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Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxxxvij. Chykonys in dropey

When I came across this set of instructions in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin I became excited and knew I had to try it.  When I first read through it, I believed that it contained some of the earliest instructions for using roux as a thickening agent.  I fell into the trap of using what I knew and applying it creating the assumption that I would know what the end result would be. Mia Culpa. 
What is dropey? The the Middle English Dictionary defines "Dropey" as a kind of sauce for fowl.   drope (n.) Also drope, dropeie, (?error) drore.  A sauce or dressing for fowl.  (a1399) Form Cury p.18: Dropee.  Take blanched Almandes, grynde hem and temper hem up with gode broth; take Oynons..and frye hem and do thereto: take smale bryddes, parboyle hem [etc.]. ?c1425 Arun. Cook. Recipes 429: Drore to Potage. Take almonds..brothe of flessh…

THe foure greater hotte seedes, annisséede, fennell séede, comin séede, and carrowaies.

THe foure greater hotte seedes, annisséede, fennell séede, comin séede, and carrowaies.
Translation: The four greater hot seeds, anise seed, fennel seed, cumin seed and caroway.A nievve herball, or historie of plantes wherin is contayned the vvhole discourse and perfect description of all sortes of herbes and plantes: their diuers [and] sundry kindes: their straunge figures, fashions, and shapes: their names, natures, operations, and vertues: and that not onely of those whiche are here growyng in this our countrie of Englande, but of all others also of forrayne realmes, commonly vsed in physicke. First set foorth in the Doutche or Almaigne tongue, by that learned D. Rembert Dodoens, physition to the Emperour: and nowe first translated out of French into English, by Henry Lyte Esquyer.Dodoens, Rembert, 1517-1585., Lyte, Henry, 1529?-1607

At London [i.e. Antwerp: Printed by Henry Loë, sold] by my Gerard Dewes, dwelling in Pawles Churchyarde at the signe of the Swanne, 1578.
Of Anyse. Chap.…

A declaration of certaine qualities of seedes, hearbes, floures, rootes, and waters

Prepositas his practise a vvorke very necessary to be vsed for the better preseruation of the health of man. Wherein are not onely most excellent and approued medicines, receiptes, and ointmentes of great vertue, but also most pretious waters, against many infirmities of the body. The way how to make euery the said seuerall medicines, receiptes, and ointmentes. With a table for the ready finding out of euery the diseases, and the remedies for the same. Translated out of Latin into English by L.M.Prévost, Nicole, 15th cent., Mascall, Leonard, d. 1589,, Myrepsus, Nicolaus, 13th cent.
London: Imprinted by Iohn Wolfe for Edward White, dwelling at the little north doore of Paules, at the signe of the Gunne, 1588.
A declaration of certaine qualities of seedes, hearbes, floures, rootes, and waters.

The foure greater hotte seedes, annisséede, fennell séede, comin séede, and carrowaies.

The foure lesser hotte séedes, ammi, amomum, smallage, yelow carrots.

The foure greater cold séedes, goordes, cuc…

Of Marche Violets - Mell Violatum (Voilet Honey), Oyl of Violets (Violet Oil), Vyolette (Violet Pottage), To Make Syrupe of Violets (Violet Syrup)

"Violets are God's apology for February..." 
-Barbara Johnson 

Family:Violaceae  Names:  Violet, Sweete Violet, Viola nigra, Viola purpure, Virgil Vaccinium, Viola, Marche violet, Viola porporea,Viola mammola,Violetas,Violette de Mars, Blauw veiel, Mertzen violen, Violetten, Violaria, and Ma∣ter violarum. Usage: Culinary, Medical 
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Of Marche Violets. Chap. i. (A Nievve Herball, 1554)

❀ The Kyndes.

THere be two sortes of Violets: the garden and the wilde Violet. The Garden violets are of a fayre darke or shining deepe blewe colour, and a very pleasant and amiable smell. The wilde Violets are without sa∣uour, and of a fainte blewe or pale colour.
❀ The Description.

[ 1] The sweete Garden or Marche violet, creepeth alongst ye ground like the Strawberie plante, fa∣stening it selfe and taking roote in diuers places: his leaues be rounde and blackish like to Iuye…

Homemade Vegetable stock, Vegetable Stock Powder & Homemade Bouillon Cubes

I am not sure about you, but for myself, I worry about my budget when I am cooking and -any- place I can cut corners I do.  I am constantly looking for what I like to call 'found foods'.  Items that make something from what would otherwise be nothing.  Stocks are one of those items.  They add flavor to your dishes and can be quite costly, or salty or may contain items that were not found in period if you choose to purchase them.  In order to shave the cost off my budget, and to ensure that I know what I am serving, I make a lot of my own stocks, powders and bouillon cubes which make use of items I have already purchased, but would otherwise throw away--it's a win-win. 

Outlined below will be the instructions for homemade vegetable stock powder which can travel with you and can be used to add additional flavor to any dish.  It does not require refridgeration so it is a perfect "camp food". You will also find instructions for making vegetable stock, meat stock and …

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxi. Tannye

I have become fascinated by the array of colors that could be found in the food of this particular time period.  Here is one such example that I found in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin, which uses the simplest of ingredients to create a drink whose name is also it's color.

While doing research for this dish I ran across a very interesting book, Renaissance Colour Symbolism - By Roy Osborne.  I confess I have only begun to read it, but I have developed a much greater respect for this recipe because of it.  I did not realize how symbolic colors were in our late period and the early Renaissance.  One of the more interesting things I discovered was the fact that it was believed that God infused all of his creations with symbolism, and nowhere was this more present then in color.

Colors represented virtues.  For example,  the "sev…

Purslane - Recipe: To Pickle Purslain

Family: Portulacaceae
Names: Purslane, Pusley, Pursley, Pigweed, Little Hogweed, Hogweed, Purslain, Garden Purslain, Red Root, Verdolaga, Wild Portulaca, Khorfeh, Duckweed, Purcelaine, Procelayne (Grete Herballe, 1516), PourpierUsage: Culinary, Medical
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De portulace. Porcelayne / Ca. CCC.xl. (Grete Herballe, 1526)
POrtulax is a vertuous herbe. It coldeth in ye thyrde degre and moy∣steth in the secōde / and hath vertu to softē and to kele. It is good meate for coleryke folkes that be dyseased with feuers caused of coler. And also for them that be hole / yf it be eaten rawe it is profytable. The wa¦ter of the decoccyon is good to conserue the heate of the inwarde membres. It coleth the heet of feuers / it prouoketh vryne and vnbyndeth ye bely. It prouffyteth agaynst clyftes of the lyppes and fleyenges of the mou…

Apothecary weights

The signes of the waightes, which the Pothecaries vse now a daies.A graine.is thus written.Gra.A scruple.is thus written.℈.A dramme.is thus written.ʒ.An ounce.is thus written.℥.A pounde.is thus written.lib.A quarter.is thus written.qr.Halfe a quarter.is thus written.s.A handfull.is thus written.m.Aureus.is thus written.aur.Aureus doeth containe a dramme and a halfe.Ana, signifieth altogither, and thus is written, An̄.A pound.doth con∣teine.twelue. ℥. (Ounces) A quarter of a pound.doth con∣teine.thrée ℥. (Ounces)Halfe a quarter.doth con∣teine.℥. s. (Ounces)An ounce.doth con∣teine.eight ʒ. (Drams)A dramme.doth con∣teine.thrée ℈. (Scruples)A scruple.doth con∣teine.two ob. (1 obolus is approximately 10 grains or 0.65 grams) A halfe peny.doth con∣teine.thrée siliques. (1 Siliques =4 grains 3 Siliques = 12 grains or .78 grams)According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, Apothecaries' weight is a "traditional system of  weight in the British Isles used for the measuring and dispensing …