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Re-create: recipes and remedies

May 5, 20209:20 amLeave a Comment

Earthworms in wine anybody?

One of our favourites at the Archives is a lovely little item, which we call Ann Whittle’s book ref 1416/36.

Alison and Ann Whittle cake
Alison re-creating Ann Whittle’s recipes

It’s a voyage account book and exercise book as well as a remedy and recipe book. It is highly likely that there is more than one author in this little book, as the handwriting differs, but the only one to place their name in it was Ann Whittle.

Ann used the book to write down remedies and receipts. She was recording them during the early 1700s. As many were given to her by personal recommendation, they may have been passed on by word of mouth for generations and might be much older.

The book is a real gem, full of beautiful calligraphy, doodles as well as the intriguing recipes and remedies.

As part of the project a few years ago, staff and volunteers transcribed some of the recipes and remedies and even tried a few out!

We’ve transcribed a couple below for you, but bear in mind the odd spelling and unusual ingredients.

To make a plum cake

  • Take half a peck of flower
  • 6 pound of curronts
  • 5 pound of butter
  • 1 pound 1/4 of sugar
  • half an ounce of cloves and mace
  • 1/4 pound of butter(?)
  • 1 pint of milk
  • a quart of ale east.

put your milk and butter over the fire, put into it a glass of sack and some rose water, keep it sturing and when your butter is all melted take it of and stur in your east, you must take care you do not scald(?) your east, then power it into your cake and let stand and rise before the fire, then rise it and put it into your houp and put it into a quick oven and let it stand near 2 hours and when you take it out lay on your iceing.

To make your iceing 1 pound of duble refined leaf sugar pound and sifted, take the whits of 2 edgs, baet them very well with some rose water then put in your sugar by degrees and beat it very well then it is done.

To make a walnut pudding

Take 2 2-peny loves and grater them, then take a quart of milk and boyle it together till it tis very thick and stir into it half a pound of fresh butter and half a pound of sugar, then take half a hundred of walnuts and peale them and beat them very fine in a mortar and afterwards put to it a glas of sack and a littell rosewater and beat 10 edgs and mix it into it and then mix your bread and edgs and walnuts altogether very well and put it into a bag and boyle it 4 quarters of an houre.

How to make Macoroons

Take half a pound of almonds, stampt them in a morter with some watter and rose watter, a good spoonful of flower, half a pound of sugar in the beatings of the edgs 3 or 4 and mix it all together they must be baked in (?) round pans and buttered very thin, heat your oven hott enough to bake custards, when they be enough take them out and let them stand till they are cold.


Be warned, however, that not all the recipes are advisable for human consumption. Many of the remedies certainly wouldn’t meet health and safety standards and are not to be advocated as current cures; this remedy for consumption, for example:

remedy for consumption
Remedy for consumption ref 1416/36
(Courtesy of Hatchers Solicitors LLP)

A Medicine for Consumption

Take of Harts horn & English Saffron of each sixe penny worth make into a powder, take twenty five large earth worms wipe e’m cleane but not wash them

Take a quart of white wine and boyle it, then put in the powder & wormes, & let it boyle till half a quarter of itt bee consum’d then straine itt & sweeten itt with sugar according to your pallatt

Take of this in the Morning fasting & att foure of the clock in the Afternoon & the last thing goeing to bed three spoonfuls att a time, being made blood warm

Find out more

You can view images from the book with transcripts of some of the recipes on our online catalogue.

Let us know if you have a go at any of the more edible recipes!

Written by sarahd

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