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The Book of Biscuits and Cakes: 1580-1660

The Book of Biscuits and Cakes: 1580-1660

Stuart Peachey
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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.

From the introduction:

“This work lists all the recipes for biscuits and cakes which would fall within the modern culinary definition. Cakes are taken to have a flour base normally wheat but sometimes almond flour. Those which are composed for example entirely of sugar and fruit have been omitted. Likewise cheesecakes are not included. Some items which might have been expected such as ginger bread will be found in the book of breads.”

A complete list of sources for this book and others in the Seventeenth Century Food Series is found in Cooking Techniques and Equipment: 1580-1660, Volume 2.

A staplebound pamphlet. 36 pages

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