28
Conserves, 134-42
Cook, 201, 229-30
--master, 231-3
Cookery-books, lists of, 67-9, 79-81
--with the names of old owners, 71
Cook's-shops. 245-9
Cooking utensils, great value of, 222
--lists of, 223-7
Cooper, Joseph, 72-3
Copley, Esther, 164
Copper, art of tinning, 217
Cornish pasty, 185
Coryat, Thomas, 222
Court, the ancient, 231
Cows, 8-9
Crab-apple sauce, 215
Creams, 123-4
Cromwell, Oliver, 73-5
--his favourite dishes, _ibid._
Cuisine bourgeoise of ancient Rome, 7
--English, affected by fusions of race, 10
--Old French, 18-19
Cuisinier Royal, Le, 14-15
Curds and cream, 191

Danish settlers, 9
Danish settlers, their influence on our diet, 9
Deer-suet, clarified, 44
DelaHay Street, 37
Deportment at table, gradual improvement in the, 261
Dishes, lists of, 23-4, 200-1
--substituted for trenchers, 219
--different sizes and materials of, 227
--mode of serving up, 261-2
Dods, Margaret, 167
Dripping-pans, 225, 228
Dumplings, Norfolk, 192

Earl, Rules and Orders for the House of an, 39-42
East-Cheap, 246-48
Eating-houses, public, 245-50
Ebulum, 151
Edward III., 222
Eggs, 23
--buttered, 13
Elizabeth, Queen, 190
Endoring, 198
English establishment, staff of an, 39
Ennius, Phagetica of, 6
Epulario, 66
Etiquette of the table, 255-63

Fairfax inventories, 7, 218
Falstaff, 248
Farm-servants' diet, 191
Feasts, marriage and coronation, 47-9
Finchmgfield, 217
Fireplace, 211, 213
Fish, cheaper, demanded, 33
--on fast-days, 48
--considered indigestible, 64
--lists of, 19-21, 23
--musical lament of the dying, 23
Fishing, Saxon mode of, 19
Florendine, 103
Flowers, conserve of, 136
Forced meat, 191
Forks, 222-4
Foreign cookery, 28-30
--Warner's strictures on 29-30
Form of Cury, 55
Forster, John, of Hanlop, 65
Fox, Sir Stephen, 34
Francatelli, 162
French establishment, staff of a, 36
French Gardener, the, 69-70
Fricasee, 23
Fruit-tart, 186
Fruits, dried or preserved, 134-42
Frying-pan, 222
Frying Pan Houses at Wandsworth, 211
Furmety, 64

Galantine, 58
Galingale, 251
Game, 17, 43-4
Garlic, 214
Gilling in Yorkshire, 218
Gingerbread, 131
Ginger-fork, 222
Glass and crystal handles to knives and forks, 222
Glasse, Mrs., 154-6
Glastonbury Abbey, 205
Glazing, or endoring, 48, 198
Gomme, G.L., 16
Goose, 100
--giblets, 190
Grampus, 21
Grape, English, used for wine, 203
Greece, Ancient, 5
Greek anthropophagy, 6-7
Greene, Robert, 242

Hamilton, Duke and Duchess of, 221
Hare, 17
Harington family, 42
Hen, threshing the fat, 62-3
Henry II., 245
--III., 194, 205
--IV., 47
--IV. and V., 47
--VII., 21, 204
--VIII., 241
Hill, Dr., 156-8
Hippocras, 204, 241
Holborn and the Strand, suburbs of, 215
Home-brewed drink, 192
Hommes de Bouche, 15
Hops 27
Hospitality, decay of, 189-90

Inns, want of, in early Scotland, 32-3
--and taverns in Westminster, rules for, 250
Italian cookery, 28, 198
--pudding, 85
Italy, the fork brought from, 222

Jack, the, 237
Jacks, black, 190-1
Jigget of mutton, 34
Joe Miller quoted, 13
Johannes de Garlandia, 214
Johnson, Dr., 156-9
Johnstone, Mrs., 167-8
Jumbals, 128
Junket, 64
Jussel, a dish, 23

Kail-pot, 212
Kettle, 182
Kitchens, 206
--furniture of, 213-14
--staff of the, 230
Kitchener, Dr., 165-6
Knives, 224, 226

Ladies and gentlemen at table, 221
Landlord and lawyer, exactions of, 189-90
Land o' Cakes, 33
Laver, 229
Leveret, 17
Liber Cure Cocorum, 59-60
Liqueurs, 241
Liquids, storage of, 201
Loaf of bread, 196
--sugar, 194
Lombards, 248
London cooks famous, 250
Lord Mayor of London, 20
Lord Mayor's Pageant for 1590, 33
Lucas, Joseph, his Studies in Nidderdale, 11
Lumber pie, 110
Luncheon, 243
Luxury, growth of, 41-2, 187
Lydgate's Story of Thebes, 24
--"London Lickpenny," 247

Malory's King Arthur, 183
Manuturgium, 218
Maple-wood bowls, 228-9
Marinade, 102
Marketing, old, 40
Marlborough cake, 129
Marmalade, 139
Maser, 228-9
Massinger quoted, 13
Master-cook, 41, 214, 231-3
--ancient privileges of the, 231-3
Meals, 191, 238-54
--in the Percy establishment, 35
Meats and drinks, 193, 205
Menagier de Paris quoted, 18
Merenda, a meal, 241-2
Metheglin or hydromel, 64, 204
Middleton, John, chef, 82, 84-6
Milk, 8, 201
Modern terms for dishes first introduced, 24
More, Sir Thomas, 249
Morsus, 218
Morton, Cardinal, 23
Moryson, Fynes, quoted, 31-2
Mulberries, 137-8
Mushrooms, 199
Music to announce the banquet, 262
Mustard, 214

Nasturtium-buds, pickled, 142
Neckam, Alexander, 17, 18, 51, 53
Nevill, Archbishop, 48, 240
Newcastle coal, 216
New College pudding, 113
Nidderdale, 11, 212
Noble Book of Cookery, 60-1
Norfolk dumplings, 192
--yeoman, 192
Norman cuisine, 3, 44-6
--influence on cookery, 45
Normandy, 3
Nott, John, chef, 82

Oatmeal, 187
Oblys, 196
Odysseus, 6
Odyssey, 6
Olio, 85
--pie, 109
Omelettes, 24
Orders and Ordinances of Lord Burleigh as steward of Westminster, 250
Ordinaries, London, 252
--Parisian, 253
Oriental sources of cooking, 7
Oxford, 240
Oxford cake, 83

Parisian cook's-shops, 253
Partridges not recommended to the poor, 64
Passage, a game, 248
Pastry, 23
Peacocks. 13, 48
Pelops, 6
Pepper, 214
Peter of Blois, 205
Peterborough Abbey, 216
Pewter, utensils of, 247-8
Phagetica of Ennius, 6
Pheasants, 13
Pickles, 143 _et seq._
Piers of Fulham, 22, 187, 241
Pies, 23, 109-10, 191
Pig's pettitoes, 191
Ploughman (husbandman), 188
Plovers, 187
Pockets, 102
Poloe, 107
Polyphemus, 6
Pome de oringe, 198
Poor, diet of the, 181_et seq._
--relief of the, 244
"Poor Knights," a dish, 29
Pope, Alex., 210
Porcelain, 219
Pork, 18, 54
Porpoise, 20-1, 200
Porte-chape, 253
Potato, 65
Pot-au-feu, 53
Pot-hook, 225
Pot-luck, 53
Poudre-marchaunt tart, 251
Poultry, 17, 44
Powdered beef, 187
--horse, 30
Puddings, 23, 113 _et seq._
Pulpatoon, 108

Quinces, 138-9, 141

Rabbit, 17
Radish-pods, pickled, 144
Raisin-sauce, 215
Rasher, 23
Rear-supper, 239, 242
Receipts of eminent persons, 85,
--Early, 98-153
Religious scruples against certain food, 9
Rents, excessive, 189-90
Roasting-spit or iron, 217
Robert, Master, and his wife Helena, 208, 234-5
Romans, culinary economy of, 7
--obligation to Greece, 7
Roses, conserve of, 65
Rundell, Mrs., 161
Rush, Friar, 237
Russell's Book of Nurture, 258

Salt, 214
--, fine, 228
--cellar, 218
Sandwich, Kent, 236
Saracen sauce, 58
Saucepan, 216
Sauces, 29-31, 214-15
Sausage, 23
Saxon influence on diet, 9
Scotland, want of Inns in, 32-3
Scots, the, 11, 33, 168
--their early food, 11
--their poverty, 33
Scott, Sir Walter, 167-8
Scottish cookery, early, 30-2
Secret house, keeping, 26, 49,190
Shakespeare, W., 242
Shrewsbury cakes, 85
"Sing a song of sixpence," 66
Smith and his Dame, a tale, 215
Smith, E., Preface to her Cookery Book, 1736, 89-97
--select extracts from the work, 98-153
Soap, 226
Song of the Boar's Head, 241
Soups, 23
Soyer, Alexis, 169-72
Spanish influence on cookery, 66
--Armada, 190
Spice with wine, 204
Spinach, 84
Spit-turner, 236
Spit, turning the, a tenure, 217
Spoons, 218, 222-4
Spread-eagle pudding, 114
Spruce-beer, 203
Squire, functions of the, at table 259
"Squire of Low Degree," 259
St. Albans Abbey, 208
St. John's College, Cambridge, 202
Stanton-Harcourt, 210
"Store of house," 187
Subtleties, 47-8
Sugar, 193-5
Swan, 106
Swinfield, Bishop, 4
Sykes, Colonel, 220
Syrups from flowers, 112

Table-cloth, 218
Table-furniture, 231
Tansies, 122
Tart, fruit, 186
Tea caudle, 134
Temse, 35
Tiffany cakes, 35
Tillinghast, Mary, 77
Tinder-box, 216
Tom Thumb, 54, 182, 186
Touchwood, Peregrine, Esquire 168
Towel, 218
Trencher, 197, 218, 219-21
--Posies on the, 220
Tripe, double, 106
Tripod, 181, 211-13
Trivet, 225
Trumpet, dishes brought into the hall to the sound of, 262
Tureiner, 103
Tusser, Thomas, 62-3

Ude, Louis Eustache, 167
Utensils, 12, 17, 206, 208 _et seq._, 225-8
--treatise on, by Alex. Neckam, 17, 51

Vegetable diet, 183
Venison, 43-4, 198
Venner, Tobias, 63-6
Viard et Fouret, MM., 14-15
Village life, early, 36
Vocabularies, primary object of, 51-2

Wafery, 244
Wandsworth, 211
Warham, Archbishop, 48
Westminister, 249-50
Westphalia hams, 104
Whale, 20
Whetstone cakes, 127
Whey, 205
White grease, 58
Whittinton, Robert, 249
Wigs, 121
William I., 3, 27
--III., his posset, 132
William of Malmesbury, 16
Wines, 145-53. 202-4
--lists of, 203-4
Wolsey, Cardinal, 21
Wood-Street cake, 85
Wormwood cakes, 130
--wine, 204
Wotton, Sir Edward, 194

Yeoman, diet of the, 182 _et seg._,_243
--bad state of the, 189-90
Yorkshire, 12
Young Cook's Monitor, the, by M.H., 75-7

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