The holidays are all about food. Here are some sample recipes from The Accomplish'd Ladies Delight in Preserving, Physick, Beautifying, and Cookery
. This edition was published in 1683. It is great fun, and New Year feasting is the perfect excuse to take it off the shelf.
The spelling in the recipes below has been modernized, but the often confusing directions, lack of cohesive measurements, and run-on sentences have been retained. Don't look for a salad course, and vegetarians beware! Author Hannah Wolley is not concerned with your dietary needs. This is no Moosewood or Diet for a Small Planet; this is a cookbook that roasts the whole pig and revels in the drippings.
To Bake a Goose
Break the bones of your goose, and parboil him, then season him with pepper and salt, and a little cloves and mace, if you please, you may bake a rabbit or two with it, because your stubble geese are very fat, and your rabbits dry, you need not lard either, bake it in good hot butter paste.
To Stew a Pheasant French Fashion
Roast your pheasant, till he be half roasted, then boil it in mutton broth, and put into the broth whole pepper, whole mace, and sliced onions and vinegar, and make it sharp, and put in prunes and currants, and color your broth with bruised prunes.
Hedge Hog Pudding
Put some raisins of the sun into a deep wooden dish, and then take some grated bread, and one pint of sweet cream, three yolks of eggs, with two of the whites, and some beef suet; grated nutmeg and salt, then sweeten it with sugar and temper all well together and so lay it into the dish upon the raisins, then tie a cloth about the dish, and boil it in beef broth, and when you take it up lay it in a pewter dish, with the raisins uppermost, and then stick blanched almonds very thick into the pudding, then melt some butter, and pour it upon the pudding, and strew some sugar about the dish, and serve it.
Those who got enough to eat in 17th-century Europe had money. A thick waistline meant a thick wallet. Did anyone diet back then? If, after this holiday season, you are still on the slender side, The Accomplish'd Ladies Delight has a recipe "to make the body fat and comely..."
Happy New Year!