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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

156: Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook, or the Art and Mystery of Cookery (London, 1685) In 1660, the Catholic chef Robert May published The Accomplisht Cook, which quickly became a best-seller. May had operated as a chef in elite households for some 55 years, so his text gives wonderful insights into half a century of cooking. Some culinary traditions had died out, such as with his two-course fish menu, which he states was ‘formerly used in Fasting days, and in Lent’. However, May’s recipe for Lenten dough, using almond milk along with butter and eggs, suggests that certain dairy substitutes for Lent had not entirely disappeared.

The Syndics of Cambridge University Library (Hhh.621)

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