Historical Recipes

Historical Recipes

Today I’ve been delving into food history, researching 17th century cakes and bakes as well as some truly terrible Tudor recipes. It is no surprise that the Tudor’s ate some strange foods considering they didn’t like to waste any part of an animal (that’s right, not even the teeth)!

Cockentrice - a fantastical dish made by combining a pig and chicken into one animal, giving the pig chicken arms! This mystical animal was not only eaten but also amazed and amused people. We don’t think we will be trying this recipe…

Cow’s tongue – this was a favourite amongst Tudor nobles and is still a special dish in some countries!

Marrow on toast – a topping was made from the bones of dead animals and was then spread onto toast in the Tudor times…at least it was nutritious!

Blancmange – this is a dessert that some people still make today, but luckily not with the original Tudor recipe. The dessert was made with milk and sugar and…chicken or sometimes even frogs!

Roasted Swan – This was a dish only served on very special occasions. The swan was roasted and then its’ skin and feathers were reattached! The swan also got a crown on its’ head.

Just in case you have lost your appetite after reading that, here are a few sweeter recipes from 17th century, found in ‘17th Century “Great British Bake Off” recipes’ on History Extra:

Lady Ann Fanshawe wrote down her recipe for ‘Icy Cream’, somewhere between 1651 and 1707. She says you need to:

‘Take three pints of the best cream, boyle it with
a blade of Mace, or else perfume it with orang flower water
or Amber-Greece, sweeten the Cream, with sugar let it stand
till it is quite cold, then put it into Boxes, ether of Silver
or tinn then take, Ice chopped into small peeces and
putt it into a tub and set the Boxes in the Ice couering
them all over, and let them stand in the Ice two
hours, and the Cream Will come to be Ice in the Boxes,
then turne them out into a salvar with some of the same
Seasoned Cream, so sarue it up at the Table.’

Hannah Bisaker noted down how to make the perfect puff pastry in 1692:

“Take halfe a quortorh of The Finest Flower then mix yo Flower and water and
Four white of Eggs together, mould up yo paste but not too stiff,
Then role yo Past out into a Sheete. Then lay some Butter in litle Pecies
Till you have Filled yo sheete but doe not lay it Towards The ends to neare, 
Then Dust a little Flower with yo Drudging Box then Fould it up
Twice before you put any more Then doe soe Till yo have put in
a pound keeping it a little dusted very Fine yo put it to yo Butter,
handle it a little Then cut it to yo own Fancie’

Finally my favourite recipe tells you how to cook a husband in the early 18th century!

‘As Mr Glass said of the hare, you must first catch him. Having done so,
the mode of cooking him, so as to make a good dish of him, is as follows.
Many good husbands are spoiled in the cooking; some women go about
it as if their husbands were bladders, and blow them up. Others keep them
constantly in hot water, while others freeze them by conjugal coldness.
Some smother them with hatred, contention and variance, and some keep
them in pickle all their lives. These women always serve them up with tongue
sauce. Now it cannot be supposed that husbands will be tender and good if
managed in that way. But they are, on the contrary, very delicious when
managed as follows: Get a large jar called the jar of carefulness, (which all
good wives have on hand), place your husband in it, and set him near the
fire of conjugal love; let the fire be pretty hot, but especially let it be clear – above
all, let the heat be constant. Cover him over with affection, kindness and 
subjection. Garnish with modest, becoming familiarity, and the spice of 
pleasantry; and if you had kisses and other confectionaries let them be 
accompanied with a sufficient portion of secrecy, mixed with prudence and
moderation. We would advise all good wives to try this receipt and realise
how admirable a dish a husband is when properly cooked.’

More historical recipes can be found at this link or in the Wellcome Library Collection - https://www.historyextra.com/period/17th-century-great-british-bake-off-recipes/