Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The Bill of Fare for a Wedding in 1526.


I have a treat for you today. It is the bill of fare for the marriage of the daughter of Sir John Nevill in 1526. I came across it (as commonly happens) while searching for something entirely different in Exerpta Antiqua: Or, a Collection of Original Manuscripts, prepared by John Croft of the Society of Antiquities in 1796.

Sir John Nevill, of Chevit, Knight.
The marriage of my Son-in-Law, Roger Rockley, and my Daughter, Elizabeth Nevill, the 14th day of January, in the 17th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King Henry the VIIIth, 1526.

For the FIRST COURSE at DINNER.

First, Brawn with Mustard served alone with Malmsey.
Item, Frumenty to Pottage.
Item, a Roe roasted for Standart.
Item, Peacocks, two of a Dish.
Item, Swans, two of a Dish.
Item, a great Pike on a Dish.
Item, Conies roasted four of a Dish [rabbits].
Item, Venison roasted.
Item, Capon Grease, three of a Dish [fat capons].
Item, Mallards, four of a Dish.
Item, Teals, seven of a Dish.
Item, Pies baken with Rabbits in them.
Item, baken Orange.
Item, a Flampett.
Item, Stoke Fritters [baked on a hot iron, or stoker].
Item, Dulcetts, ten of a Dish [sweetmeats].
Item, a Tart.

SECOND COURSE.

First, Marterns to a Pottage.
Item, for a Standart Cranes, two of a Dish.
Item, Young Lamb whole roasted.
Item, great fresh Sammon Gollis [jowls].
Item, Heron Sewes, three of a Dish.
Item, Bytters, three of a Dish [bitterns].
Item, Pheasants, four of a Dish.
Item, a great Sturgeon Goil [jowl].
Item, Partridges, eight of a Dish.
Item, Stints, eight of a Dish [a type of sandpiper].
Item, Plovers, eight of a Dish.
Item, Curlews, three of a Dish.
Item, a whole Roe baken.
Item, Venison baken red and fallow.
Item, a Tart.
Item, a Marchpane.
Item, Gingerbread.
Item, Apples and Cheese strewed with Sugar and Sage.

The total price of the provisions came to ₤46.5.8 – a stupendous sum at the time.

Now, the item on this bill of fare that I find most intriguing is the final one on the list –Apples and Cheese strewed with Sugar and Sage. Sugar at this time would have been used sparingly, in the manner of a spice, not a heavy sweetening agent. That apples and cheese are natural partners is, I am sure, not in any doubt. There is also an English specialty called Sage Cheese. My search for a dish which features the pairing of apples and sage came up with a left-field entry which is entirely off-topic, but is nonetheless interesting enough to include.

From the Saturday Magazine (Vol. 16), of 1840:-

In the Levant, large galls were seen by Tournefort, growing on the sage, which were caused by the punctures of insects; these galls are firm, fleshy, semi-transparent tumours, swelling out from the branches of the plant, and supposed to be produced in the same manner as oak apples, by the puncture of an insect of the Cynips genus. They form an article of ordinary sale in the markets, and are called sage-apples. When preserved with sugar, these apples are regarded as a great delicacy. Dr. Clarke was regaled with them by the English consul, at the island of Syros, and speaks highly of their excellent flavour. The plant which is subject to these excrescences is much larger than the common sage, and has a more powerful smell. It grows abundantly in several of the Greek islands, and attains the size of a small shrub.

As the dish of the day, inspired by the sixteenth century wedding feast, may I give you a nineteenth century recipe for a wedding-worthy roast goose or duck?

Goose and Duck Stuffing.
Boil a few sage leaves with a couple of onions, chop them fine, with a breakfast cupful of stale bread crumbs, and a bit of apple. Season with pepper and salt, and mix the whole with the yolk of an egg and a little butter.
English Cookery, containing practical directions for dressing

Family Dinners, etc (London, 1843)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sage apples. As I was intrigued by your quote from Tournefort about sage galls, I posted a request for information on the Mediterranean Garden Society Forum. If you go to the home page, then Fruit and Vegetables you will see a photo and good description of the galls.

korenni said...

Couldn't find "flampett" anywhere. What is it?

Yonnie Travis said...

Flampett may be a a mispelling of Flampoyntes- Harleian MS 279 published approximately 1430 has a recipe which appears to be a pork and cheese pie- xxix - Flampoyntes bake. Take fayre Buttes of Porke, and sethe hem in fayre Watere, and clene pyke a-way the bonys and the Synewes, and hew hem and grynd hem in a mortere, and temper with the Whyte of Eyroun, and Sugre, and pouder of Pepir, and Gyngere, and Salt; than take neyssche (fresh) Cruddis (curded chees), grynd hem, and draw thorw a straynoure; and caste ther-to Aneys, Salt, pouder Gyngere, Sugre; and than take the Stuffe of the Porke, and putte it on euelong cofyn of fayre past; and take a fether, and endore the Stuffe in the cofyn with the cruddys; and whan it is bake, take Pyne3, and clowys, and plante the cofyn a-boue, a rew of on, and rew of a-nother; and than serue forth.

Loosely translated the recipe says to take a pork butt, boil it in clean water and when it is cooked, remove the bones, skin and sinew, and then grind it in a mortar, add egg white, sugar, pepper, ginger and salt. Then take fresh cheese, grind it, and pass it through a strainer and season it with anise, salt, ginger and sugar. Add the seasoned pork to a pastry (the cofyn), and then take a feather and gild it with the cheese, and bake it. When it is baked decorate it with pine nuts and cloves, a row of one, and then a row of another, and serve it forth.

An earlier version of the recipe (Forme of Curye, approximately 1390) suggests that the pie should only be about an inch deep, and decorated with pastry that has been "carved into small points", fried in grease, instead of the pine nuts and cloves.

Hope that helps!

bklynharuspex said...

Thanks for the explicit answer about the flampetts. I too was wondering.