Table Linens and Trenchers
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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: “This volume is the first of 6 volumes covering primarily dining as opposed to kitchen equipment. These volumes cover the equipment used to serve food and drink, the trenches and drinking vessels from which the food and drink were consumed, the knives and spoons used in eating and serving used in eating and serving and the table linens and other ancillary equipment of the dining room such as salt and condiment holders and wine coolers.”
Staplebound pamphlet. 56 pages. Sketches and black-and-white photographs.