Historical rabbit holes, for those who are inclined.
These slender booklets from Historical Management Associates are the work of an organization dedicated to historical re-enactment in the UK. They are written with a stickler’s attention to historical precision and a conviction that nothing is too arcane to investigate. Some of the books are simple transcriptions of period manuscripts; others represent significant original research, as in Cattle Farming and Grazing Management, which is 52 pages long but cites 36 sources, many of them published in the 17th century.
The Food and Cookery in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England series presents a systematic survey of existing records of ingredients and equipment employed in the period. In addition to concise explanations of how such items might have been used and how they might have been significantly different from what is implied by current terminology, they include citations from various period and later records to demonstrate the geographic and class distribution of everything from kitchen implements to social gatherings.
From the introduction: "Boiled meats are the most common group of recipes in cookery books and the equipment required to boil meats is virtually ubiquitous. Boiled meats form some very disparate groups of recipes. Many involve boiling a joint of whole animal, draining and serving it as a piece to be carved...These are true boiled or sod meat and can be eaten from a flat wooden trencher unlike the more liquid potage which required a bowl."
Staplebound pamphlet. 64 pages. Sketches and black-and-white photographs.