Part of the fun of exploring this week’s cookery book choice (Adam's Luxury and Eve's Cookery, or, the Kitchen-Garden display’d, published in 1744) has been considering old recipes as a source of new inspiration. I am sure I have gone on about this before, but I am constantly surprised, and more than a little disappointed, that modern cooks rarely seem to use history for inspiration. We are very comfortable with cultural inspiration however, and think nothing of incorporating ingredients and ideas from other countries in our recipes, even if we revert to familiar dishes for their comfort value.
It seems that ‘foreign’ food ideas were also appealing to cooks and diners in 1744. Here are a couple of recipes for peas with an international flavour, from Adam's Luxury and Eve's Cookery.
Peas the Portuguese Way.
Wash your Peas, cut in some Lettuce with a Lump of Sugar, some fine Oil, a few Mint Leaves, cut small, with Parsley, Onions, Shallots, Garlick, Winter Savory, Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper, and a little Broth; put some over the Fire, and when ‘tis almost ready, poach some new Eggs in it, making a Place for each Egg to lie in; then cover your Stew pan again, and boil your eggs with a little Fire upon the Cover; then slide them into your dish, and serve them.
Fine beans may be dress’d in the same manner, but you must blanch them, and put them in as they are, without putting them in Butter.
Peas the French Way.
Shell your Peas, and pass a quarter of a Pound of Butter, gold colour, with a Spoonful of Flower; then put in a Quart of Peas, four Onions cut small, and two Cabbages cut as small as the Onions; then put in half a Pint of Gravy, seasoned with Pepper, Salt, and Cloves. Stove this well an Hour, then put in half a Spoonful of fine Sugar, and fry some Artichokes to lay round the Side of the Dish; serve it with a forced Lettuce in the Middle.
Quotation for the Day.
LAUREL, n. The laurus a vegetable dedicated to Apollo, and formerly defoliated to wreathe the brows of victors and such poets as had influence at court.
Ambrose Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary.