This extract shows a handwritten note, scribbled on the inside book cover. The note was probably written by the original owner of the book. It describes two methods with which to draw thorns from the skin. The first uses pig's liver, lavender, and bacon grease, and the second uses crushed hawthorn bark and red wine.
The first printed page of the book covers the subject of seasonal meats.
About A Proper New Booke of Cookery
A Proper New Booke of Cookery was published in 1575. The book provides recipes for a range of dishes including broths, roast meats, pies and preserves.
The late sixteenth century was the first time that cookery books began to be regularly published and acquired. It was also the first time that cookery books were directed at a female audience. However, literacy rates among women were very low, so it is likely that these books would only have been purchased by the privileged few. In any case, only the higher echelons of society would have had regular access to valuable key ingredients such as sugar, spices, hothouse-grown fruits or plentiful livestock.
It is also in this period that cookery book writers begin to provide practical instructions of the kind we would recognise in the recipe books of today. The advice provided in A Proper New Booke of Cookery is relatively detailed: quantities are described in spoonfuls, dishes and ladlefuls; cooking times are outlined - in a recipe for a 'tarte of chese', sliced hard cheese should be soaked in sweet milk for three hours; the scum needs to be removed from the surface of a 'stew after the Guyse of Beyonde the Sea'; and 'Applemoyse' may be sprinkled with biscuits of cinnamon and ginger before serving.