Monday, August 8, 2022

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes (Peniarth MS 513D) - Pease Pottage

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes
Peniarth MS 513D


This is a volume of cooking and medicinal recipes which were collected by Merryell Williams of the Ystumcolwyn Estate, Montgomeryshire, towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The manuscript is in English. Within its covers we are given a glimpse of the types of meals created in the kitchens of mid Wales' nobility during this period.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the National Library of Wales website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, letters like thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2022 by Daniel Myers, MedievalCookery.com


[7] Pease Pottage.  Take green pease being shelled & cleaned, put them in a Pickin [pipkin] of fair boyling watter. When they are boyled and tender, strain some of them to thicken the rest. Put to them a bundle of sweet herbs chops [chopped?],  sault and butter being through boyled. Dish them & Serve them in a Deep Dish with Sault and Sippets about them.


There are numerous recipes for pea soup in early European cookbooks, but there are two aspects of this one that are unusual. The first is the instruction to strain some of the peas to thicken the soup, and the other is the lack of additional ingredients such as onions or bacon.  These differences significantly reduce the number of related recipes in other sources.

While these two recipes from Arundel 334 do add bread and call for beef broth instead of water, they are still very similar to Williams':
Grene pesen (pease) to potage. Take yonge grene pesen, and sethe hom with gode broth of beef, and take parsell, sage, saveray, and ysope, and a lytel brede, and bray all this in a morter, and sume of the pesen therwyth, and tempur hit wyth the broth, and do hit in a pot to the other pesen, and let hit boyle togedur, and serve hit forth. [Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334] (England, 1425), as reproduced in  R. Warner's "Antiquitates culinariae" (1791)]
Grene pesen. Take grene pesen, and fethe hom with brothe of flesshe ; and take parfel, hyfope, and faveray, brayed with a lytel bred, and bray half the pesen withal, and streyne up al togeder, and al into the fame pot, do the remnant of the fame pesen, and let hom fethe; and serve hom forthe. [Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334] (England, 1425), as reproduced in  R. Warner's "Antiquitates culinariae" (1791)]


Here's another, slightly later version that also includes bread, but doesn't call for broth:

To mak yonge pessene tak pessen and par boille hem in water then gadar hem up and set the tone half upon the fyere with good brothe of beef and bray the remniant in a mortair withe parsley ysope and bred and draw it throughe a strener into a pot with the other pessen and boile it and salt it and serue it. [A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)]


And another even later that mentions serving the soup over sops:

For White pease pottage.. Take a quart of white Pease or more & seeth them in faire water close, vntill they doe cast their huskes, the which cast away, as long as any wil come vp to the topp, and when they be gon, then put into the peaze two dishes of butter, and a little vergious, with pepper and salt, and a little fine powder of March, and so let it stand till you will occupy it, and the[n] serue it vpon sops. You may sée the Porpose and Seale in your Pease, seruing it forth two péeces in a dish. [The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (England, 1597)]


Searching through the more recent sources yields this match:

To make green Peas Soop. Take half a bushel of the youngest Peas, divide the great from the small; boil the smallest in two quarts of Water, and the biggest in one quart: when they are well boiled, bruise the biggest, and when the thin is drained from it, boil the thick in as much cold Water as will cover at; then rub away the Skins, and take a little Spinage, Mint, Sorrel, Lettuce and Parsley, and a good quantity of Marigolds; wash, shred and boil these in half a pound of Butter, and drain the small Peas; save the Water, and mingle all together, and a spoonful of Pepper whole; then melt a quarter of a pound of Butter, and shake a little Flour into it, and let it boil; put the Liquor to the Butter, and mingle all well together, and let them boil up: so serve it with dry’d Bread. [The Compleat Housewife (England, 1729)]


I'm starting to build a mental framework for early Welsh cookery and how it differs from that of England. The recipes so far seem to focus less on what could be considered "fancy" ingredients and tend to be more ... rustic?  We'll see if that holds up as we progress through the book.


[Bibliography




 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes (Peniarth MS 513D) - Bibliography

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes
Peniarth MS 513D


This is a volume of cooking and medicinal recipes which were collected by Merryell Williams of the Ystumcolwyn Estate, Montgomeryshire, towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The manuscript is in English. Within its covers we are given a glimpse of the types of meals created in the kitchens of mid Wales' nobility during this period.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the National Library of Wales website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, letters like thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2022 by Daniel Myers, MedievalCookery.com


[note that this page is still being updated]


Bibliography

Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334], England, 1425
        as reproduced in  R. Warner's "Antiquitates culinariae" (1791)

The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, F. Farmer, Boston, 1924



Liber cure cocorum [Sloane MS 1986], England, 1430

A NEVV BOOKE of Cookerie, J. Murrell, England, 1615

A Noble Boke off Cookry [Holkham MSS 674], England, 1468


Thomas Awkbarow's Recipes [MS Harley 5401], England, 15th c.
        (based on a concordance)


Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes (Peniarth MS 513D) - Onion Pottage

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes
Peniarth MS 513D


This is a volume of cooking and medicinal recipes which were collected by Merryell Williams of the Ystumcolwyn Estate, Montgomeryshire, towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The manuscript is in English. Within its covers we are given a glimpse of the types of meals created in the kitchens of mid Wales' nobility during this period.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the National Library of Wales website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, letters like thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2022 by Daniel Myers, MedievalCookery.com


[6] Onion Pottage.  Take a good store of sliced onions & fry them, then have ready a Pickin [pipkin] of Boyling Liquor over the fire. When the Liquor boyles put in the fryed Onions, butter & all, with peper and sault being to-all strewed together. Serve it on sops of french bread. [added later: or pine mollett]


This short recipe would be indistinguishable from the dozens of other recipes for cooked onions if it weren't for the instruction to fry the onions before boiling them. No doubt this is to give the onions (and the subsequent soup) some color.  ... Now that I think about it, this could be a precursor recipe for French Onion Soup.

There is a single, very similar English recipe in The Good Housewife's Jewell that is a close match for Williams':

A sop of Onions. Take and slice your Onions, & put them in a frying panne with a dish or two of sweete butter, and frie them together, then take a litle faire water and put into it salt and peper, and so frie them together a little more, then boile them in a lyttle Earthen pot, putting to it a lyttle water and sweet butter, &c. You may vse Spinnage in like maner.  [The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (England, 1597)]

In spite of the small number of examples, this recipe dies seem to have survived the tests of time, as the following recipe from the 1920s shows:

Onion Soup. Wipe, peel, and slice five small onions; put in a frying pan and cook in enough butter to prevent burning (stirring constantly) until soft. To six cups stock, add onions and salt to taste. Cut stale bread in one-third-inch slices and remove crusts. Toast on both sides. Place in tureen, sprinkle with three tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, and pour soup over bread just before sending to table. [The Boston School Cook Book, (Boston, 1924)]

As for the little note at the end of the recipe, I haven't the slightest idea what "Pine Mollet" is.
 
... I think I might make this soup later this week ...


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes (Peniarth MS 513D) - Pottage Loraine

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes
Peniarth MS 513D


This is a volume of cooking and medicinal recipes which were collected by Merryell Williams of the Ystumcolwyn Estate, Montgomeryshire, towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The manuscript is in English. Within its covers we are given a glimpse of the types of meals created in the kitchens of mid Wales' nobility during this period.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the National Library of Wales website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, letters like thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2022 by Daniel Myers, MedievalCookery.com


[5] Pottage Loraine.  Make a good stock of broath of Veale, & Mutton, & Beeff, boyle it well, season it with peper, salt, cloves, mace, some Orange [orage?] & sweet herbs. The gravie must be made thus, then take Cappons, or Pheasants, or Partridges & roast them. Open the skine of the breast, & take out the Brawny part. Mince it very small, & hash it in some of the broath. Season it & squeez in the Juice of a Lemon. Then Mince a sweet breed & passe some spinnage & sorrell in brown Butter with a slice of Bacon Gravie.  Stove [toast?] sume sliced bread in a Dish with the broath, put in thy fowle, fill the Dish with the Gravie & herbs, put in the hash into the breast of the fowles, & Cast head it with Almonds beaten. Garnish the Dish with Sliced Lemon & scalded spinnage.


Much to my surprise, there's a modern recipe called "Pottage Lorraine".  It's a stew of carrots, onion, and beans cooked in veal broth, with cream ... so really the veal broth is all they have in common.

There's also a "Lorraine Soup" recipe which calls for broth, minced chicken, almonds, and lemon juice, which are also in the Williams' recipe.


Monday, August 1, 2022

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes (Peniarth MS 513D) - Rice Pottage

Merryell Williams' Book of Recipes
Peniarth MS 513D


This is a volume of cooking and medicinal recipes which were collected by Merryell Williams of the Ystumcolwyn Estate, Montgomeryshire, towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The manuscript is in English. Within its covers we are given a glimpse of the types of meals created in the kitchens of mid Wales' nobility during this period.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the National Library of Wales website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, letters like thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2022 by Daniel Myers, MedievalCookery.com


[4] Rice Pottage.  Take a chop of a Neck of Mutton & putt it in the pott with some watter and a quarter of a Pint of Rice well pickt & washed, & when you find the Rice is tender put in a bundle of sweet herbs & a blade of Mace, a Nutmeg grated, 12 Chesnutts, & as many wallnuts pickt clean, boyle all these till they be tender. The broath must not be to thick. The wallnotts & Chesnutts must some be shred very small, & some grosser, when the pottage is well boyled take out the herbs & spice, & put it in a Ladle full of gravie. Season it with sault. Thou may put in the Brain & wings of Pateridges or Capon or Pulletts.


This recipe seems a bit odd compared to older versions of rice pottage, as those are usually much simpler with fewer ingredients (e.g. rice boiled in broth, thickened with almond milk, and colored with saffron) .  That said, it does have a lot in common with the following 17th century recipe:

 

To boyle Pidgeons with Rice, on the French fashion. Set them to boyle, and put into their bellyes sweet Hearbes, viz. Parsley, tops of young Time: and then put them into a Pipkin, with as much Mutton broth as will couer them, a piece of whole Mace, a little whole Pepper: boyle all these together vntill your Pidgeons be tender. Then take them off the fire, and scum off the fat cleane from the broth, with a spoone, for otherwise it wil make it to taste rancke. Put in a piece of sweet Butter: season it with Uergis, Nutmegge, and a little Sugar: thicken it with Ryce boyled in sweet Creame. Garnish your Dish with preserued Barberyes, and Skirret rootes, being boyld with Uergis and Butter.  [A NEVV BOOKE of Cookerie (England, 1615)]


Both include mutton or mutton broth, "whole" mace, nutmeg, "sweet herbs",  and some kind of game bird.  The "sweet herbs" and whole/blade mace strongly suggests to me the recipes are connected -- though obviously not closely.


[Bibliography