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 4 volumes on vegetables, this one focuses on grains and pulses. From the introduction for the series: “It is generally appreciated that grains were one of the staples of life providing bread and beer. The importance of the role of vegetables at the period is often less appreciated. Based on the crackpot comments of a few medical theoreticians of the period plus a misunderstanding of the aspirational nature of most surviving recipes some modern historians have claimed that vegetables were unimportant, especially in the diet of the elite.”
Staplebound pamphlet. 52 pages. Sketches and black-and-white photographs.