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 introduction to Flatware: DIshes, Plates, Platters, Porrengers, etc.:
“Flatware was vessels used for serving or eating food such as dishes, platters, chargers, plates, porringres and saucers. The term typically distinguishes pewter and other metal flatware from holloware pewter, which was used in items such as jugs and mugs, but in this volume wooden and pottery dishes and plates have been included under flatware.
“Bowls which might have been thought to be a form of Flatware are excluded from this volume. At the period the term appears to apply to group of objects which seem to be mainly mixing bowls and have been included in Volume 10 [Miscellaneous Equipment and Kitchen Consumables]. A second group of bowls appear to be used for drinking and have been included in Volume 17 [Drinking Vessels].”
Staplebound pamphlet. 60 pages. Sketches and black-and-white photographs.