Tagged ‘raisins of the sun’

Italian Pudding bakte

October 14th, 2013 by KM Wall

It IS Columbus Day, after all. And although there is Italian bisket to consider, and how or how not, it is different from Naples bisket…..

Coat of Arms the House of Colon (that would be Christopher Columbus)

Coat of Arms the House of Colon (that would be Christopher Columbus, his house)

As I was looking at baked goods, and baked pudding in particular, I found not one, not two, but  THREE Italian puddings.

  1. They are all baked (or bakte – say it as it is spelled….now you’re talking like Shakespeare!)
  2. They all have bread cut into a dice, like a die, the little thing you toss in games of chance.
  3. Two of the three are from the same author – John Murrell – in different cookbooks  BUT they’re not exactly the  same. No cut and paste from John Murrell. I thought there were three from John Murrell, but the New Book of Cookerie and Book 1 of Two Books of Cookerie and Carving are the same book.  Three citations, two recipes.

All three, in chronological order:

To make an Italian Pudding

Take a Penny white Loafe, pare off the crust, and cut it in square pieces like unto great Dyes, mince a pound of Beefe Suite small: take halfe a pound of Razins of the Sunne, stone them and mingle them together with, and season them with Sugar, Rosewater, and Nutmegge, wet these things in foure Egges, and stirre them very tenderly for breaking the Bread: then put it into a Dish, and pricke three or foure pieces of  Marrow, and some sliced Dates: put it into an Oven hot enough for a Chewet: if your Oven be too hot, it will burne: if too colde, it will be heavy: when it is bakte scrape on Sugar, and serve it hot at Dinner, but not at Supper.

1615. John Murrell. A Newe Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press: 1989. p. 22.

This is the one you’ve seen before here  in If your Oven be too hot….(Sept 15, 2013)

And now John Murrell’s second Italian Pudding:

A bakte Pudding after the Italian fashion.

Pare off the crusts from a penny white loafe, cut it in square peeces like dice, put to it halfe a pounds of dubbing suet minct small, halfe a pound of Raisins of the Sunne, the stones taken out, two ounces of Suger, five or sixe sliced Dates, a graine of Muske, five or sixe lumps of Marrow : season these with Cloves, Mace, Nutmeg, and Salt, but a very little Salt is sufficient, beate a couple of Egges, with foure or five spoonefuls of Creame, power it upon your seasoned bread, and stirre very  gentley for breaking, so as the peeces may be wet, but not so wet that you can see any moisture in them: lay a Pomewater in the bottome of the Dish, or some sort of soft Apple pared, and sliced thinne, put your Pudding also upon the Apple, and so set the Dish into an Oven, as hot as for Manchet, or small Pies, when you see it rise yellow take downe your Oven lidde to coole your Oven, it will be bakte in half an houre: if the Oven be too hot, it will be burnt, if it be too cold, it will be too heavy, when it is bakte draw it forth, and scrape on Sugar, and serve it hot to the Table.

- 1638. John Murrell. The Second Book of Cookerie. Fifth Impression. Stuart Press: 1993. p. 25.

Square pieces of bread – check. Dubbing suet?? – I’m coming up cold; Muske – this is taking it up a notch; Cream as well as eggs – makes this richer; taking down tour oven lidde to cool the oven – nice detail! This is how you control the heat in a woodfired oven. The same advice about too cold and too hot, making me think this is a real Goldilocks moment.

Once again, you are asked to stone the raisins. Thank you Sun Maid for drying seedless raisins, so we don’t have to do that anymore!

130px-Sun-Maid_1916The Pomewater is a type of apple – nice of him to mention that any soft apple will do.

A few of the many Apples in Gerard's Herbal

A few of the many apples in Gerard’s Herbal

The third Italian Pudding comes from someone else, a little later…..

To make an Italian Pudding.

Take a manchet, and cut it into square pieces like a Die, then put to it half a pound of beef suet minced small, Raisins of the Sun the stones picked out, Cloves, Mace, minced, Dates, Sugar, Marrow, Rose-water, Eggs, and Cream, mingle all these together, and put them into a dish fir for your stuffe, in less then an hour it will be baked, then scrape on Sugar, and serve it.

- 1653. W.I. A True Gentlewomans Delight. Falconwood Press: 1991. p. 45.




Lettuse stand half amazed…

August 14th, 2013 by KM Wall

…at these poor peoples humble condition….to paraphrase Governor William Bradford as he contemplates the condition of the colony in early 1621.  ‘Lettuse’ is part of the  paraphrase, which brings us to


Lettuce seeds - the first step of the plant - and the last step of the plant...all the tasy goodness is between these two points.

Lettuce seeds – the first step of the plant – and the last step of the plant…all the tasty goodness is between these two points.


To make a Lettuse Pye.

Take the best leaved Lettuse you can gett, perboyle and quarter them, then tak the yelkes of 3 hard egges mince them smale, and Reasons of the sunne, Currans Nutmege, sinamonde, suger and a little pepper, season your Lettuse with this and put them in the pye with a good peece of sweete butter, when the pye is baked make a sirrope of clarrette wine, suger, and vinegar with the yealke of an ege, beate it all together and put it into the pye and so sarve him to the boarde.

- The Complete Reciept Book of Elinor Fettiplace. Vol. 3, p. 6. Stuart Peachy

If you ignore the bread and cheese bookends, this sort of loose leaf mix could be right at home in a 17th  century lettuce salad

If you ignore the bread and cheese bookends, this sort of loose leaf mix could be right at home in a 17th century lettuce salad. It was harder then you would think to find an image of lettuce that wasn’t iceberg.

Continuation of the wedding feast of William and Alice Bradford….

If you’ve got deer, you’ve got to get humble……the humbles, or umbels or the numbels are the inward bits.

And a great name for a Rock Band.



To bake the Humbles of a Deere.

Mince them verie small, and season them with pepper, Cinamon and Ginger, and suger if you will, and Cloues and mace, and dates and currants, and if you will, mince Almondes and put vnto them, and when it is baked, you must put in fine fat, and put in suger, cinamon and Ginger, and let it boile, and when it is minced, put them together.

1596. Thomas Dawson. The good Huswifes Iewell.  p. 20.

“what will this sister of mine do with rice?”

May 30th, 2013 by KM Wall

A shopping list in the midst of a Shakespeare play….if you’re talking about Shakespeare, you’re much more likely to use forms like ‘midst’ when middle could do as well. And although the play is called The Winter’s Tale, sheep shearing happens in June – or late May, when the weather is warm, so it’s a timely list.

A Winter’s Tale
Act IV, scene III
Clown: I cannot do’t without counters. Let me see; what am
I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound
of sugar, five pound of currants, rice,–what will
this sister of mine do with rice? But my father
hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it
on. She hath made me four and twenty nose-gays for
the shearers, three-man-song-men all, and very good
ones; but they are most of them means and bases; but
one puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to
horn-pipes. I must have saffron to colour the warden
pies; mace; dates?–none, that’s out of my note;
nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I
may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many of
raisins o’ the sun.

Lets see…..

Sugar loaves from the Sugar Museum in Berlin

Sugar loaves from the Sugar Museum in Berlin

Sugar, Currents, Rice, Mace,Nutmegs, a race or two of ginger

A race of ginger

A race of ginger

If there’s some cream around, I’d ask Sister for Rice Pudding!


Thomas Tusser

A hundreth good  pointes of husbandrie (1557)


 In June washe thy shepe, where the water  doth runne:

and kepe them from dust, but not kepe them from sunne.

Then share them and spare not, at two daies anende:
the sooner the better, their bodies amende.
Breviarium Griman Flanders  -1510

Breviarium Griman Flanders -1510

Potato of Canada

January 11th, 2013 by KM Wall

The Story of the English Underground, Colonial Edition.cont


Jerusalem artichoke

from the OED:
2. Jerusalem Artichoke: a species of Sunflower (Helianthus tuberosus), a native of tropical America, cultivated in Europe, having edible tuberous roots, somewhat resembling the Artichoke proper in flavour.
‘The name of Jerusalem Artichoke is considered to be a corruption of the Italian Girasóle Articiocco or Sunflower Artichoke, under which name it is said to have been distributed from the Farnese garden at Rome, soon after its introduction to Europe in 1617.’ W. B. Booth in Treas. Bot.
1620 VENNER Via Recta vii. 134 Artichocks of Ierusalem, is a roote vsually eaten with butter, vinegar, and pepper.

1641 R. BROOKE Nat. Eng. Episc. I. iv. 16 Error being like the Jerusalem-Artichoake; plant it where you will, it overrunnes the ground and choakes the Heart.

also in New England:
Champlain at Nauset, 1605
“…and roots which they [Natives] cultivate, the later having the taste of an artichoke.” in Sailor’s Narratives, p. 87.

Jerusalem artichoke before they reach 7' tall and sprout yellow flowers

Gookin, 1674
“Also they [natives] mix with the _____ pottage several sorts of roots; as Jerusalem artichokes, and ground nuts and other roots…”

“We in England, from some ignorant and idle head, haue called them Artichokes of Jerusalem, only because the roote, being boyled, is in taste like the bottome of an Artichoke head: but they may most fitly be called, Potaoes of Canada, because their rootes are in some forme, colour and taste, like unto the Potatos of Virginia, but greater, and the French brought them first from Canada into these parts)…


“…but after they [the stalks] be withered, and so all the winter long vntill the Spring againe, they are good, and fit to bee taken vp and vsed, which are a number of tuberous round rootes, growing close together; so that it hath been obserued, that from one roote, being set in the Spring, there hath been forty or more taken up againe, and to haue ouer-filled a pecke measure, and are of a pleasant good taste as many haue tryed.”

-Parkinson, p. 518.


Jerusalem artichokes - the root part you eat (and why Parkinson calls them Potatoes of Canada)

The naming confusion continues – now (as in this morning) you can find them called :

  • sunchokes
  • sunroots
  • topinambour
  • earth apples

“The rootes are dressed diverse waies;

some boil them in water, and after stew them with sacke and butter, adding a little Ginger:

others bake them in pies, putting Marrow, Dates, Ginger, Raisons of the Sun, &c.

Others some other way, as they are led by their skill in Cookerie.

But in my judgement, which way soever they be drest and eaten they stir and cause a filthie loathesome stinking winde within the bodie, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented…

1633. John Gerard The Herbal p. 754




July 11th, 2012 by KM Wall

Joris Hoefnagel, Wedding Fete at Bermondsey c. 1569


This day, my Julia, thou must make
For Mistress Bride the wedding-cake:
Knead but the dough, and it will be
To paste of almonds turn’d by thee;
Or kiss it thou but once or twice,
And for the bride-cake there’ll be spice.

Robert Herrick

The 1627 Village will be the site of a wedding on Saturday July 14th. It’s a 1627 wedding, or more properly, a bride-ale. And what’s a bride-ale without cake?

Bride-cake is simply the cake served at a wedding feast. There is no particular kind of cake that is served at weddings ONLY. The same sorts of cakes that are served at weddings are also served at christenings, wakes, and Christmas.   Most cakes, that is grand cakes (which are different from little cakes or what we now call cookies) are made from fine wheat flour, yeast, sugar, butter, eggs or cream or both, maybe some ground almonds, spices (which might include saffron, as well as the more usual cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, mace) and most often dried fruit – currants, raisins, even dates. Flavorings could include rosewater, musk, ambergris and Sack.

In the cookbooks these cakes are often called Spice Cakes. Spice cakes are also the basis for Oxfordshire Cakes and Banbury Cakes. Banbury is a town in Oxfordshire.

“A mock ‘country bride-ale’ held in 1575 at Kenilworth Castle for the amusement of Elizabeth I included a procession of maidens carrying “three speciall spicecakes of a bushel of wheat”

In 1655, spice cakes were still being used at bride-ales. This is also the first cake recipe that is specifically baked for a wedding:

The Countess of Rutlands Receipt of making the rare Banbury Cake, which was so much praised at her Daughters (the Right Honourable the Lady Chadworths) Wedding.

- 1656. W.M. The Compleat Cook. London;  pp. 109-11.

These are all different from modern (20th and 21st century) Banbury Cakes, which are masses of spiced and sugared raisins and currants in puff pastry. These Elizabethan cakes cakes made  with masses of raisins and currants and spice in a plain piece of their own base dough. This gives the finished cake a smooth appearance, as if it were plain bread or perhaps a pie. The cakes in the Hoefnagel painting “A Wedding Feast at Bermondsey” are also very large, the size as if they had  been made with a peck of flour, and could very well be Banbury Cakes.

But sometimes the bride-cakes were smaller, and stacked on each other.

John Aubrey (1629-1697), who was born in Wiltshire and educated at Oxford, recalls,

“ When I was a little boy (back before the Civill warres) I have seen (according to the custom then) the Bride and Bride-groome kiss over the Bride-cakes at the table: it was about the latter-end of dinner: and the cakes were layd upon one another, like the picture of the Sew-bread in the old Bibles: The Bride-groome wayted [on the guest] all dinner time”

The Sew-bread is mentioned in Exodus. In the Geneva edition of the Bible, the favorite edition of the Plymouth settlers, there is an illustration of the sew-bread, and there are six flattish loaves stacked up on each of two plates.

For  our 1627 bride-ale on Saturday I made the smaller, sew-breadish version of cakes – they’ll be stacked on each other at the table on Saturday (did I mention the festivities are on SATURDAY?)

Here’s the period recipe that they’re based on:

To make a very good great Oxfordshire Cake.

Take a peck of flour by weight, and dry it a little, and a pound and a half of sugar, and ounce of Cinamon, half an ounce of Nutmegs, a quarter of an ounce of Mace & Cloves, a good spoonful of Salt, beat your Salt and Spice very fine, and searce it and mix it with your flour and sugar; then take three pound of butter and work it in the flour, it will take three hours working ; then take a quart of Ale-yeast, two quarts of Cream, half a pint of Sack, six grains of Amebergreece dissolved into it, half a pint of Rosewater, sixteen Eggs, eight of the whites, mix these with the flowr, and knead them well together, then let it lie warm by your fire till your Oven be hot, which must be a little hotter then for manchet, when you make it ready for your oven, put to your Cake six pound of currans, two pound of Raisins of the Sun stoned and minced, so make up your cake, and set it in your Oven stopt close; it will take three hours baking ; when baked, take it out and frost it over with the white of an Egg, and Rosewater well beat together, and strew fine sugar upon it, and then set it again into the oven, that it may ice.

-         1656. W.M. The Compleat Cook. London. pp. 13-4.


To compound an excellent sallat

April 17th, 2012 by KM Wall

To compound an excellent sallat, and which indeed is usual at great feasts, and upon princes’ tables: take good quantity of blanched almonds, and with your shredding knife cut them grossly; then take as many raisins of the sun, clean washed and the stones picked out, as many figs shred like the almonds, as many capers, twice so many olives, and as many currants as all the rest, clean washed, a good handful of the small tender leaves of red sage and spinach; mix all these well together with good store of sugar, and lay them in the bottom of a great dish; then put unto them vinegar and oil, and scrape more sugar over all; then take oranges and lemons, paring away the outward peels, cut them into thin slices, then with those slices cover the sallet all over; then over those red leaves lay another course of old olives, and the slices of well pickled cucumbers. Together with the very inward heart of your cabbage lettuce cut into slices; then adorn the sides of the dish with more slices of lemons and oranges, and so serve it up.

Gervase Markham. Country Contentments or the English Huswife. 1615.


raisins,currents,olives,old olives,shredded almonds dried cranberries,hard boiled eggs


pea tendrils

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