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 hops to decorative tankards.
From the text: “The nature of a piece of meat depends on a range of factors, both nature and nurture. These are both factors pertaining to the animal’s life and its processing after death. The nature or genetics of the animal are its species and its breed as well as more minor variations relating to the individual. Nurture includes what and how much it was fed, how much exercise it had and its age at death.” Topics covered include axes and chopping boards, offal, and preservation
Staplebound pamphlet. 64 pages. Sketches and black-and-white photographs.