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.
He gives a total of 70,000 dishes; but it is not entirely clear whether these refer to the 38 dinner parties of importance, or to the 25,000 of inferior note, or to both.  The feeling of dismay at the nineteenth edition of somebody must have been sincere, for he winds up his preface with an adjuration to his readers (whom, in the “Directions for Carving,” he does not style Gentle, or Learned, or Worshipful, but HONOURABLE) not to place his labours on the same shelf with “Paradise Lost.”

Soyer had also perhaps certain misgivings touching too close an approximation to other chefs besides Milton and Shakespeare, for he refers to the “profound ideas” of Locke, to which he was introduced, to his vast discomfort, “in a most superb library in the midst of a splendid baronial hall.”  But the library of the Reform Club probably contained all this heterogeneous learning.  Does the “Gastronomic Regenerator,” out of respect to the fastidious sentiments of its author, occupy a separate apartment in that institution with a separate curator?

It seems only the other day to me, that Soyer took Gore Lodge, and seemed in a fair way to make his removal from the Reform Club a prosperous venture.  But he lost his wife, and was unfortunate in other ways, and the end was very sad indeed.  “Soyez tranquille,” was the epitaph proposed at the time by some unsentimental wagforpoor Madame Soyer; it soon served for them both.

But nearly concurrent with Soyer’s book appeared one of humble pretensions, yet remarkable for its lucidity and precision, Eliza Acton’s “Modern Cookery in all its Branches reduced to an easy practice,” 16mo, 1845.  I have heard this little volume highly commended by competent judges as exactly what it professes to be; and the quantities in the receipts are particularly reliable.

The first essay to bring into favourable notice the produce of Colonial cattle was, so far as I can collect, a volume published in 1872, and called “Receipts for Cooking Australian Meat, with Directions for preparing Sauces suitable for the same.”  This still remains a vexed question; but the consumption of the meat is undoubtedly on the increase, and will continue to be, till the population of Australasia equalises supply and demand.



Besides the authorities for this branch of the inquiry already cited, there are a few others, which it may assist the student to set down herewith:—­

1.  A Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal Household (Edward III. to William and Mary). 4to, 1790.

2.  The book of Nurture.  By Hugh Rhodes, of the King’s Chapel.  Printed in the time of Henry VIII. by John Redman. 4to.

3.  A Breviate touching the Order and Government of the House of a Nobleman. 1605. Archaeologia, xiii.

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