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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

152: A noble book off cookry

Anonymous, ‘A noble book off cookry ffor a prynce houssolde or eny other estately houssolde’ (England, c.1480 –1500) Kept at Holkham Hall, Norfolk, this is one of the best-preserved early English cookery books in existence. Hand-written in Middle English, it begins with menus for feasts, including Henry V’s Coronation in 1413. Over 280 recipes follow, many for preparing and cooking meat, poultry, as well as fish on fast days. These elite dishes were intended for the nobility, whose productive estates and high income provided their cooks with abundant game, farm- and market-produce, and imported foodstuffs. Tudor kitchens were not for the squeamish, as the recommended methods of preparing animals to eat are often brutal and bloody.

The Earl of Leicester and the Trustees of the Holkham Estate (MS 674)

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