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:
“Spices held a significance and importance in the middle ages and renaissance periods that is difficult for us to appreciate. They could be used to embalm kings, assist in the worship of God, turn a dismal meal into a feast, arouse waning lust and cure toothache. Their mysterious origin and peculiar pungency brought them near mythical status and their rarity and expense gave them an allure and a social exclusivity that made them uniquely attractive.”