Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine eBook

William Carew Hazlitt
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine.

“The art of cookery, &c., is indeed diversified according to the diversity of nations or countries; and to treat of it in that latitude would fill an unportable volume; and rather confound than improve those that would accomplish themselves with it.  I shall therefore confine what I have to communicate within the limits of practicalness and usefulness, and so within the compass of a manual, that shall neither burthen the hands to hold, the eyes in reading, nor the mind in conceiving.

“What you will find in the following sheets, are directions generally for dressing after the best, most natural, and wholesome manner, such provisions as are the product of our own country, and in such a manner as is most agreeable to English palates:  saving that I have so far temporized, as, since we have to our disgrace so fondly admired the French tongue, French modes, and also French messes, to present you now and then with such receipts of French cookery, as I think may not be disagreeable to English palates.

“There are indeed already in the world various books that treat on this subject, and which bear great names, as cooks to kings, princes, and noblemen, and from which one might justly expect something more than many, if not most of these I have read, perform, but found my self deceived in my expectations; for many of them to us are impracticable, others whimsical, others unpalatable, unless to depraved palates; some unwholesome, many things copied from old authors, and recommended without (as I am persuaded) the copiers ever having had any experience of the palatableness, or had any regard to the wholesomness of them; which two things ought to be the standing rules, that no pretenders to cookery ought to deviate from.  And I cannot but believe, that those celebrated performers, notwithstanding all their professions of having ingenuously communicated their art, industriously concealed their best receipts from the publick.

“But what I here present the world with is the product of my own experience, and that for the space of thirty years and upwards; during which time I have been constantly employed in fashionable and noble families, in which the provisions ordered according to the following directions, have had the general approbation of such as have been at many noble entertainments.

“These receipts are all suitable to English constitutions and English palates, wholesome, toothsome, all practicable and easy to be performed.  Here are those proper for a frugal, and also for a sumptuous table, and if rightly observed, will prevent the spoiling of many a good dish of meat, the waste of many good materials, the vexation that frequently attends such mismanagements, and the curses not unfrequently bestowed on cooks with the usual reflection, that whereas God sends good meat, the devil sends cooks.

“As to those parts that treat of confectionary, pickles, cordials, English wines, &c., what I have said in relation to cookery is equally applicable to them also.

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Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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