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English Department | University of Texas | Arlington

Cooking the Baumfylde Manuscript

Marissa Nicosia, The Pennsylvania State University-Abington College

I am often hungry in the library. Reading early modern manuscript recipe books with an eye to cooking from them makes for a ravenous scholar taking aspirational notes and imagining future meals. I did not always read recipe books this way. I started reading them to practice deciphering early modern handwriting and continued to turn to them for the occasional interspersed poem, commonplace, or other copied or composed text.[1] Reading with an eye for cooking has changed both how I think about recipe books and the questions that I ask of them. Since cooking is one of my methods for interpreting these manuscripts, I am attuned to the practical, embodied aspects of what recipes ask users to do.

The first time I applied for funding for my Cooking in the Archives project, in which I read early modern manuscripts for recipes to cook and update historical recipes for the modern kitchen, I wrote this sentence: “What are recipes if not instructions for cooking?”[2] A play is a script intended for performance, a husbandry manual tells you how to care for animals or plants, a music book is a provocation to song: What is a recipe book if not a repository of possible culinary activity?[3] My simple sentence has migrated from draft to draft, abstract to conference paper, paper to article. I keep repeating it, because I keep needing to make this point.[4]

Cooking historical recipes is not simply a neophyte or hobbyist approach to the past – I must also interject here that I am also not opposed to amateur engagements with historical sources – rather ample scholarship about historical reenactment and recreation attests to the rigor and breadth of so-called non-traditional research practices.[5] Indeed, recipe recreations are often part of research processes in the history of science and are central to the ongoing Making and Knowing project.[6] Despite growing movements in the humanities and social sciences to study making and embodied knowledge, cooking is not generally respected as a scholarly method outside the borders of food studies. Even within food studies, Ken Albala was urging food historians to embrace cooking as part of their methodology as recently as 2010. In his article on “Cooking as research methodology,” Albala provides seven case studies where recipe recreation led to new insights about kitchen labor, cooking tools, and recipe writing. He also cautions against updating recipes and sees detailed historical recreation following hearth cooking methods and using authentic ingredients as the only way to conduct this research. Although I laud Albala’s commitment to cooking as method, I disagree with both his criteria for authenticity and critique of recipe adaptation. When push comes to shove, even Albala uses “US streaky bacon” when he is not quite sure which pork product a recipe includes.[8] Recipe recreation, with or without adaptation for modern ingredients and implements, has much to offer scholars and cooks alike.

Moreover, testing recipes was a part of early modern recipe collecting and use practices. Elaine Leong’s Recipes and Everyday Knowledge provides substantial evidence that recipe trials – through debates on paper in correspondence, edits and comments on the pages of recipe manuscripts, and hands-on trials in the kitchen, brewhouse, or stillroom – were crucial to verifying culinary and medicinal know-how.[9] She writes, “More often than not, early modern recipe books are marked up, and compilers used their own customized set of signs and phrases to classify recipes and their stock of household knowledge.”[10] My own trials of recipes are part of a long history of interpretation, recreation, and adaptation linked to both contemporary and early modern investigatory practices.

This bias against cooking as a method for critical inquiry replicates the same barriers that previously excluded recipe manuscripts, laundry lists, household accounts, and other domestic documents from serious scholarly attention.[11] Cooking as a method may not produce facts or positivist conclusions about the early modern world, but it can certainly incite dialogue and raise plausible points of argumentation within humanities disciplines. Put another way, I fail to see why it is considered lacking when compared with other methodological approaches. Since cooking’s coding as non-academic, as “women’s labor,” has excluded it from our methodological toolkit in the study of early modern recipes, I propose claiming “cooking as method” as a feminist and ecofeminist issue. If as, Rebecca Laroche and Jennifer Munroe write, “Ecofeminism takes as its primary concern the way the relationship between the human and nonhuman is both material and culture, but it also investigates how this relationship is inherently entangled with issues of gender equity and environmental justice,” I suggest that cooking is a productive method for attending to these concerns.[12] What else could we learn from historical recipe books if cooking was central to how we read and interpreted them? Recipe books like Baumfylde’s, as I argue elsewhere, bear witness to the Columbian exchange, household labor arrangements, changing ideas about luxury, local gardening and husbandry practices, and the importation of ingredients farmed by enslaved laborers of African and indigenous descent in the Caribbean, the American mainland, and the spice islands in South East Asia.[13] The recipes in these books were cooked by servants in elite households in England using both local and imported ingredients. Cooking those recipes again, conducting recipe trials anew, offers us a way to reflect upon the nameless communities that were responsible for making those recipes possible both in the early modern era and in the twenty-first century.

When I began to work with Mary Baumfylde’s manuscript recipe book in the last months of 2017, I was reading for cooking. For example, the first time I encountered her recipe for “White Hippocras” (that I discuss in more detail below), I already knew that hippocras was a kind of spiced wine that was popular throughout the medieval and early modern period in England.[14] Hippocras recipes raise a range of issues about early modern wine, medical culture, spice usage, and local and global trade routes. These are productive provocations for culinary, medical, and economic historians, as well as ecocritics and environmental studies scholars more generally, to consider. But I wanted to know if Baumfylde’s method of curdling the milk in the spiced wine and straining the mixture through a cloth bag would work. I started thinking about my strainers and whether or not I had cheesecloth in my kitchen. I wanted to know if it would be delicious or disgusting. I wanted to know how to make Baumfylde’s “White Hippocras” and, through making it, if I could learn something about the practices, tastes, textures, and pleasures of her world. Such knowledge will always be partial – different wine, milk, spices, and sugar render my version inauthentic in significant ways – but I was pleasantly surprised by the effective straining method and taste of the finished batch. Conceptualizing straining curdled milk from spiced wine is one thing, doing it is something else.

The recipes that follow below abide by the same principles of updating as recipes on my Cooking in the Archives site.[15] My selections are representative of what I was interested in cooking and eating, rather than representative of the book as a whole. I have included semi-diplomatic transcriptions of each recipe and an accompanying updated recipe that is ready to cook in a twenty-first-century kitchen.[16] Using these updated recipes, you, too, can cook from Mary Baumfylde’s manuscript if you choose to and see for yourself what questions preparing and eating her recipes might inspire you to ask.

How to Make “Sasssages”

Baumfylde’s recipe for sassages (or sausages) was intriguing because this recipe provided instructions for both cased and uncased versions.[17] I wanted to see how the sausage got made, as it were, without the tricky business of stuffing casings. Baumfylde’s sassages are delightfully flavored with sage, mace, cloves, and black pepper.

This recipe is also rare in Baumfylde’s book, and in the archive of recipe books more generally, in that it comes with a specific date: 24 July 1702. We’ll never be entirely sure if this is a date noting when a user of this manuscript prepared sassages or when they received and recorded the recipe. Near the end of summer, well-fed livestock may have been ready to slaughter even though fall, or early winter, was a more traditional time for processing animals. Making sausage was an ideal, “nose-to-tail,” way to transform scraps and fat into a dish that could easily be preserved. Sausage-making from the ancient world through the early modern period was essentially a method of preservation. As Gary Allen writes in Sausage: A Global History, “Sausages generally contain salt; indeed, the word ‘sausage’ is derived from Latin salus, ‘salted’. Salt serves three functions in sausage: it helps to preserve the meat, binds the bits of protein together and adds flavour.”[18] Although encased sausages flavored with salt (and perhaps also cooked, smoked, or allowed to dry and ferment) would last the longest, even the salted uncased patties would have a longer shelf-life than the off-cuts from which they were made.

Despite its status as a thrifty food, Ken Albala notes that sausages appeared on the most elite banqueting tables of the Renaissance as well as in the poorest dwellings. He writes,

Foods that dietary authors in this period typically associate with lower classes (tripe, sausages, herring, and simple porridges or polenta) still find their way into elite banquets. This fact itself is revealing. Not only was there little aversion to cheap foods, body parts, and lowly vegetables, but diversity and abundance for its own sake seems to have been the primary goal.[19]

A banquet showing the splendor of the harvest would include sausages alongside larger roasts, porridge alongside sweets, such as bisket or jumballs. This specific recipe instructs the cook to start with a whole leg of pork, rather than scraps. Perhaps this may have been a recipe to showcase the household’s spices as much as it would have preserved the meat. The costly spices suggest that the recipe may even be fit for a banquet table. Certainly, there are other ways to preserve an entire leg of pork, but sausages, encased or uncased, were a crucial part of the preservation economy of early modern husbandry and cookery.

[Figure 1: “To Make sassages​.” V.a.456, 42r. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.]


The 24 of july } 1702​​

To Make sassages​

Take the lean of a legg of porke

& mince it Very small with​ 4 pou​nd of beef

suet & a good handfull of sage finely

minc​ed this done take Clous mace and

peper of Each a good quantity & as much

salt as you shall think fitt to season the

meat with 9 or 10 eggs mix all these

together very well then put your meat in

to a stone morter & beat it very well till

you cant per​seve the suet from the meat

you may put the meate into to skins or rowl

them up which​ you please & soe fry them if yo​u​

put them into skins parr boyle th​e​m​ a very little​

The original recipe makes a lot of sausages and would have been prepared by the household’s cooks. With a whole leg of pork and four pounds of beef suet, the recipe produces a mighty big batch of seasoned meat. Working from the idea that a leg of pork is between 10-14 pounds, I made 1/10 the original recipe and still had loads of sausage mix to eat. I started with a pound of Stryker Farm ground pork and beef suet. The ground pork likely has a higher fat content than the lean meat called for in the original recipe. If you don’t have beef suet to hand, you can absolutely use bacon or lard in its place and adjust the amount to your taste.

[Figures 2-4: Sassage Ingredients, Sassage Making, Sassages. Photos courtesy of the author.]

Updated Recipe

(makes more than a dozen small sausage patties)

1 lb ground pork

6.4 oz (1 1/2 c) beef suet (either in pellet form or pulverized in a food processor)

1 egg

sage, one small handful chopped (about 1 T chopped)

1/4 t cloves, pre-ground or ground in a mortar and pestle

1/4 t mace

1/2 t freshly ground pepper

1/2 t salt

Mix all ingredients well in a big bowl.

When you’re ready to cook the sausage, heat a cast-iron or heavy frying pan over a high heat. Add sausage patties and cook for at least five minutes until brown on the outside and cooked through. I did not need to add butter or oil for frying because of the fat content of the sausages themselves. Flip or rotate the sausages so that all sides brown evenly.

Rest a minute before eating.

I think something about the mace, cloves, and beef fat tricked my taste buds and made me anticipate sweetness, not savory flavors. But the sausages were a big hit with my go-to taste-testers: my family. They reminded my British spouse of classic British pork sausages and other dishes that are flavored with mace and clove, such as pork pie. Tasting this recipe offered an identifiable continuity in English pork recipes from the early modern period to the twenty-first century. Although English food has changed in countless ways, these flavors – mace, clove, and pork – persist as a classic combination.


To pickell mutton Cowcumbers

Recipes for preserved fruit and vegetables are ubiquitous in early modern recipe books. This one, for pickled cucumbers, uses olive oil to form a natural seal between the outside air and the harvested vegetables.[20] Although we often associate preserving recipes with fruit and vegetables (jams, compotes, jarred sauces, pickles), Albala reminds us that the “salted and sometimes acidic environment that inhibits bacterial growth” created by pickling brines can preserve “almost anything …  including meats, vegetables, fish, olives.”[21] Like making sausage, pickling is an essential element of kitchen thrift.[22]

[Figure 5: “To pickell mutton Cowcumbers.” V.a.456, 23r. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.]


To pickell mutton Cowcumbers

Take the fairest of your younge xx

cowcumbers, and wipe them very

dry, then make your pickell, with

halfe water and halfe vineger

and some parings of the worst of

the cowcumbers, and let it boyle

very well, then let it coole, and

strayne it into your vessell

then put in your cowcumbers

and cast a pinte of oyle oliue one

the topp, and couer them close

the oyle keeps it without any

creame on the top, that when

you use any they shall not

take winde.

The image of wind blowing into the pickling vessel and disrupting the contents is provocative. However, cucumbers are also potentially troubling in other ways. Renaissance dietaries frowned upon the cucumber because of its impact on the body’s humors. As Albala puts it, they were “[c]onsidered among the most harmful vegetables because of their cold and moist qualities, physicians usually recommended that they only be eaten in the summer by people who were naturally hot.”[23] Pickling these potentially dangerous vegetables would have altered their cold quality through the addition of salt, sour vinegar, and spices. Although this recipe is not particularly spicy, other pickle recipes include long pepper, cloves, and fresh herbs.[24]

[Figures 6-8: Cucumbers, Cucumbers in Brine, Pickles. Photos courtesy of the author.]

Updated Recipe

10 small cucumbers

2 c water

1 ½ c white wine vinegar

½ c apple cider vinegar

1t salt

¼ c olive oil

Wash the cucumbers. Slice one. Arrange the others in a large, clean jar.

Bring the vinegar, water, sliced cucumber, and salt to a boil. Pour this brine over the cucumbers in the jar.

Pour ¼ c olive oil on top.

Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Then refrigerate. The pickles will keep for a few weeks using this method.

Crunchy and sharp, these pickles are delicious alongside a sandwich or paired with cheese and charcuterie. The blend of apple cider and white vinegar creates a tangy, substantial brine. Sealing the jar with oil appears effective at room temperature as well as in the refrigerator. I would hazard a guess that it worked at cellar temperature as well. I’d never thought to seal a jar this way and this piece of information about preservation was my major takeaway from preparing the pickles. Delicious or dangerous, pickling helps cucumbers last beyond the harvest. The proliferation of pickling recipes in early modern recipe books attests to this need for thrifty preservation as well as the need to write down these recipes and remember them in between harvests.


White Hippocras

We rarely have information about whether the recipe book’s compiler(s) or users made specific dishes. As I explained above, the date on the sassage recipe is a rare thing. This recipe for White Hippocras may be something that was prepared regularly in Baumfylde’s household, or it may have been made rarely or even on a single occasion, or it may have been a recipe that was collected, but never actually prepared. As Elaine Leong explains, some households copied a “starter set” of recipes from another manuscript to form the core of their own personal collection.[25] These recipes may provide a record of personal culinary ambition rather than a record of cooking practices. White Hippocras, unlike sausages or pickles, requires large amounts of expensive ingredients: imported wine, spices, and sugar.[26] Depending on the entertaining practices of Baumfylde’s household, this recipe may have been copied out of pure aspiration, or it may have been a regular feature at the table.

Early modern wine was rather different than the wine we drink today. Modern bottling technologies stabilize what is, essentially, a highly perishable fermentation of grape juice. As Paul Lukacs explains in Inventing Wine, adding spices and sweeteners to wine to make Hippocras was common in medieval and early modern England. He writes, “Spices not only would disguise a wine beginning to turn bad but also could make an otherwise dry wine taste somewhat sweet …. They used cloves, cinnamon, honey, and the like to season” their wines.[27] After the wine was infused with spices and sweetener, but before it was served, it was strained through a cloth “hippocras bag” to remove the spices and other flavoring. This bag was named after the cloth sleeves of the ancient physician Hippocrates who advised the consumption of spiced wine drinks.[28]

[Figure 9: “To make white Hippocras.” V.a.456, 6r. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.]


To make white Hippocras

Take a quart of white wine and put

into it iiij ounces of Synamon

brused and halfe an ounce of mace

iij nuttmeggs and halfe a pound of

fine sugar, and let it steepe 24

howers, then take a Jelly bagg, and

put a little fresh Synamon in the

bottome of it, and 2 or 3 slices of

ginger, then take a pynt of new

milke, and power a little of the

milke and a little of the wine

and soe power it often through

the bagg vntill it be cleare

Hippocras recipes vary widely. They serve a range of tastes and convey different medicinal properties depending on how they are spiced, infused, and strained. This recipe uses a “milk punch” method to clarify and strain the hippocras. After the initial infusion, milk is added. It curdles and the curdled milk solids are strained out along with the spices. Other hippocras recipes add lemon juice, apples, or even sack.[29]


[Figures 10-14: White Hippocras Spices, White Wine, Infused White Wine, Straining the Hippocras, White Hippocras. Photos courtesy of the author.]

Updated Recipe

1 quart white wine (I used Skeleton 2017 Grünerveltliner)

8 cinnamon sticks

2-4 slices of a whole nutmeg or ½ t ground nutmeg

½ t mace

1 c sugar

1 pint milk

Additional cinnamon stick and 2-3 slices of fresh ginger for straining.

Combine the wine, sugar, and spices in a jug, jar, or decanter. Leave to infuse for 24 hours.

Prepare a straining setup. I used a wire strainer to support a few layers of cheese cloth. A clean, thin kitchen-towel would also work. Put a cinnamon stick and fresh ginger slices in the cloth-layered strainer.

Stir the infused wine. Add the milk. Then pour the milk-wine mixture through the strainer. Stir the mixture in the strainer with a spoon to encourage movement. Squeeze the cloth to make sure all the liquid has passed through. The spices and milk solids will be left in the cloth. You may need to do this twice. Discard the spices and milk solids and rinse the cloth thoroughly before repeating.

Serve immediately.

The first thing I tasted was nutmeg, then sweetness and the rest of the spices. The nutmeg scent outpaced the other flavors. One friend found it so fruity that she was surprised it contained no fruit. Another likened it to a lighter eggnog and proposed “nog lite” as a possible name for the drink. Spiced, curdled, and strained, Baumfylde’s White Hippocras could accompany a range of sweet and savory dishes. Ultimately, the method of preparing the Hippocras and the encounter with the curdled milk was most impactful for me.


To Make bisket

These biskets intrigued me because they do not have any butter in them.[30] Instead, egg yolks enrich the dough. In an era before mass-market chemical leavening such as baking soda, biskets like these got their lift from whipped egg whites. Dense, chewy, and nicely spiced, these biscuits are a great addition to an afternoon tea and would likely be lovely served alongside a pitcher of hippocras.

[Figure 15: “To Make bisket.” V.a.456, 52r. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.]


To Make bisket

Take the yelks of 5 eggs & the whites of 2 beat

them a quarter of an hour & in the beating putt

10 spoonfuls of Rose water then strow in a

pound of dubble refine suger finely beaten

and sifted after the suger is in beat it an hour

then take a pound of flower well dried shake

it in still beating it one way then strow in

your seeds carraway or coriander or both if you

please. drop them in to butterd pans and

bake them

Rosewater may seem exotic, but it was made locally in this period and was heavily used in savory and sweet dishes; in the latter case, where we would now use vanilla extract. Caraway seeds were also widely used in sweet and savory dishes and could be cultivated locally. The most aspirational elements in this recipe are the sugar and the domestic labor required of the servant beating the eggs, sugar, and rosewater. This recipe asks a cook to first beat eggs for a quarter of an hour and then to beat eggs, sugar, and rosewater for an additional hour. It is unlikely that Mary Baumfylde would have done this herself. Although this recipe looks simple to us, it would have required quite a bit of manual labor for the cook(s) in Baumfylde’s household. Again here, cooking method provides us with social information. While I did not beat the eggs, sugar, and rosewater for an hour, I thought of Baumfylde’s cook while I wielded my electric mixer.

[Figures 16 & 17: Bisket dough, Bisket. Photos courtesy of the author.]

Updated Recipe

Halved from the original

3 egg yolks

1 egg white

1 c sugar

5 t rosewater (or less to taste)

1 3/4 c flour

1 T caraway seeds

1t coriander seeds

Preheat your oven for 375F.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with rosewater. Add the sugar and beat until well combined.

Stir in the flour and seeds.

Dollop the batter onto a buttered baking sheet to make small cookies.

Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Simple and flavorful, these biscuits are easy to make. They are distinctly chewy and rich from the egg yolks. I experimented with larger biscuits and a lower baking temperature, but smaller biscuits and a hotter oven worked better. For a twenty-first-century cook, it appears to be a simple cookie recipe, but the recipe shows that this was a rather different undertaking in terms of time and labor for her household.[31] Moreover, a sweet bisket was a special occasion dish, not everyday fare. Making this recipe forced me to consider the relative costs of ingredients, time, and labor for Baumfylde’s household and for my own.



Cooking these four recipes from the Baumfylde manuscript challenged me to deeply consider ingredients and instructions that I had initially glossed over when I was first transcribing the manuscript. As I developed draft recipes, I had to slow down and make decisions about amounts – how much is the “little fresh Synamon” added to the hippocras after the first infusion? – and practices – would I “beat” the bisket dough for “an hour”? In the process of translating an early modern form of practical writing into a twenty-first-century recipe, these decisions are paramount. Yet they are not necessarily crucial in other studies of early modern recipes that might variously prioritize the presence of specific ingredients, a discussion of kitchen labor, recreate a trade route, or bear witness to the widespread popularity of a particular dish. Reading and updating recipes with an eye towards cooking them necessitates this slow attention and calculation. In the recipes above, my background research and practical making experiences shaped how I thought about flavoring, labor, preservation methods, and trade practices. Throughout the recipe development process, I also shared the draft recipes and the food I cooked with friends and family. The updated versions that I share here have been inflected by those dialogues and meals around my table.


Marissa Nicosia is Assistant Professor of Renaissance Literature at The Pennsylvania State University—Abington College. She has published articles on early modern literature, food culture, and manuscript studies in journals, such as Modern Philology, Milton Studies, The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, and edited collections, such as After Print: Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Cultures. She runs the public food history website Cooking in the Archives.



I would like to thank Amy L. Tigner and Hillary Nunn for their suggestions and encouragement; the anonymous readers, participants in the 2018 SAA Workshop “Transcribing and Interpreting Digital Recipe Manuscripts” and the 2019 RSA seminar “In the Kitchen: Theory and Practice of Early Modern Cooking Seminar” for feedback on earlier versions of this material, and Joseph Malcomson, Lisa Ruth Rand, and Whitney Trettien for taste-testing and sharing their opinions during the recipe development process.

[1] Mary Baumfylde’s manuscript has some of these features, Folger Shakespeare Library Call Number: V.a.456, 62v.

[2] Marissa Nicosia, “Cooking in the Archives: Updating Early Modern Recipes (1600-1800) in a Modern Kitchen” last modified January 25, 2021.

[3] Many readers and interlocutors have pointed out that some recipes are not meant for cooking. They often cite excessive banqueting recipes or experimental modernist art. I would argue that in most cases early modern recipes were collected for use in the household and recipe books were repositories for practical know-how. Elaine Leong’s work provides overwhelming evidence to this end. Elaine Leong, Recipes and Everyday Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and the Household in Early Modern England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), especially chapters 1 and 2.

[4] Elsewhere, I have written about how and why cooking is a productive method for manuscript studies, critical bibliography, and the history of the material text. Marissa Nicosia, “Cooking Hannah Woolley’s Printed Recipes from a Manuscript Recipe Book: UPenn Ms. Codex 785,” in After Print: Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Culture, ed. Rachael S. King (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2020).

[5] Katherine M. Johnson. “Rethinking (re)doing: historical re-enactment and/as historiography,” Rethinking History 19, no. 2 (2015): 193-206; Vanessa Agnew, “History’s Affective Turn: Historical Reenactment and Its Work in the Present,” Rethinking History 11, no.3 (2007): 299-312; Iain McCalman and Paul Pickering, eds. Historical Reenactment. From Realism to the Affective Turn (Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010).

[6] Many scholars working in the history and sociology of science, history, art history, and related fields use recreation as part of their scholarly practice. The ongoing Making and Knowing Project is currently a premier example of this. Pamela H. Smith et al., “The Making and Knowing Project: Intersections of Craft Making and Scientific Knowing,” accessed February 1, 2021,; Pamela H. Smith and The Making and Knowing Project, “Historians in the Laboratory: Reconstruction of Renaissance Art and Technology in the Making and Knowing Project,” Art History 39, no. 2 (2016): 210-233; Pamela H. Smith, Amy R. W. Meyers, and Harold J. Cook, eds. Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014). See also, Adelheid Voskuhl, “Recreating Herschel’s Actinometry: An essay in the historiography of experimental practice,” British Journal for the History of Science 30, no. 3 (1997): 337-55; Hasok Chang, “How historical experiments can improve scientific knowledge and science education: The cases of boiling water and electrochemistry,” Science and Education 20 (2011): 317-41.

[7] I see my process of updating as rather different from the kinds of “inspired by” recipes that Albala and other writers, such as Stephen Schmidt, have condemned. Ken Albala, “Cooking as research methodology: Experiments in Renaissance cuisine,” in Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare: Culinary Readings and Culinary Histories, ed. Joan Fitzpatrick (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), 73-88; Ken Albala, Food in Early Modern Europe (Greenwood Press: Westport, 2003); Stephen Schmidt, “On Adapting Historical Recipes,” Manuscript Cookbooks Survey, March 2019

[8] Albala, “Cooking as research methodology,” 84.

[9] Leong, chapters 3 and 4.

[10] Leong, 94.

[11] On the topic of laundry lists and feminist critical practice, see Natasha Korda, “Shakespeare’s Laundry: Feminist Futures in the Archive,” in Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, and Sexuality, eds. Ania Loomba and Melissa E. Sanchez (Routledge: New York, 2016), 93-112; Leah Knight, Micheline White, and Elizabeth Sauer, eds. Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain: Reading, Ownership, Circulation (University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, 2018).

[12] Rebecca Laroche and Jennifer Munroe, Shakespeare and Ecofeminist Theory (Bloomsbury: London, 2017), xv.

[13] Kim F. Hall, “Culinary Spaces, Colonial Spaces: The Gendering of Sugar in the Seventeenth Century,” in Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture: Emerging Subjects, eds. Valerie Traub, Lindsay Kaplan, and Dympna Callaghan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 168-90; Amanda Herbert and Heather Wolfe, “Curator’s Insights: First Chefs,” Folger Shakespeare Library, accessed February 1, 2021,; Marissa Nicosia, “Citrus and sugar: Making marmalade with Hannah Woolley,” Shakespeare and Beyond: Folger Library, February 26, 2019; Marissa Nicosia, “The ‘American Nectar’: William Hughes’s hot chocolate,” Shakespeare and Beyond: Folger Library, January 15, 2019

[14] V.a.456, 6r.

[15]  This project was inspired by (or is aligned with) these books and projects: Julia Skinner, Modernizing Markham: Bringing The English Housewife to Today’s Readers (Candle Light Press: Iowa City, 2012); The Recipes Project last modified January 28, 2021.; Alex Ketchum, ed. The Historical Cooking Project last modified June 10, 2020.; Sarah Lohman, Four Pounds Flour last modified August 22, 2018.; Karen Hammonds, Revolutionary Pie: Historic American cooking in a 21st-century kitchen last modified July 17, 2017.; Ivan Day, Historic Food, accessed February 1, 2021.; Ken Albala, Ken Albala’s Food Rant last modified January 15, 2021.

[16] I bring expertise in European/Mediterranean styles of cooking, paleography, and early modern culture to my recipe reconstruction work. Many of the manuscripts that I work on, like Baumfylde’s, are publicly available through online digital collections. My work in this piece, like on Cooking in the Archives, is to provide access to these primary sources via transcription, contextual information, and a recipe that can be cooked with ingredients that can be found at a basic supermarket (plus rosewater). This does not remove all barriers to access – cost, diet, time still make these recipes inaccessible to some readers – but I would argue that the recipes herein or on Cooking in the Archives are significantly more accessible than the digital images or original manuscripts held in special collections libraries.  For more on my updating methodology, see, Alyssa Connell and Marissa Nicosia, “Cooking in the Archives: Bringing Early Modern Manuscript Recipes into a Twenty-First-Century Kitchen,” Archive Journal 4 (July 2015)

[17] This recipe was originally posted on Cooking in the Archives. Marissa Nicosia, “To make Sassages,” Cooking in the Archives, March 12, 2018,

[18] Gary Allen, Sausage: A Global History (Reaktion Books: London, 2015), 16. Allen also offers an excellent account of the boundaries of sausage as a cased and uncased category, 13-15.

[19] Ken Albala, The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), 11. He discusses similar content later in the book, 31.

[20] To date, I have not found other references to “mutton cucumbers” in early modern books. Cucumbers were sometimes thought of as food only for livestock due to their undesirable humoral properties (described below). Hence the variant spelling “cowcumber” and perhaps the “mutton” designation used here.

[21] Albala, Food in Early Modern Europe, 98.

[22] For more on the practical and metaphoric elements of preserving, see Amy L. Tigner, “Preserving Nature in Hannah Woolley’s The Queen-like Closet; or Rich Cabinet,” in Ecofeminist Approaches to Early Modernity, eds. Jennifer Munroe and Rebecca Laroche (New York: Palgrave, 2011), 129-51.

[23] Albala continues, “For those with colder complexions cucumbers could cause shuddering fits or fevers as the noxious juice collects in the veins and putrefies. Of course most people ignored these warnings, and the fact that cucumbers were so widely cultivated is ample proof that most people ate them.” Food in Early Modern Europe, 29. For more on humoral theory and diet, see 214-23.

[24] Marissa Nicosia, “Pickle,” Cooking in the Archives, accessed February 1, 2021,

[25] Leong, chapter 1, esp. 21.

[26] Hall, “Culinary Spaces, Colonial Spaces.”

[27] Paul Lukacs, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures (Norton: New York, 2012), 43.

[28] Ivan Day, “More on Hippocras,” Historic Food, accessed February 1, 2021,

[29] For other hippocras recipes see, Marissa Nicosia, “Hippocras, or spiced wine,” Cooking in the Archives, December 10, 2018

[30] This recipe was originally posted on Cooking in the Archives. Marissa Nicosia, “To Make bisket, a recipe from the Baumfylde manuscript,” Cooking in the Archives, January 31, 2018

[31] Sara Pennell, The Birth of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850 (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 113-33.