Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Perks in the Household of Queen Elizabeth I.

Yesterday I mentioned the perquisites that were the right of various members of the royal households in the past. I have touched on this in two previous posts (here, and here,) but I don’t think I have exhausted the subject yet. Today I want to give you some examples from the household of Queen Elizabeth I. My source is The Booke of the Household of Queene Elizabeth … in the 43rd Yeare of her Reigne [1601] which appears in A Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal Household, made in Divers Reigns from King Edward III to King William and Queen Mary, published for the Society of Antiquaries in 1787.

What is particularly interesting is the extreme specificity of the perks: note in the last extract, the different coloured rabbit skins are allocated to specific persons.

YEOMEN. … and they have for their fees, all the fethers of such provision and fowle as come into the scalding house; and the heades, feet, heartes, and guizardes of geese, and of all other things that the heades and feet are to be cut off before they be roasted.

IMPRIMIS, the cheife clerke of the kitchen hath for his fee, all the girdles of fresh sturgeon spent within the house.
ITEM, the master Cookes have to fee all the salmon’s tailes, the heades of breats, hellibuts, porpose, chines, finnes, and tailes, pigges heades, the toiling of the leade, the lambes, and kiddes heades, skinnes, and appurtenances, from Candlemas to Lammas, except such as shall be to serve the King and Queen’s grace; they have also the skinnes and tallow of all the oxen presented to the King and Queene, the Serjant of the Acatry being partaker with them.
ITEM, the yeomen of the kitchen and larder have to fee of the mutton and veales three joynts of the cragge, the two hinder legges and the rumpe, and of the oxe the fore legges stricken in the first joynte, and one peece of the neck stricken in the first joynte.
ITEM, the groomes of the kitchen and larder have to fee of the mutton, two joyntes of the cragge, andin lent brent oyle.

Item, the boylers have to fee, the dripping of the roste, the strippings cut of from the briskets, the surloine peece of the beefe, and the grease coming of the draweing of the beefe out of the leade, being in the kittles or pannes.

IMPRIMIS.The Sargent hath for his fee of the oxe two jointes of the rump chine, two jointes of the cragge, and two cloddes of the bore of the heade, and the four feet, the belly peeces, and the hinder quarters to the arse bone; excepte so many heades as shal be necessary for the expenses of the King and Queen, all empty barrels of herrings and eeles, salt salmon and sturgeon, and all the panniers of sea fish.

The serjant hath to fee, the grey conie skinnes from Hallomas till Shrovetide.
The Clerke hath to fee, all the blacke and dunne conie skinnes and the barrels.
The Groomes have to fee, all the grey conie skinnes from Midsomer till Hollantide.

As the recipe for the day, I give you a very brief recipe for rabbit. Remember, that at these times,  written recipes were not intended for the novice, but were simple memory aids for experienced cooks, hence the very minimalist nature.

How to bake Conies, Rabets, or Hares, with fruit or without fruit.
Season them with Pepper and Salte, Cloves and mace, and so laye them into your paste with Corance or Prunes, great Raisins and if you will: butter and a little vergious [verjus].
A Book of Cookrye, (London, 1591) by A. W.


Les said...

What are cragges?

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Les. Cragge or crag refers to the neck - it is probably, in this sense, a perversion of 'scrag', as in the 'scrag end of a neck of mutton' - 'scrag' meaning thin (scraggy)