One of my favourite eighteenth century cookery books has the lovely title of Adam’s Luxury and Eve’s Cookery: Or, The Kitchen Garden Display’d. It was published in 1744, and contains “a large Collection of RECEIPTS for dressing all sorts of Kitchen-Stuff so as to afford a great Variety of cheap, healthful, and palatable Dishes.” Kitchen-stuff, in this context, refers primarily to vegetables, and these are the focus of the book – which was unusual for the time. Gardening advice forms the first part of the book, the cookery section follows. I have given a number of interesting recipes from this source before (links are at the end of this post) but it still has many treasures for us.
The preservation of food was a much greater challenge in the mid-eighteenth century, well before canning and refrigeration. It was also in many ways much more important at that time however - as the long period of winter would have been very dreary without a nice selection of preserves in the still-room. The following recipes show how you could have enjoyed artichokes with some of those dark winter meals in 1744.
Several Ways of keeping Artichokes.
Boil as much Water with Salt as you judge necessary for your Quantity of Artichokes, When boil’d let it stand till the Salt is settled, then put it in the Vessel you intend to keep your Artichokes. Blanch your Artichokes in boiling water, till you can take out the Chokes; then wash them till you are sure they are clean, and put them in the Pickle, pouring Oil or Butter on the Top to keep out the Air, and cover it very close for the same Purpose. When you use them steep them in fresh Water to take away the Salt.
To keep Artichokes dry.
Blanch them and take out the Chokes as before, drain them, and bake them till they are dry. Before you use them, steep them two Days in luke-warm Water. In blanching them off, put in the Water a little Verjuice, Salt, and Butter.
To keep Artichokes dry another Way.
Cut off the Leaves and the Chokes and put the Bottoms in Water. When you take them out of the Water, throw them into Flower [flour] and cover them all over with it. Then range them one by one on a Hurdle, and dry them in an Oven. Before you use them, let them soak a Day and a Night in Water, then boil them as you do other Artichokes.
Previously posted recipes from Adam’s Luxury and Eve’s Cookery: