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.
- Full title:
- A proper new Booke of Cookery. Declaring what maner of meates be best in season for al times of the yeere, and how they ought to be dressed ... With a new addition, very necessary for all them that delight in cookery.
- 1575, London
- Usage terms
- Public Domain
- Held by
- British Library
- Article by:
- Liza Picard
- Shakespeare’s life and world, Elizabethan England
The wealthiest Elizabethans ate lavish meals of many courses, while many poorer people didn’t even have their own ovens, and some of the poorest survived on leftover scraps from the rich. Liza Picard describes how class, religion and politics all influenced how Elizabethans shopped for food, cooked and ate.