May. Robert May, that is. Robert May The Accomplist Cook author. And what do I mean by Baggage? Why, the things you use to put bag puddings in!
But first, a word, or two – actually a little poem – in praise of Robert May
Whats wouldst thou view but in one face
all hospitalitie, the race
of those that for the GUSTO stand,
whose table, a whole Ark command
of Nature plentie, wouldst they see
this sight peruse MAYS booke, ’tis hee.
This is the little ditty in the frontispiece underneath his portrait. Let us all stand for GUSTO!
Back to baggage.
In The Accomplist Cook, which was first published in 1660 , and continued to be revised and printed even after Mr May’s death, there are chapters devoted to different kinds of foods. This is a HUGE and pleasant change from the way many earlier cookbooks were set-up, where there was a continuation, rather in the way they might come to the table. That is there would be several boiled meats (which might include chicken) and then fricassees (which may or may not include chicken) and then baked meats (which are pies) and again there might be chicken there, and then some sweets and then maybe some roasted things that got forgotten with the other roasted things, and then sauces for the roasted things…..and there are no real category headings.
Mr May has sections, such as
The most Excellent Ways of making all Sorts of Puddings.
In this section (because there are other puddings in different places, but only a few). In looking only at the boiled puddings (not the baked ones, or the ones baked in a pie or the fried ones), puddings are boiled in the following things:
1) Guts. Formes. Skins (we’ll come back to these, but remember, the oldest forms of puddings are guts)
2) Bag, Napkin, Cloth
- Bag :5
- Bag or napkin: 2
- Napkin: 11
- Napkin or cloth: 1
- Cloth: 6
- Napkin or paunch: 1
- Total: 26 specific mentions.
- Flemish, early 17th century
- 102 x 70.5 cm (40 3/16 x 27 3/4 in.)
- Medium or Technique
- Linen damask
This is a table napkin – this is more suitable, although to use something so lovely for a pudding would be a pity – there were plainer napkins. Notice the size - 40 inches by 28 inches – and it’s made of linen. If a pudding had been made in this napkin, there would be a greasy circle in the middle, reminiscent of the image in the Shroud of Turin.
To make a Quaking Pudding either boild or baked.
Take a penny white loaf , pare off the crust, and slice the crumb, steep in a quart of good thick cream warmed, some beaten nutmeg, six eggs, whereof but two whites, and some salt. Sometimes you may use boild currans, or boild raisins.
If to bake, make it a little stiffer, sometimes add saffron; on flesh days use beef-suet, or marrow; (or neither). for a boild pudding butter the napkin being first weted in water, and binde it up like a ball, an hour will boil it.
1671. Robert May. The Accomplist Cook. Third edition. p. 180.