Tagged ‘Markham’

Gala Pie

August 22nd, 2013 by KM Wall

In looking over pies, and seeking out images, I came across an English pie called a Gala Pie. And since tonight is Plimoth Plantation’s Many Hands Gala, it seemed too perfect to be true.

Gala Pie is a true thing, and an English thing, it’s just not a 17th century thing.


Because Gala Pie is a delightful thing.

Gala Pie - how to make - secret hard boiled egg placement - the hint is to mark the pie pan so you know where to cut

Gala Pie – how to make – secret hard boiled egg placement – the hint is to mark the pie pan so you know where to cut so it looks as if there is one egg going all around OR make the tube egg

Gala Pie is essentially a pork pie with hard boiled egg in the middle. Some will separate the yolks from the white, put all the beaten yolks in a tube and cook them and  then put the cooked yolk in a larger tube with the whites and cook them to make a giant tube egg, which you then put in the the center of the pie so that everyone gets the same view of the endless egg….this is exactly the sort of play with your food trick that would delight our 17th century housewives and husbandmen.

The Guardian has a picture by picture story, which is where these picture came from.

The finished Gala Pie

The finished Gala Pie

Gala Pie is really just a dolled up pork pie.

Pork Pie hat

Pork Pie hat

Not that pork pie….more like this220px-Pork_pie

 In the 17th century, there were also pork pies with hard boiled eggs….keep in mind that bacon can mean fresh pork, as well as salted pork.

To bake a gammon of Bacon.

Take your Bacon and boyle it, and stuffe it with Parcely and Sage, and yolks of hard Egges, and when it is boyled, stuffe it and let it boyle againe, season it with Pepper, cloves and mace, whole cloves stick fast in, so then lay it in your paste with salt butter.

1591 .A.W  Book Of Cookrye.


 and for another version that starts out exactly the same, and then ends a little differently……

For to bake a Gammon of Bacon.

Boyle your gammon of Bacon and stuffe it with Parsley and Sage, and yolks of hard Egs, and when it is boyled, stuffe it and let it boyle againe, season it with Pepper, Cloues, and Mace, sticke whole Cloues fast in it: Then lay it so in your paste with salte butter, and so bake it.

1597. The good Huswifes handmaide for the Kitchin

For a slightly different version…..

A gammon of bacon pie.

Take a gammon of bacon and only wash it clean, and then boil it on a soft gentle fire till it be boiled as tender as possible, ever and anon fleeting it clean, that by all means it may be boil white: then take off the sward, and farce it very well with all manner of sweet and pleasant farcing herbs: the strew store of pepper over it, and prick it thick with cloves: then lay it into a coffin made of the same proportion, and lay good store of butter, that as it melts, the pepper may fall upon the bacon: then cover it, and make the proportion of a pig’s head in paste upon it, and then bake it as you bake red deer, or things of the like nature, only the paste would be wheat meal.

Markham, The English Housewife, Best ed. p. 101.

Gastronomica Winter 2011 cover - gold plated pig head, not a pastry one.

Gastronomica Winter 2011 cover – gold plated pig head, not a pastry one.


Pilgrim Pioneer Lady Bakes

July 20th, 2013 by KM Wall

If a picture is worth a thousand words…….photo tribute to bread

Of baking cheat bread

“To bake the best cheat bread, which is also simply of wheat only,



you shall, after your meal is dressed and bolted through a more coarse bolter than was used for your manchets, and put also into a clean tub, trough, or kimmel,

Flour in a kimmel - OK, it's a stainless  bowl in the modern kitchen, but I like saying kimmel

Flour in a kimmel – OK, it’s a stainless bowl in the modern kitchen, but I like saying kimmel


take a sour leaven,

A piece of sour leaven

A piece of sour leaven

that is piece of such leaven saved from a former batch, and well filled with salt, and so laid up to sour,

A piece of sour leaven laid up in salt. It really is as easy as it looks.

A piece of sour leaven laid up in salt. It really is as easy as it looks.

and this sour leaven you shall break into small pieces into warm water, and then strain it;

Piece of leaven broken up

Piece of leaven broken up

Water to mix with the leaven

Water to mix with the leaven

Mixing the leaven and water

Mixing the leaven and water – straining in this case means mixing


which done, make a deep hollow hole, as was before said, in the midst of your flour,

A deep hole in the midst of the flour...this part always feels like making pasta.....

A deep hole in the midst of the flour…this part always feels like making pasta…..

and therein pour your strained liquor; then with your hand mix some part of the flour therewith, till the liquor be as thick as pancake batter,

Mixed as thick as pancake batter. Markham says pancake batter should be thick like cream.

Mixed as thick as pancake batter. Markham says pancake batter should be thick like cream.

Using a whisk instead of my hands. Although I'll be using my hands to knead it....

Using a whisk instead of my hands. Although I’ll be using my hands to knead it….

then cover it all over with meal, and so let all that lie that night;

Covered with flour

Covered with flour

the next morning stir it,

The next morning (it's a different batch....but this is what the top looks like. It's also taller then it was last night.

The next morning (it’s a different batch….but this is what the top looks like. It’s also taller then it was last night.)

and all the rest of the meal well together, and with a little more warm water, barm, and salt to season it with,

Adding salt

Adding salt

Adding meal (flour) and barm (in this case yeast)

Adding meal (flour) and barm (in this case yeast)


bring it to a perfect leaven, stiff and firm; then knead it,

Not so perfect leaven - needs more kneading

Not so perfect leaven – needs more kneading

break it, and tread it,

breaking and treading are other ways to say knead well - this is looking better

breaking and treading are other ways to say knead well – this is looking better

as was before said in the manchets, and so mould it up in reasonable big loaves,

Molded loaf - 2 pounds for cheate bread, according to the Assizes

Molded loaf – 2 pounds for cheate bread, according to the Assizes

and then bake it with and indifferent good heat:

Baked wicked good

Baked wicked good

and thus according to these two examples before showed, you may bake any bread leavened or unleavened whatsoever, whether it be simple corn, as wheat or rye of itself, or compound grain as wheat and rye, or wheat, rye, and barley, or rye and barley, or any other mixed white corn; only, because rye is a little stronger grain than wheat, it shall be good for you to put to your water a little hotter than you did to your wheat.”

- Gervase Markham, The English Housewife, (1617). Best ed. p. 210.

Smoared Hare

June 28th, 2013 by KM Wall

Smoared? As in a toasted marshmallow, Hersey bar and Graham cracker S’mored?

Microwave S'more

Microwave S’more

What do s’mores have to do with the 17th century or strawberries?

Nothing. In the 17th century marshmallow is a plant, and neither Hersey nor Graham have been born; hence no bar, no cracker.

Marshmallow plant

Marshmallow plant

Smoring is a cooking technique, one still alive in the American South, as well in other regions.  Smooring is another way to say smothered. Maya Angelou has a recipe that Oprah calls “suffocated chicken”.  What it really is is a very special cross between a stew and a braise.

And delicious, very very tasty good.

A Mallard smoard, or a Hare, or old Cony.

Take a Mallard when it is cleane dressed, washed and trust, and parboyle it in water till it be skumd and purified; then take it up, and put it into a Pipkin with the neck down-ward, and the tayle upward, standing as it were upright;[note: if the neck is pointing down and the tail pointing up, this is not a standing mallard, but a feeding one.]  then fill the Pipkin halfe full with that water, in which the Mallard parboyled, and fill up the other halfe with White Wine;[that is . parboil the dear thing a little longer, then top it off with white wine and keep cooking] then pill and slice thin a good quantitie of Onyons, [that is. peel and slice those onions, thinly] and put them in with whole fine Hearbs, according to the time of the yeare, as Lettice, Strawberry leaves, Violet leaves, Vines leaves, Spinage, Endive, Succorie, and such like, which have no bitter or hard taste, [leafy green additions ; you're looking for a fresh taste. Notice the strawberry LEAVES]-  and a pretty quantitie of Currants and dates sliced; then cover it close, and set it on a gentle fire, and let it stew, and smoare [to smother, to cook in a closed vessel] till the Hearbs and Onyons be soft, and the Mallard enough; then take out the Mallard, and carve it as it were to goe to the Table; then to the Broath put a good lumpe of Butter, Sugar, Cianmon; and if it be in some, so many Goose-berries as will give it a sharpe taste, but in the Winter as much Wine Vinegar; then heate it on the fire, and stirre all well together; then lay the Mallard in a dish with Sippets, and powre all this broth upon it; then trim the Egges of the dish with Sugar, and so serve it up.  And in this manner you may also smoare the hinder parts of a Hare, or a whole old Conie, being trust up close together.

-         Markham, Best ed.p 78.

European rabbit - the young ones are called coneys (think Coney Island, but say it like honey and money

European rabbit – the young ones are called coneys (think Coney Island, but say it like honey and money.

A hare is more like a jack rabbit then a bunny rabbit

A hare is more like a jack rabbit then a bunny rabbith








A Pipkin is an earthen ware pot, and one of the rabbits in Watership Down.



Pipkin – repro from Plimoth Plantation. You’ll need a slightly larger pipkin to hold a rabbit or a duck.

Another May pie

May 15th, 2013 by KM Wall

Prunes are very sexy. William Shakespeare says so. More then once, so it must be true.


Prunus domestica - ordinary plum, the fruit that, when dried, is a prune.

Prunus domestica – ordinary plum, the fruit that, when dried, is a prune.


“The great Damaske or Damson Plummes are dryed in France in great quantities, and are brought to us here [London] in Hogs-heads, and other great vessels, and are those Prunes that are usually sold at the Grocers, under the name of Damaske Prunes: the blacke Bulleis are also these (being dryed in the same manner) that they call French Prunes, and by their tartnesse are thought to binde, as the other, being sweet, to loosen the body.”

John Parkinson, Paridisum in Sole, 1629, p.573.

”There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.”says Falstaff  in Henry IV, First Part, act 3, sc 3, l 12-3. Is he talking about fruit, the fruit that is (reputed) to be often served in brothels and there associated with ill-repute? Or is stewed another way to say inebriated? Or is the analogy merely to a lumped thing?

Prune - not stewed

Prune – not stewed


A Pruen Tart

Take of the fairest damaske pruens you can get, and put them in a cleane pipkin with faire water, suger, vnbruised cinamon, and a branch or two of Rosemarie; and if you have bread to bake, stew them in the ouen with your bread; if otherwise, stew them on the fire: when they are stewed, then bruise them all to mash in their sirrop, and straine them into a cleane dish; then boyle it ouer againe with suger, sinamon, and rosewater till it bee as thicke as Marmalad; then set it to coole, then make a reasonable tuffe paste with fine flower, water, and a little butter, and rowle it out very thin; then having patterns of paper cut in diuers proportions, as Beasts, Birds, Armes, Knots, Flowers, and such like; lay the patterns on the paste, and so cut them accordingly; then with your fingers pinch vp the edges of the paste, and set the worke in good proportion: then prick it well all ouer for rising, and set it on a cleane sheete of large paper, and so set it into the Oven, and bake it hard: then draw it, and set it by to coole: …..then against the time of services comes, take off the cofection of pruens before rehearsed, and with your knife, or a spoone fill the coffin according to the thickness of the verge: then strow it ouer all with caraway comfets, and pricke long comfets vpright in it, and so taking the paper from the bottome, serve it on a plate in a dish or charger, according to the bignesse of the tarte, and at the seconde course, and this carrieth the colour blacke. .

- 1623.  Gervase Markham. Covntry Contentments or The  English Huswife. p. 108



Pretty pre-prune plums

Pretty pre-prune plums

Pies for the month of May

May 13th, 2013 by KM Wall

If the 1627  Winslows had wanted to celebrate their six years of marriage with six pies, they had some spring-time options, based on what is available in May and in New England.

Pie the first:

An herb tart

Take sorrel, spinach, parsley, and boil them in water till they be very soft as pap; then take them up, press the water clean from them, then take good store of eggs boiled very hard, and, chopping them with the herbs exceedingly small, then put in good store of currants, sugar, cinnamon, and stir all well together; then put them into a deep tart coffin with a good store of sweet butter, and cover it, and bake it like a pippin tart*, and adorn the lid after the baking in that manner also, and so serve it up.

-         Markham, Best ed. p. 109


Pippin Tart design from Robert May

Pippin Tart design from Robert May

Rice puddings

April 24th, 2013 by KM Wall



Spring is a season where things change fast. One minute it’s all about dragons, the next there’s an abundance of milk and eggs to use. Rice was a common commodity to take to sea, but also a special treat when made into puddings.

Pudding funnel (these are white puddings or boudin blanc) from Ivan Day's site

Pudding funnel (these are white puddings or boudin blanc) from Ivan Day’s Historic Food site


Rice puddings

Take half a pound of Rice, and steepe it inn new milke a whole night and in the morning drain it, and let the Milke drop away; then take a quart of the best sweetest and thickest Creame, and put the Rice into it, and boyle it a little; then set it to cool an hower or two, & after put in the Yelkes of half a dozzen Egges, a little Pepper, Cloves, Mace, Currants, Dates, Sugar and Salt; and having mixt them well together, so serve it into the farms[1], and boil them as before shewed, and serve them after a day old.

1631.  Gervase Markham, Best ed. English Housewife. p. 72.

[1] ‘farms’ or forms a/k/a guts or puddings


To make Rice Puddings.

Boyle halfe a pound of Rice with three pintes of Milke, a little beaten Mace, boyle it untill your Rice be drie, but never stirre it, then you must stirre it continually or else it will burne: powre your Rice in a Collinder, or else into a strainer, that the moisture may runne cleane from it: then put to it sixe Egges, and put away the whites of three, halfe a pound of Sugar, a quarter of a pinte of Rose-water, a pound of Currans, a pound of Beefe suet shred small, season it with Nutmeg, Sinamon, and a little Salt, stirre all this together with a spoone thinne, drie the smallest guts of a Hog in a faire cloth being watered and scoured fir for the Puddings, and fill them three quarters full, and tie both ends together, let them boyle softly a quarter of an houre or scarce so much, and let the water boyle before you put them in, and doe as the other Puddings last spoken of.

Note: the previous puddings were Liverie Pudding and the notes are:

…cut the small guts of a Hogge about a foot long, fill them three quarters full of the aforesaid stuffe, tie both ends together and boyle them in a kettle of faire water, with a pewter Dish under them, with the bottome upward, and it will keepe your Puddings from breaking:…(p. 26)

1638. John Murrell. The Second Booke of Cookerie. Stuart Press: 1993.p. 27.


A Ryce Pudding.

Steep it in faire water all night: then boyle it in new Milke, and draine out the Milke, through a Cullinder[1]: mince beefe Suit [2]handsomely, but not too small, and put it into the Rice, and parboyled Currins[3], yolkes of new layd Egges, Nutmeg, sinamon, Sugar, and Barberryes[4]: mingle all together: wash your scoured guttes, and stuffe them with the aforesaid pulp: parboyle them, and let them coole.

1615. John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press. 1989. p. 18.


[1] colander

[2] that’s suet – a beef/sheep fat

[3] currents

[4] a small, red, sour berry much like a cranberry…..

A Good Friday Pudding

March 29th, 2013 by KM Wall


A ‘good Friday’ pudding


‘Also of these grits [oats] are made the Good Friday pudding, which is mixed with eggs, milk, suet[1], pennyroyal[2], and boiled first in linen bag, and then stripped and buttered with sweet butter.’

- Markham, Gervase. Best ed. The English Housewife, p. 203.

[1] suet is the fat from neat or sheep (neat are bovines)

[2] pennyroyal- a/k/a ‘pudding grass’ -  is an herb in English gardens. It also has a purging quality…..it’s a member of the mint family (Mentha pulegium); there are other mints that aren’t purging, just refreshing…..

pennyroyal - it gets this bloomy late May/early June

pennyroyal – it gets this bloomy late May/early June


What’s so ‘Good Friday’ about this pudding? It never really says…it could be the pennyroyal, which could be part of a seasonal purging….this recipe is in the Oats chapter of The English Housewife, and not in with the other recipes in the Cookery section.

Yes, Oats have their own chapter.

Bag Pudding (OED)   [f. BAG n.1 + PUDDING.]

1. A pudding boiled in a bag.
1598 in FLORIO. 1600 HEYWOOD 1 Edw. IV, Wks. 1874 I 47 Thou shalt be welcome to beef and bacon, and perhaps a bag-pudding.

1641 W. CARTWRIGHT Ordinary II. i, A solemn son of Bagpudding and Pottage.

2. fig. ? Clown. Obs. (Cf. jackpudding.)

1608 DAY Hum. out of Br. II. i. (1881) 25 Farewell, sweet heart.God a mercy, bagpudding

Jack pudding is also a song and a dance.

Pudding Bag (OED)

A bag in which a pudding is boiled. Also transf. and fig.

c1597 T. DELONEY Jack of Newberie (1619) iv. sig. G3, The other maide..with the perfume in the pudding-bagge, flapt him about the face. 1626 in NARES (Halliw.), [A piece of Sail-cloth] about half a yard long, of the breadth of a pudding-bag. (first reference to ‘pudding cloth’  – 1853.)


Bag Pudding (redacted)

soaked  oats

½ C milk

3 eggs

4 T butter (If you can find human food grade suet, by all means use that. Chop it fine first.If you can just find the mouldy, nasty bits they set out for bird feeders, use butter as the alternative grease. Grease is good!) )

pennyroyal (or better yet, some  other herbs)*


Boil the oats  until soft. Add the milk, 1/3 of butter. When cool enough add the eggs. If you choose herbs, add a sprig or two of that.

Tie it up in a buttered cloth (the ‘floursack’ towels make great pudding clothes. You’ll want something maybe 15′ all around, hemmed and washable.)  Put the pudding in a pot of boiling water – arrange it so that it doesn’t touch the sides or bottom. Think pasta pot – you want plenty of water boiling all around the pudding. Tuck the ends of the cloth in the water so they don’t burn.

Boil until firm – ½ – 1 hour. Add more water to keep covered if necessary during boiling. Keep the water boiling and move it from time to time to keep it from sticking.

Remove from water, drain. Place on serving plate and take cloth off. Butter the top and serve.

* Pennyroyal notes: Pennyroyal is now considered to contain ” a highly toxic volatile organic compound affecting liver and uterine function. “  Use some other member of the mint family to flavor your pudding! Yes, people used to eat it – they also died young pretty frequently.

Creative Cheate I

February 27th, 2013 by KM Wall

Bramer - sacks to the mill

Before bread there is flour; before flour there is the mill; before the mill there is grain.

Sacks to the Mill!

Markham’s  cheat bread, redacted

1 # leaven in salt

Soooo – how do you get leaven (which is another name for a starter) if you don’t have some left from the last batch because, just maybe, this is your FIRST batch?

Punt. Hence, Creative Cheate.

I’ve tried lots of different things. Essentially you want a mixture of water and flour and yeast that will help your bread rise give it good  sourdough qualities – it’s not just for flavor, but alterations in the pH that improve keeping time, etc.

My latest?  1 bottle of beer (any kind); 1 Tablespoon of yeast or a packet (I buy it by the pound, so I’m not sure how many teaspoons are in the packet, but close enough for this)

2 Q H2O
flour for dough:
2# each corn, rye, wheat
OR 3# corn, 3# wheat

1TBL yeast

Dissolve starter in 3 Q H20 ; Add 3# flour (I like to start with corn – the longer it soaks, the better it is)
Cover and fridge overnight
Next morning
Add salt to taste (1 tsp/# – the starter adds some)
The yeast
The rest of the flour
Form into rough dough
Let sit at least 10 minutes and then knead until as smooth as a babies bottom
Let rise in clean greased bowl (with cover – flour and towel – to keep crust from forming on top)
Knock down and cut into 8 – 2# loaves and 1# new starter
Mould loaves, let rise
Bake 500° convection oven 1/2  hour ; put oven to 350 and keep in for another half hour. It will sound hollow when knocked on bottom. It smells different, too, but I’m not in your kitchen to tell you when.
Cool on racks
Cover with towel or freeze.

And what if you don’t need this much bread? The saga continues……


February 25th, 2013 by KM Wall

My little pie maker - this is not an endorsement - doesn't it look like a muffin tin????

A chewet pie.
Take the brawns and the wings of capons and chickens after they have been roasted, and pull away the skin; then shred them with fine mutton suet very small; then season it with cloves, mace, cinnamon, sugar, and salt;then put to raisins of the sun and currants, and sliced dates, and orange peels, and, being well mixed together, put it into small coffins made for that purpose, and strew on top of them good store of caraway comfits: then cover them, and bake them with a gentle heat, and these chewets you may make also of roasted veal, seasoned as before shown and all parts of the loin is the best.
-Markham,G. The English Housewife, Best ed, p. 103

  1. Roasted chicken or capon – there’s no reason to avoid a store rotisserie bird  – pull off the skin and shred the meat. Or use roasted veal., should you have some of that around.
  2. Mutton suet is pretty hard to find these days, and we’d probably prefer less fat – a little butter would do, but out chicken are also pretty fat…
  3. Season the chicken with spices – it should smell good and taste great, and a little cloves goes a long, long, way
  4. Raisins of the sun, little tiny currents, (the Plymouth County girl in me wants to say ‘Crasin’. Just saying.)Sliced dates or chopped if you got ‘em
  5. Orange peels  – you might want to grate this.
  6. Mix it all together. Smell and taste.
  7. Make pastry for the coffins (it’s not hard, and these are little pies). If you don’t trust your pastry skills, use one of the several little pie makers on the market or the Texas size muffin tins to act as your forms.
  8. Roll, fill.
  9. Add caraway comfits, which are caraway seeds coated with sugar, or just use regular old caraway seeds. I know at least one of you is thinking, “Caraway in German is Kummel, in Yiddish…..” Yes, you are.
  10. Put on the lids, crimp.
  11. Bake – 350°ish  until the pastry is nice and done (the chicken is already cooked, no danger of raw chicken)
  12. Chewet. Chewet, Good.

another sort of little pie maker...also not an endorsement

Pottage without herbs

February 22nd, 2013 by KM Wall







Gerard Dou - Woman eating Porridge - 1637

Pottage without herbs.

Others desire to have pottage without any herbs at all, and then you must only take oatmeal beaten, and good store of onions, and put them in, and boil them together; and thus doing you must take a greater quantity of oatmeal then before.

- Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife. Michael Best, ed. McGill-Queens University Press: Montreal. 1986. pp. 74-6.


Oats and onions? What could be simpler…..rolled oats simply will not do, though. Whole oat groats (whole food store or horse trough. Just joking about the horse chow…..but those are what real oats look like)

Onions in traces - Allerton house, August 2012


assorted sizes of oat groats

whole oat groats with husks

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