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 short book is designed to help initiate the newcomer into the complexity of dining in the period of 1400-1700. I am trying to describe the ‘manner’ of dining as well as table manners…
“How one dined, then and now, depended very much on one’s pocket and social status. Surviving sources, both written and pictorial tend to concentrate on the upper ranks of society and there are very full accounts of dining at court. There is still enough evidence available to enable us to appreciate the manner and style of dining at this period for those below the ranks of the aristocracy.”
Staplebound pamphlet. 44 pages.