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 aims to provide a brief overview of food distribution and supply in England at the period. It examines the degree to which people were self sufficient or dependent on the market. The commercial supply chain in England starts either at the farm gate or with a merchant importing food or drink to an English port. From that point the foodstuff has to move to the retailers for purchase by the customers sometimes with processing along the way. Food and drink retailers vary from London street sellers to rural butcher’s shops, vintners and mercer to apothecaries. Those retailers where there is an element of hospitality are covered in volume 43 on Eating Out.”
Staplebound pamphlet. 56 pages. Sketches and black-and-white photographs.