Early Cookbooks and Recipes: Background information when reading The Cookbook Collector

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The Cookbook Collector

A Novel

By Allegra Goodman

The Cookbook Collector
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  • Hardcover: Jul 2010,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Jul 2011,
    432 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Cindy Anderson

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Early Cookbooks and Recipes

In The Cookbook Collector, George purchases a large collection of old and rare cookbooks - all of which exist in real-life.

Cookbooks have a wonderful and interesting history. The earliest surviving recipe collection in English are the 200 or so recipes known as the The Forme of Cury ("The Rules of Cookery") which is believed to have been written on vellum around 1390 by King Richard II's chefs, but was not put into book form until 1790. Below is a sample recipe from that volume, along with my own modern translation:

Caboches in Potage (Cabbage Soup)
Take caboches and quarter hem, and seeth hem in gode broth with oynouns ymynced and the whyte of lekes yslyt and ycorve smal. And do (th)erto safroun & salt, and force it with powdour douce.

Take cabbages and quarter them, and soak them in good broth with minced onions and the whites of leeks that have been cut into small pieces. Add saffron and salt, and enrich with sweet spice.

The recipes ...

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