Earlier this week, Colin Marshall highlighted a trove of 3,000 vintage cookbooks on Archive.org, many of which date back to the 19th century.
Cookbooks, however, first arrived on the scene well before that. According to the venerable British Library, the “late 16th century was the first time that cookery books began to be published and acquired with any sort of regularity.” “It is also the first time that cookery books were directed at a female audience.” That is, privileged women who could read and had access to sugar, spices and other then rare ingredients.
Above you can find a recipe for making pancakes, straight from 1585. To make Pancakes, the text reads:
Take new thicke Creame a pine, foure or five yolks of egs, a good handful of flower and two or three spoonefuls of ale, strain them together into a faire platter, and season it with a good handfull of sugar, a spooneful of synamon, and a little Ginger: then take a friing pan, and put in a litle peece of Butter, as big as your thumbe, and when it is molten brown, cast it out of your pan, and with a ladle put to the further side of your pan some of your stuffe, and hold your pan …, so that your stuffe may run abroad over all the pan as thin as may be: then set it to the fire, and let the fyre be verie soft, and when the one side is baked, then turn the other, and bake them as dry as ye can without burning.
It’s Saturday morning. What are you waiting for? Give it a try. The page above also offers recipes for various puddings. Find those recipes transcribed here.
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