For this Thanksgiving, why not try cooking from a seventeenth-century recipe?
EMROC is hosting a transcribe, cook, and post of FB party as its “Thankful Thanksgiving,” and we invite you to join us.
We would like you to transcribe a recipe from the mid-17th-century cookbook, “Mrs Fanshawes Booke of Physickes, Salues, Waters, Cordialls, Preserues and Cookery”(MS7113), which is housed at the Wellcome Library and available digitally. You might want to try this recipe, “To Stew Oysters,” which bakes the oysters in their own “liquour” and flavors them with nutmeg, onion, and pepper (Dromio page 102), or maybe “To Frye Hartichokes,” that is, artichokes that are fried in butter and dressed with parsley (Dromio page 101).
Or perhaps you would like to bring a new-old dessert drink to the family table: a “Whipt Sillibub” a frothy spiked drink (Dromio page 91), or a “Gooseberry Foole,” made of gooseberries, wine, and eggs (Dromio page 183).
You probably wouldn’t trust your turkey to an early modern recipe, but you might be interested to know that it was a very popular dish in England. As early as the 1520s, turkeys made their appearance in England, coming from the new world via seafarers and explorers. By 1555, the London market had a legally fixed price for turkeys, and English farmers began raising them for market by the 1570s. In the early seventeenth-century, the turkey shows up on the weekly menus of large estates, such as Penshurst (which was the poet Philip Sidney’s childhood home). By mid-century, large numbers of large numbers of turkeys were brought into London from the countryside for sale, and they were common fixtures on Christmas tables. Ann Fanshawe’s table included turkey, as she lists it as a meat that is best roasted, but unfortunately she did not leave a recipe for it. However, in Constance Hall’s cookbook from the 1670s is the recipe, “To Season a Turkey Pye,” and an anonymous recipe book from 1720 (Folger W.b. 653) contains three recipes for Turkey.
So are you ready to choose your recipe and transcribe?
Here are a few that you might want to try:
To Make Cheesecakes (Dromio page 128)
To make Lemon Cakes (Dromio page 128
To make Spanish Creame (Dromio page 99)
To make Rice Pan Cakes (Dromio page 98)
Mrs Gadfords Cake (a cake with currants) (Dromio page 93)
To bake a Hare (if you are adventurous) (Dromio page 99)
To make Jumballs–these are a kind of cookie (Dromio pages 291-292)
Have fun and now here are the nuts and bolts to help you with the project:
We’ll be using the Folger’s transcription interface, at: http://transcribe.folger.edu. The interface is called Dromio and associated with Early Modern Manuscripts Online. When asked to sign in, just enter your first and last names, and an account will be created for you (please be sure enter your name as you’d like it to appear in the database). Then, click “EMROC.” Our manuscript will be listed as “MS7113” (Fanshawe’s receipt book).
While transcribing, you’ll probably also want a window open to the Oxford English Dictionary.
- Go to Dromio and select a page.
- Keep the spelling as you see it. Use any of the encoding buttons you feel comfortable with; they’re explained at http://emroc.hypotheses.org/transcribathons/transcribathon-instructions-glossaries-and-more/glossary-of-xml-buttons .
- Click “SAVE” as you go, and “Done” when you’ve finished the entire page.
Then make your dish, take a picture of it, and post it here: https://www.facebook.com/EarlyModernRecipeOnlineCollective/
From all of us at EMROC: Have a Happy and Thankful Thanksgiving.
Amy L. Tigner, Elaine Leong, and Lisa Smith
 Lady Ann Fanshawe, “Mrs. Fanshawe’s Book of Receipts ” (Wellcome Library, 1651-1680), MS 7113.
Joan Thirsk, Food in Early Modern England. Phases, Fads and Fashions 1500-1760 (London and New York: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), 254 and C. Anne Wilson, Food and Drink in Britain. From the Stone Age to Recent Times (London: Constable and Company, 1973), 128-31.
 The Sidney family documents are housed in the Kent History and Library Centre; the menus are in De Lisle MSS U1475 A60.
 Constance Hall, “Her Book of Receipts,” (Folger Shakespeare Library, 1672), V.a.20; Anonymous, “Receipt Book,” (Folger Shakespeare Library, 1720), W.b.653.