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.
The first of three volumes focusing on fruit. From the introduction: “Some fruit species, such as apples, have hundreds of varieties recorded at the period. To study them all is beyond the scope of this work…What is key for the consideration of culinary matters is what was he fruit like at the period and therefore these volumes will concentrate on a limited number of fruit varieties where 1.) There are period illustrations of the shape and/or colour. 2.) There are multiple references indicating it was a widespread and important variety…3.) There is reason to believe the fruit might still exist, for example a fruit variety of that name is still in existence.”
Staplebound pamphlet. 60 pages. Sketches and black-and-white photographs.