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    Default Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    So as the title suggests, I greatly enjoy getting to find out about the foods of past eras. Lately, ever since coming across some recipes from the 1570s, I've been getting curious if anyone might have cookbooks they'd suggest checking out from the 1800s or earlier? Any culture or region works. I'm just curious about past dishes in general~
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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    The Forme of Cury is a major one, and it's easily available digitally.

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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    The famous Mrs Beeton cookbook (and general book of household management) was written in the 1860s and you can probably still buy a copy new, but I'm not sure if that's olde fashioned enough for you?

    A quick search also turned up this website, which looks like it might be of interest:

    http://www.godecookery.com/engrec/engrec.html

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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    The famous Mrs Beeton cookbook (and general book of household management) was written in the 1860s and you can probably still buy a copy new, but I'm not sure if that's olde fashioned enough for you?

    A quick search also turned up this website, which looks like it might be of interest:

    http://www.godecookery.com/engrec/engrec.html
    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    The Forme of Cury is a major one, and it's easily available digitally.
    Basically anything pre-1900s works(1900s ones are still neat to flip through, but also much easier to find).
    Thank you for the link and names.
    The history of food and cookbooks is fascinating to me, seeing what people ate at various points in time, and how recipe writing changed over the centuries. Plus it's useful(and fun) when writing up settings for stories or tabletop campaigns(and if I get the energy, it means I could even taste test dishes I'm writing about :3 ).
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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    Apicius is famous, but I doubt you'd want to eat that stuff.

    Pellegrino Artusi is regarded as very good, and he's been translated in English. (End of XIX century)

    There are a few Medieval and Reinassance cooking manuals. E.g. Martino da Como's "Libro de arte coquinaria", which has been translated in English. (XV century).
    Last edited by Vinyadan; 2017-11-14 at 07:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    As a side note... be aware that actually trying to use any of the old baking recipes will cause problems. The flour etc. was different back then and as a result the proportions don't seem to work with modern ingredients. Even when I dig up an old family recipe for biscuits from the 1930s, the wet/dry proportions are really messed up.

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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Togath View Post
    So as the title suggests, I greatly enjoy getting to find out about the foods of past eras. Lately, ever since coming across some recipes from the 1570s, I've been getting curious if anyone might have cookbooks they'd suggest checking out from the 1800s or earlier? Any culture or region works. I'm just curious about past dishes in general~
    Have a look into Marie-Antoine Carême: one of the most celebrated chefs of his era and who published a number of cookbooks. His recipes are a little archaic but can be adapted.

    If you haven't come across Escoffier, you should definitely check him out. His work was published in the early 20th century but his career started much earlier and it gives a picture of 19th century fine dining, heavily influenced by Carême. However, as the basis for much - arguably most - modern cuisine, you probably want to go back further than him to get an idea of historic eating.

    Often (pre-Carêmian) historic food is difficult to reproduce or unpalatable to modern diners. This may be due to unavailable ingredients - various things were eaten then that aren't now, and some ingredients were of lower quality meaning that treatments applied in the past are no longer necessary - changes in taste, or because at certain points spectacle was favoured over edibility. Recipes themselves are often hard to deal with, using frustratingly vague or obsolete measures ("a plate of cream") or making assumptions about the knowledge and abilities of the cook which would be appropriate for contemporaries but hopeless for modern cooks.

    However, updated cookbooks abound with recipes inspired by the food of past eras, where people have applied themselves to making versions which are replicable and tasty. There have been a few forays into the dining habits of Samuel Pepys, for instance, as he talks about food a lot. I have a copy of a book called Pepys at Table which has some recipes suitable for the period.
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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?



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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    It's not a cookbook, but if you are interested in old recipes, you should check out 18th Century Cooking with Jas Townsend on YouTube. He has everything from survival foods to country breakfasts to classy desserts. It's really neat =)
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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    Sorry for my slowness in replying. Thank you guys for the links and suggestions. And I do realize some old enough recipes might seem odd/need adjustments, but it's for an interest in history that I am researching this kind of stuff.

    Plus if a recipe calls for weird measures/obscure ingredients, then that's just another thing for me to research and track down. :3
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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    One thing I notice reading old cook books is how an ingredient that's expensive nowadays could be real cheap back in the day. My dad has one where a lobster recipe begins with "Put forth two dozen lobsters".
    .................

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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    Ah, yes. Lobster. The cockroach of the sea.

    There's an old law from Basel, which specifically forbade burghers from feeding their servants salmon more than twice a week, because they got so sick of it. (Salmon later went extinct in the Rhine).
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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    http://coquinaria.nl/en has quite a few recipes translated from historical cook books, ranging from Roman antiquity to early modern. Most of them are from Western Europe, but there is plenty from other regions. It's worth browsing through, I reckon.
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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Concrete View Post
    One thing I notice reading old cook books is how an ingredient that's expensive nowadays could be real cheap back in the day. My dad has one where a lobster recipe begins with "Put forth two dozen lobsters".
    It also goes the other way - chicken was way more expensive than beef in the early 1900s, being meat for the wealthy or a very rare treat for the comfortable.

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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    It also goes the other way - chicken was way more expensive than beef in the early 1900s, being meat for the wealthy or a very rare treat for the comfortable.
    One of my older cookbooks has a recipe for "mock chicken" made from veal because of this. (In addition to the more general beef/chicken price switch, veal also used to be cheaper/more common with earlier farming practices.)

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    Default Re: Antique cookbooks for someone with an interest in old recipes?

    The Fanny Farmer Cook Book series was written by Fanny Farmer up until 1918, but has editions going back prior to the 1900's (And for the MODS...that edition is WELL past the 75 year copyright expiration timeframe, so it's public domain now).
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