Note: Cooking terms easily found in a dictionary and for which current meanings are consistent with those in use during the seventeenth century have not been defined.

ale / small ale / small beer

Ale was brewed extensively in England from the medieval period on and was made with three ingredients: grain, water, and yeast. According to Bennett (1996), “ale was basic to the diet of ordinary people, each household required a large and steady supply; a household of five people might require about 1 1/4 gallons a day, or about 8 3/4 gallons a week. Yet ale was both time consuming to produce and fast to sour, lasting for only a few days” (p. 19). In the early modern period, home brewing was common. Markham (1623) devotes an entire chapter to malting grain for ale (pp. 190-217). Small ale (weak ale) has a lower ABV than ordinary ale. Beer differs from ale in that it also includes hops. Small beer, sometimes called table beer, contained a lower ABV than other beer, typically less than 1%. Holme (1688) suggests that “Wort of the second running” will make small beer (p. 104). 

almond (almon, Jordan almond)

Gerard (1633) notes that the almond tree is native to “hot regions, yet we have them in our London gardens and orchards in great plenty” (p. 1445). However, Thirsk (2006) also indicates that by 1700, the English had abandoned growing almonds because they did not ripen; instead, they were imported to London from Spain (pp. 77, 302). The term ‘Jordan almond’ comes from the French or Spanish jardin, meaning ‘garden’ (OED). Almonds were used in cookery, for medicine, and in beauty products. Some recipes call for blancht almonds. Blanching is the technique by which the rough skin of the almond is removed from the smooth inner meat of the nut. Almonds are placed in boiling water for about a minute before they are removed and put in cool water. This process loosens the skin and makes it easier to peel off. Blanched almonds can then be used to make marzipan, almond flour, or almond tarts. 

almond paste

A mixture of ground almonds and sugar, held together with binding agents such as eggs, oil, or cream.


A waxy, aromatic substance secreted by sperm whales that is often found floating in the ocean or washed up on the beach. It was an expensive ingredient used along with other products such as cardamom to scent food, especially confectionery. The use of ambergris was not uncommon in seventeenth century English cookery, but the practice seemed to die out by the eighteenth century (OCF, p. 15). Ambergris was also an ingredient in beauty products and perfumery. On the popularity of ambergris as a perfume, see Duggan (2011), pp. 126-53.

anchoves (anchovis, anchovies)

Small fish that live in temperate marine or brackish waters. Thirsk (2006) notes the presence of anchovies on the shopping lists of gentlemen’s households and suggests that anchovies were seen as a delicacy. They were originally imported from Sardinia and Provence, preserved in a mixture of salt, oregano, and wine vinegar (p. 212).


Seeds of the flowering plant anise that grows in the Mediterranean and Asia. They are strong and licorice flavored. Thirsk (2006) notes that as early as the thirteenth century, aniseed was imported to England as a spice alongside others such as cloves, cinnamon, and ginger and was relatively expensive (p. 315). 


The most common fruit in early modern England according to Thirsk (2006), p. 299. Gerard (1633) encourages landowners to plant apple trees “in every corner of [their] grounds” because “the labor is small, the cost is nothing, the commoditie is great, [they] shall have plenty, the poore shall have somwhat in time of want to relieve their necessitie, and God shall reward [their] good mindes and diligence” (p. 1459). He also cautions his readers that apples are cold and moist, and so should not be eaten in excess, but that roasting apples, especially with added spices, offsets potential negative effects (p. 1460). 


I.e., “apricot.” Apricots were grown domestically in early modern England and were a common ingredient in recipes. They could be baked, preserved, dried, or candied. Gerard (1633) notes that apricot trees grow in his own garden and “in many other gentlemens gardens throughout all England.” He praises the apricot’s pleasant taste and recommends that they be used as a digestif (p. 1449). Candied apricots were preserved and dried in sugar and were often used in desserts.

artichock (artichoak, artichock bottom, hartichoke bottom)

Gerard (1633) recommends that artichokes be planted in moist, fruitful soil (p. 1153). He describes them as delicacies when boiled or cooked in broth, but cautions against eating them raw, since they contain “melancholy juice” and “a great store of winde” (p. 1154). As Thirsk (2006) notes, “Gentlemen were assiduously planting out artichoke gardens in the 1620s; they were then the height of fashion” (pp. 113-4). Artichoke bottoms are the fleshy, edible base of the artichoke. According to the OED, ‘artichoke bottom’ is synonymous with “artichoke heart;” however, it may refer just to the fleshy base rather than the fleshy center, which is the “heart.” 

asparagus (sparagus)

According to Muffett (1655), “[a]sparagus was in old time a meat for such Emperours as Julius Caesar; now every boord is served with them” (p. 116). In the seventeenth century, there was a two acre asparagus garden in Lambeth Marsh near Waterloo in London, opposite the Whitehall stairs. It may have been the place from where Elizabeth Cromwell sourced the vegetable.


In early modern England, bacon was the term for pork that had been salt cured and dried. It was common across all classes due to easy access to pigs and can be found in many early modern recipes. The practice of smoking bacon began around the turn of the seventeenth century (de Courcy).

barberies (barberries)

Barberries grow wild on bushes and are common in England. Gerard (1633) indicates that they can be found in most English gardens (p. 1325). Both the berries and the leaves are used for salads and in sauces. Coles (1657) notes that “[t]he said juyce also, or the berries themselves, either conserved or preserved, is often used for those that loath their meat, to procure an Appetite” (p. 273).


A cereal grain used for making bread, beer, and stews, and also for animal feed. Itself an ancient grain, barley was both a popular and widely available food in early modern England, and as Thirsk (2006) explains, “[t]he liking for barley was further strengthened by the view that it was extremely nutritious” (p. 219). 

bay leafs (bayes)

Sometimes referred to as laurel leaves, bay leaves were used to give flavor to soups, broths, and other liquids, to season roasted meats and fish, and as a garnish. Gerard (1633) notes that while the bay tree is native to Spain and other warm climes, it is also planted in English gardens and protected against the weather in colder months (p. 1407).


In the early modern period, beans were both homegrown and exotic, coming from locales throughout Europe, Africa, and the New World. Parkinson (1640) discusses a variety of such beans (pp. 1054-8). Likewise, Coles (1657) describes five different types of common beans, but admits that “[t]he severall sorts of Beans are very numerous” (p. 140). He complains that beans are “windy” and also argues that they can produce lust: “a Bean very much resembling the Nut of a Mans yard; and that was the Reason that Pythagoras so much condemned them, their windiness causing Lust” (p. 141). Even so, he echoes Parkinson in suggesting that beans and bean flowers can be used to suppress coughs and cure gout (p. 141). 

beef (beaf)

Meat derived from cows. Thirsk (2006) names beef as the preferred type of meat in the early modern period: “We can safely generalize about Englishmen’s aspirations for meat, and we can put beef at the head of the list of desirable meats, lamb and mutton next, and pork as the food of cottagers” (p. 249). 


“The husk of wheat, barley, oats, or other grain, separated from the flour after grinding” (OED).


“A boar (or swine) as fattened for the table” (OED).


Bread in the period was made from wheat, rye, barley, and oats. White bread, French bread, manchet, and rolls are among the various kinds mentioned in this collection. 


As Thirsk (2006) notes, calves’ and pigs’ brains often appear in early modern recipes for savory dishes (p. 239); however, the brains of fowl are less common.


“Bread soaked in boiling fat pottage, made of salted meat” (OED).


A type of beef taken from the breast of an animal (OED). Holme (1688) lists the brisket as a middling cut of meat awarded to the huntsmen, while the tender organs like the liver and the heart went to the lord (p. 188).


A long stick of metal on which to roast meat, similar to a spit.

brome buds (broom buds)

Thirsk (2006) notes that pickled broom buds, which look like capers, have a “piquant” taste and were one of the most common “home grown flavorings” in early modern England. Furthermore, “[i]nterest in the broom bud is reflected in the Plantagenet family taking its name from the broom plant (Planta genista)” (p. 315).

broth / barely-broth / beef broth / broth of the cock / mutton broth / strong broth / strong mutton broth / white broth  

Broth, especially beef broth, was typically made with a piece of beef, bone marrow, dates, mace, pepper, salt, and sugar. Variations substituted the type of meat used, such as chicken for Broth of the Cock and lamb for mutton broth. A strong broth tended to be made out of beef (especially veal) or mutton, and in Rabisha (1661), includes sweet herbs, mace, and salt (p. 39). Common parts of a piece of meat used in broths were legs, feet, shins, and marrow bones. A white broth, notably light in color, might include ingredients such as white wine, dates, sweet herbs, mace, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, grated bread, and sugar. Sometimes it was made with the bones and/or meat of poultry or veal. See Rabisha (1661), p. 41. Barley broth may have been made with or without meat in addition to barley, onions, raisins, cloves, mace, ginger, lemon peel, salt, sweet herbs, or manchet. See May (1660), pp. 13-14; Rabisha (1661), p. 44. 


A variety of hairy, herbaceous plants with blue flowers (OED). Parkinson (1629) describes it as a temperate herb commonly found in kitchen gardens, similar to burrage (pp. 249-51). 


I.e., “borage.” A British plant with bright blue flowers and prickly hairs (OED). Parkinson (1629) describes it as a temperate herb commonly found in kitchen gardens, similar to bugloss (pp. 249-51). Thirsk (2006) notes that it could also be picked wild (p. 146).


A kind of large, sturdy, strong-legged land bird (OED). Bustard was prepared similarly to turkey, pheasant, partridge, and the like. Once common in England, bustards were victims of over-hunting and died out in the nineteenth century but were slowly reintroduced in the twenty-first century. 

butter / drawn butter / clarified butter / sweet butter

Butter was a common ingredient in early modern cooking, typically made from cream or whole milk. ‘Drawn butter’ is sometimes a synonym for clarified butter,’ whereby butter is melted and separated and only the butter fat remains. However, ‘drawn butter’ can also refer to melted butter sauce thickened with flour. ‘Sweet butter’ is another term for fresh butter and was commonly stored in small pots for immediate use. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 275-6. 


The “fleshy joint or piece of meat cut from the haunches of an animal,” frequently, and in this collection, beef (OED). 

cabbage (cabbidge, cabbidge-lettice) 

May refer to any variety of the plant Brassica oleracea, characterized by a “compact round or conical head of thick, short-stemmed, green leaves” (OED). ‘Colewort’ was another common name for cabbage in the period. Gerard (1633) describes many varieties of cabbage (“coleworts”) and notes that every type grows either in English gardens or wild in the fields (pp. 311-7). He claims that cabbage cleanses the body and “looseth the belly,” and boiling it in water creates a broth with these healthy properties (p. 317). See also Colwort Leaf.


Early modern cakes were defined by their shape as much as by the ingredients. Originally referring to “a mass or portion of bread with a rounded, flattened shape,” it came to mean “a portion of bread . . . containing additional ingredients such as butter, sugar, spices, dried fruit, etc. . . . Frequently with modifying word specifying the type, flavouring, or filling of the cake” and “more generally, a mass or portion of food, usually formed into a rounded, flattened shape, and frequently cooked on both sides” (OED). 

calves feet

Calves’ feet were often boiled down in order to extract natural gelatin. Jelly made from calves’ feet was thought to have medicinal properties.

candy / candy’d (candid)

Sugar becomes “candy” when it has been boiled to a syrup and hardens as it cools to room temperature. Candied fruits were preserved by boiling in sugar and drying.


Tiny, pea-like fruits that are generally preserved in pickling liquid or salt. Gerard (1633) notes that capers grow in hot regions such as Italy and Spain. He describes obtaining some seeds and planting them successfully in his own garden. Although he claims that capers have no nutritional value, he cites them as useful as a seasoning or a purgative medicine (p. 896). Barron (2006) discusses the flourishing caper trade between southern Europe and England in the mid-seventeenth century (p. 33). 


A castrated male rooster (OED). Thirsk (2006) notes that capons “were often crammed in their last days to make them fatter still, and were always expected at festive meals” and banquets (pp. 250, 253).


A type of wrapping paper or filter paper (OED). In this text, cap-paper is similar to parchment paper.

carbonado / carbonadoed

“To score across and grill” or broil (OED), making cross-hatched markings by slashing the surface of the meat or fish with a knife. The term borrows from the French carbonade and the Spanish carbonada


I.e., “cardoon.” Gerard (1633) describes the “Cardune” as a wild type of artichoke “esteem[ed] greatly” by the Italians and “best to be eaten raw” (p. 1152). Evelyn (1668) thinks that he is “the first that ever planted Spanish Cardôns in [England] for any Culinarie use,” which he prepares by blanching (p. 460). The recipes in this collection suggest that cardoons be stewed or fried. 


A freshwater fish introduced to England in the fourteenth century and often bred in ponds (OED). According to Albala (2003), carp (along with perch, bream, and pike) were considered healthy “because of the great exercise they get swimming through fast rocky currents.” People also thought that these fish were easier to digest because of their “white delicate flesh” which suggested they “contained fewer ‘superfluous excrements’ – something oily fish were said to abound in” (p. 71). Walton (1653) praises the carp as “a stately, a good, and a subtle fish” (p. 161).

carraway-seeds (carroway seeds)

Parkinson (1629) notes that carraway seeds are often used as an ingredient in baked fruit, bread, and cakes “to give them a relish, and to helpe to digest winde in them” (p. 515). According to Albala (2003), they were “typically baked into and sprinkled on the top of rye bread . . . . used in medicine . . . . and used in candy-comfits like anise” (p. 42).


“To remove the skin from (an animal) by making a single slit along the hind legs and removing it whole” (OED).


“A warm drink of sweetened or spiced wine or ale thickened with gruel or other ingredients, given chiefly to invalids, expectant mothers, etc., and (formerly) also to those visiting a mother following the birth of a child” (OED). Holme (1688) lists “Caudles of Oate-Meal” as part of the first course among “Bills of Fare for every Season in the Year” (p. 79).

caul (cauls) 

I.e., “caul fat.” A fatty membrane surrounding the internal organs of some animals.

chafingdish (chafing-dish)

“A vessel to hold burning charcoal or other fuel, for heating anything placed upon it; a portable grate” (OED). Walton (1653) describes cooking fish over a chafing dish (p. 58).


From the Old English caese, “a common food made from the curds of milk pressed into a solid or semi-solid mass, and typically ripened” (OED). As Thirsk (2006) describes, there were “deep-seated prejudices” against cheese throughout the early modern period in England, though when it first started to become acceptable in elite households, preference was given to foreign varieties (p. 278). Venner (1620) claims that cheese “breed[s] grosse and oppilating humors,” but admits that it depends on how new or old it is (p. 91). “Olde hard Cheese,” he writes, “is altogether unwholesome.” He recommends that “[c]heese is best for them that lead a studious or generous course of life, to be eaten after other meate, and that in litle quantite.” “Eating cheese,” Venner concludes, “is onely convenient for rustick people, and such as have very strong stomachs, and that also use great exercise” (p. 92). Thirsk (2006) notes that most English cookbooks of the period did not include any recipes for cheese (p. 279); however, some opinions about cheese began to change by the mid-seventeenth century, as evidenced by recipes in this text, as well as those in May (1660), Rabisha (1661), and Woolley (1675). 

cheese trough

A narrow, open vessel (typically made of wood) used in the small-batch cheese-making process.


A fashionable fruit in early modern England. Thirsk (2006) indicates that the sweet varieties were imported from the Netherlands in the 1500s and then grown domestically (pp. 21-2). Parkinson (1629) notes that cherries “are eaten at all times, both before and after meales” (p. 575). Cookbooks of the period also included recipes for cherry tarts and candied cherries. Holme (1688) lists nine types of cherries (p. 49).


I.e., “chestnuts.” A nut covered with a husk or shell from the chestnut tree, introduced from Asia Minor in the early modern period and which began growing across Southern Europe (OED). Thirsk (2006) describes chestnuts among the “nuts most often eaten” in early modern England, commonly as sweetmeats (p. 302), though as the recipe in this text attests, they were put to other uses as well. Coles (1657) recommends roasting them to decrease their “windiness” (p. 43).


The least expensive type of poultry and generally shunned by nobility and gentry during the period, although the upper classes began to eat more chicken after it became more expensive in the 1640s. See Lloyd (2015), p. 78.

china / china-root

The “thick fleshy root-stock of a shrubby climbing plant (Smilax China) closely akin to Sarsaparilla, and once supposed to possess great medicinal virtues” (OED). China root was brought to England from the East Indies in the late sixteenth century. Seventeenth-century English and Italian physicians believed that taken orally, it could cure syphilis (“Treatment of Syphilis”). Coles (1657) thus explains: “The Root called China is not onely commended, but daily proved to be most effectual in the French Disease, the decoction thereof being made and given in manner following: Take of China Root cut thin in slices, one ounce and an half, put into it a Gallon of faire Water, and let it stand covered a night and a day, then boyle it gently till about half the Water be consumed; strain it, and give about four ounces thereof in bed, for divers mornings together, if need be” (p. 605). Coles also notes that this drink can cure a variety of other illnesses or conditions, such as colds, fevers, headaches and stomach aches, jaundice, palsies, gout, sciatica, joint pain, skin ulcers, leprosy, and “melancholy griefes,” especially dropsie and green sickness (pp. 605-6).


“The Back-bone of any Beast or Fish,” according to Holme (1688), p. 82. The OED offers a more specific definition: “A ‘joint’ consisting of the whole or part of the backbone of an animal, with the adjoining flesh. The application varies much according to the animal; in mutton it is the ‘saddle’; in beef any part of the back (ribs or sirloin).” 


To chip bread is “to pare it by cutting away the crust” (OED). 

claret (claret wine, clarret wine)

According to Thirsk (2006), claret was a common drink in early modern households. It was also a popular ingredient in sauces, such as those found in Rabisha (1661). The word ‘claret’ changed in meaning during the early modern period. Taken from the French vin clairet, it originally meant “wines of yellowish or light red in colour, as distinguished alike from ‘red wine’ and ‘white wine’; the contrast with the former ceased about 1600, and it was apparently then used for red wines generally” (OED). Now the term refers to red wine specifically from Bordeaux. Plat (1653) notes that it was not uncommon for London coopers and vintners to engage in their own winemaking practices by “alterations, transmutations, and sometimes even real transubstantiations, of white wine into Claret, & old lags of Sack or Malmsies, with Malassoes into Muskadels” (p. 62). For an extensive discussion of wine and its adulteration in early modern England, see Dolan (2020), pp. 81-121.

cinnamon (cinamon)

“The inner bark of an East Indian tree, dried in the sun, in rolls or ‘quills,’ and used as a spice” (OED). Cinnamon was first mentioned in English texts in the fifteenth century. This spice was routinely used in early modern English cooking, though it was also somewhat of a luxury. ‘Beaten cinnamon’ has been pounded into a powder.


A fruit in the citrus family that looks like a large, lumpy lemon with a very thick rind. Albala (2003) notes that citrons are the oldest of all types of citrus fruits and “known to most Europeans as candied peel which they used in both cooking and as a garnish. When they are fresh, they resemble lemons and were used much the same way, though they contain little juice” (p. 52). Citron was an important medicinal ingredient in the period, as evidenced by the many recipes for distilled citron water. See Leong (2018), pp. 60-8.


A pungent aromatic spice made from the dried flower-bud of Caryophyllus aromaticus, the clove tree, native to the east Indonesian Maluku Islands (OED). Cloves were used in English cooking from the late-fourteenth century. Like cinnamon, cloves were expensive. The Dutch had monopolized the clove trade by the seventeenth century. Albala (2003) notes that “on several occasions they even burned vast stocks to prevent the market from being saturated and the price from falling” (p. 45).


I.e., “woodcocks.” One of the most expensive yet popular types of wildfowl in seventeenth century England. See Lloyd (2015), p. 93.

cods head (codds head)

I.e., “the head of a cod fish.” As Albala (2003) notes, the English, Basques, French, and Portuguese all sought to gain control of Northern Atlantic waters where cod could be caught. Though commonly associated with Lent, the fish was also routinely preserved and eaten year-round (p. 73). 


Unripe apples used for cooking rather than eating raw (OED). 


I.e., “peascods or pea pods.” The pod, husk or seed-vessel of a plant, especially of peas or beans (OED).


Either the pastry or crust of a pie or a pie-dish or mold (OED).


Meat, especially brawn (the flesh of a boar), tied up in a roll (OED).

collops (colops)

Meat sliced or cut into small pieces, often fried or broiled (OED). Eggs fried with slices of ham could also be called “collops.” 

colly-flowers (colliflowers, collyflowers, colyflowers, flowers*)

(*only the use of ‘flowers’ on page 80)

I.e., “cauliflower.” Thirsk (2006) notes that cauliflowers were widely available in the London markets in 1646 when the Countess of Bath records purchasing them on a visit in June and July (p. 289).

colwort leaf

Brassicae including cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. Larkin (2010) notes that present day collard greens are probably closest to medieval colewort, which was later cultivated into cabbage. Although colewort and other brassicas were sometimes associated with lower-class diets, Thirsk (2006) argues that over the seventeenth century they came into vogue across classes (p. 287). See also cabbage (cabbidge, cabbidge-lettice). 

coriander seed

According to Thirsk (2006), “[c]oriander [what today we call ‘cilantro’] was valued primarily for its seed, but seemingly rarely for its green leaves” (p. 284). Gerard (1633) notes that “the green and stinking leaves of Corianders are of complexion cold and dry, and very naught, unwholesome and hurtful to the body.” However, “the dry and pleasant well savouring seed is warm, and very convenient to sundry purposes,” either “prepared and covered with sugar, as comfits,” or “parched or roasted, or dried in an oven and drunk with wine.” He also observes that although he only planted coriander once in his garden, it has continued to grow back from year to year (p. 1012).  

coring iron

A cylindrical utensil used to remove the cores of fruits.

cream / sweet cream

The higher-fat layer that accumulates on the surface of milk and can be skimmed off and used to make different foods, like custards, clotted creams, butter, etc. ‘Sweet cream’ is the opposite of ‘sour cream’ (and does not suggest that the cream has been sweetened with sugar). 

cucumber / pickle cucumber

A plant native to southern Asia. The fruit was used in English cooking since at least the sixteenth century (OED). While this text includes a recipe for pickling cucumbers (p. 119), they were also a popular product sold by London merchants from the 1660s onward. See Thirsk (2006), p. 142.


I.e., “colander.” “A vessel, usually of metal, closely perforated at the bottom with small holes, and used as a sieve or strainer in cookery” (OED).

curd (curds)

Curdling or coagulating milk produces curds, the solid masses that can be further strained or pressed to produce different varieties of cheese.

curdle (curdling, curdly)

To cause something to thicken, coagulate, or harden (OED). Stubbe (1662), one of numerous contemporary authors to mention the curdling of eggs, defines such a process as “harden[ing]” it (p. 161).


I.e., “cornels,” also known as Cornelian cherries or long cherries. Gerard (1633) mentions that while the Cornel tree is not native to England, many people have them growing in their gardens, as does he (p. 1466.)

currans (currants) 

May either refer to raisins of Corinth, dried grapes that would have been imported from European countries with warmer climates better suited to the cultivation of grapevines, or to blackcurrants, or gooseberries, which are native to England.


A small plum-like stone fruit. The damson plum is common in England. Gerard (1633) passes over them briefly saying that “[o]ur common Damson is known to all, and therefore not to be stood upon” (p. 1496). Gerard cautions, as he does with most other fruits, that the plum is cold and moist, and prone to quickly rotting, even in the stomach. Dried plums, or prunes, are much safer to eat (p. 1498).


Prized for its sweet flavor, sticky consistency, and as a decorative garnish, the fruit of the date palm was a popular ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Dates were a major import from the Middle East and the Mediterranean.


Up to the mid-sixteenth century, according to Thirsk (2006), English people avoided eating duck and other wild waterfowl because they “fed on disagreeable frogs, worms, and spiders” and were thought to be unhealthy. As people learned to domesticate ducks and feed them in farmyards, it became more acceptable to eat them. By 1600, they were “accepted fair” (pp. 256-7).

eel (eele)

Thirsk (2006) comments that eels come “at the head of the fish list” in the Cromwell cookbook, “as was to be expected from a fenlander” like Elizabeth Cromwell (p. 116). Fenland eels were “highly prized, being caught in large numbers in the many drainage ditches of the flatlands around Cambridge and Ely” (“Fenland Eels”). Woolley (1675b) describes the challenge of catching eels, and elaborates on “how the Anglers here in London take them” (p. 31). Her text instructs, “Take a shooting-Line, of 10, 12, 14, 16, or 20 Hooks, as many, and as few as you please; and this cannot but be an Excellent way, either in Pond, River, or Moat” (p. 231).

egg (egge) / hard eggs

Eggs were a prevalent ingredient in English cooking as many English households across socioeconomic levels kept chicken, geese, or ducks. The whites, yolks, or both together were put to a variety of uses, from pastry baking to thickening broths and sauces to additions to alcoholic beverages to serving as the centerpiece of dishes (as in this collection’s recipe for “How to make Scotch collops of Veal,” pp. 49-50) or simply eaten “hard” (i.e., “hard-boiled”).


Two types of endive were used in early modern English cooking. C. Intybus, or “wild endive” (also known as succory or chicory) could be gathered by foraging or grown in gardens; C. Endivia, which some writers thought was originally a Chinese import, was often used in salad, served blanched (OED). Thirsk (2006) describes endive as “far from commonplace” in the period (p. 263).


Also known as sea holly, eringo is a type of herb similar to coriander. While it is now known primarily as a decorative flower, it was popular as a vegetable, ingredient, or sweetmeat in England until the end of the nineteenth century. Gerard (1633) indicates that the leaves of the sea holly have “an aromaticall or spicie taste” and the roots “taste sweet and pleasant” (p. 1161). According to Gerard, the roots of the eringo were good for kidney and liver ailments, and candied eringoes help nourish the sick and the elderly and restore appetite (pp. 1162-3). Candied roots of eringoes were also considered an aphrodisiac. 


A bundle or bunch (OED).

farsing (fearsed, fearst, force) / forced meat

As Holme (1688) writes, “Farcing is stuffing of any kind of Meat with Herbs or the like: some write it Forsing and Farsing” (p. 82). ‘[F]orced meat,’ i.e., “force meat,” is the result of such a process. Holme continues, “To Farce [‘force’] is to stuff any thing” (p. 82). Likewise, ‘fearsed’ or ‘fearst’ means stuffed in this way.

fennel seed

According to Albala (2003), fennel seeds “were used to season meats, especially sausages, or eaten candied as comfits” (p. 41). These seeds, as Gerard (1633) notes, are sweet and similar to anise seeds in taste (p. 1031). See also anniseed.


“The fleshy or muscular part of the side of an animal . . . between the ribs and hips” (OED).

flay (flea, flead)

“To strip or pull off the skin or hide of; to skin” (OED).


“The fat of a pig before it is boiled down into lard” (OED).


“A small flatfish” (OED). Walton (1676) describes the flounder as “a Sea-fish, which will wander very far into fresh Rivers, and there lose himself, and dwell: and thrive to a hands breadth, and almost twice so long, a fish without scales, and most excellent meat” (p. 205).

flowers (only on page 108)

Edible flowers were used as garnishes as early as ancient Rome and this practice continued into the early modern period. Nontoxic flowers could also be candied and used in salads.


“A cold dessert consisting of thick custard made with cream and flavoured with spices and other aromatic ingredients such as citrus peel and rose water” (OED).

fowl (foul*)

(*only the use of ‘foul’ on page 104)

Ducks, chicken, geese, turkey, and numerous kinds of wild birds were among the varieties of fowl used in early modern English cuisine. They could be caught wild or raised on farms.

French beans (French-beans)

“Any of various varieties of the haricot or kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) now typically cultivated for their pods, which are eaten when green as a vegetable” (OED). French beans are what Americans typically call “green beans.” 

French bread / French six penny loaf

“A white bread with a crisp crust” which could have been made either in “a long slender loaf” (OED), as it commonly is today, or, according to Holme (1688) “in the form of a round Cake, but thick or copped in the middle.”(p. 293). 

French cuisine

French cuisine became popular during the Restoration; it was trendy for wealthy English households to employ French chefs, and French food was associated with refinement and urbanity. See Fox (2013), pp. 185-6. French recipes are common in Royalist cookbooks like May (1660) and The Queens Closet Opened (1655), a cookbook presented as a compilation of Henrietta Maria’s recipes. The English translation of François Pierre de la Varenne’s Le Cuisinier François (1653) was also published in 1655. In the introduction of this collection, the writer bemoans the fact that at Cromwell’s “private table, very rarely or never, were our French quelque-choses” (p. 31); however, there are five recipes here indicating a dish prepared in the “French way” or “French fashion.” Fricassees, of which there are two in this book, are also of French origin. 

French wine

Despite its association with Royalists, the Protectorate continued to import French wine to England for economic reasons. Of the 135 tuns of wine that Cromwell’s court purchased in the first half of 1654 alone, most of it was French. See Ludington (2013), p. 20.


I.e., “ham.” From the French ‘jambon.


According to Thirsk (2006), there seems to have been a prejudice against garlic amongst the English in this period because of its strong taste. Frequently it is noted only to rub garlic on the bottom of a dish (also a French tradition) or to include it ‘if liked’ (pp. 111, 323). The suggestion to add “a clove or two of garlick” in the recipe for  “A rare Fricase” in this cookbook similarly indicates “if you please” (p. 82).


I.e., “gherkin.” “A young green cucumber, or a cucumber of a small kind, used for pickling” (OED).


A prized ingredient for both its spicy flavor and purported medicinal properties. Ginger was imported from Spain and North Africa, according to Gerard (1633), who himself tried and failed to grow it in England (p. 60). Nonetheless, Thirsk (2006) notes, it was a routine ingredient in English cooking (p. 264). ‘Beaten ginger’ has been pounded into a powder.


I.e., “gizzard.” “The second or muscular stomach of birds in which food is ground” (OED).


According to Holme (1688), gobbets are “[m]eat cut in large peeces, as large as an Egg” (p. 82).


I.e., “marigolds.” See marigold leaves and flowers.

goosberries (gooseberries, gossberry)

A tart summer fruit of the currant family both grown in gardens and foraged. Coles (1657) notes that gooseberries “do grow in many Gardens about London in great abundance, whence they are carried into Cheap-side and other places to be sold” and adds that ripe gooseberries are “[s]weeter, so they are lesse offensive to the stomack, yet they are eaten more for pleasure, then for any proper or speciall effect for any disease” (p. 272).  


Venner (1638) and Whitaker (1620) both advise readers about the health risks and benefits of consuming grapes and wine. On the vexed efforts to cultivate grapes on English soil, see Dolan (2018).

grated bread 

A common garnish in early modern dishes. Also frequently serves as a thickening agent in early modern recipes, especially those for puddings.


According to Thirsk (2006), the term “gravy” often refers to “an innocuous liquid made from the juices that fell into the roasting tray with additions such as vinegar, lemon juice and mustard” (p. 125). Even the juices alone might have constituted the “gravy.”

green sauce (green sawce)

Thirsk (2006) notes that green sauce was a sauce that contained a “mix of sweet herbs” (p. 323). Sorrel sauces were common accompaniments for meat. See Woolley (1677), “To Make a Green Sawce for Pork, Goslings, Chickens, Lamb or Kid” (p. 108); May (1660), “Several Sauces for roast Chickens” (p. 136); and The English and French Cook (1647), “Legs of Veal and Bacon boil’d” (pp. 30-1).


A metal frame with short legs and a handle used for broiling meat or fish over a fire.


The recipes in this collection are typical of the era in frequently using the internal organs of a wide variety of animals as ingredients, including pigs, sheep, and capons.


The buttock and thigh of an animal, a cut of meat especially good for roasting. 


A larger, undomesticated version of a rabbit. Thirsk (2006) comments that “Mrs. Cromwell’s recipes also included many alternative meats, allowing for increasing variety from wild birds, poultry, ducks (but, significantly, not geese) hares and rabbits” (p. 116). Topsel (1658) provides a long list of remedies derived from parts of the hare, including “powder of a Hare with oil of myrtle,” which “driveth away pain in the head” (p. 214).  


I.e., “haslet.” A piece of meat, usually the organs or viscera of a pig, that is boiled or roasted on a spit. Today this meat is called “offal.” 


According to Gerard (1633), also called “Buck-horne Plataines” (p. 427), a plant with leaves branched like that of a stag (OED). Gerard notes that harts-horn grows “in barren plaines and untilled places, and sandy grounds; as in Touthill field neere unto Westminster.” He advises that “the leaves of Buckes-horne boyled in drinke, and given morning and evening for certaine dayes together, helpeth most wonderfully those that have sore eyes” (p. 428).

Hash / hash / Harsh

The term ‘hash’ was a recent French import. The earliest instance the OED cites of its use dates from a 1653 translation of a French recipe book, Pierre François de la Varenne’s The French Cook. Both a noun describing a dish of cut up vegetables mixed with pieces of leftover meat, and a verb describing the cutting up of said ingredients, Thirsk (2006) describes hash as a popular way of enabling those who couldn’t afford much meat to make it stretch further (p. 150).

Hen / hen

Hens were raised by households across classes and used, as now, as a source of both eggs and meat. This was a gendered form of labor: women were responsible for caring for hens and collecting eggs. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 251-2.

Hog / Hogs 

“A domestic pig reared for slaughter” (OED). Thirsk (2006) notes that pork was prevalent in the English diet across all classes (pp. 241-2). 


In this context, a ‘jack’ does not refer to fish of the family Carangidae, as it does today. Rather, in early modern England, it was the common term for the northern pike. Holme (1688) describes the jack as part of the class of “voracious or devouring fish” (p. 322). Their reputation for ravenous appetite is echoed by Owen (1700) who describes how “in some Fish-Ponds, Five or Ten great Jacks devour all the small Fry” (p. 23).


Holme (1688) defines “Ielly” as “a kind of oily or fat liquor drawn from Calves or Neats feet boiled,” that is, gelatin, which was used to thicken both savory and sweet dishes, themselves often called “jellies” (p. 83). Wall (2006) discusses the labor-intensive process of preparing jelly and the transhistorical conceptual resonances of this dish. 

Jelly Bag

Jelly bags were used to strain jelly. Johnson (1750) describes housewives “pressing” their jelly bags to aid in this process (p. 278). 

joint / Joynt / joynt

As a noun, the term ‘joint’ was used loosely to refer to any sizable portion of meat on the bone. As a verb, to joint an animal is to take it apart at the joints (OED).


A baby goat. According to Thirsk (2006), goats were rarely eaten, but on occasion, in regions that didn’t support more commonly-raised animals, kid meat was consumed (p. 2).

knuckle / knucles

A lean cut of meat located between the knee and hip on the hind leg.

Lamb / lambs

Lamb meat was cheap and enjoyed across social classes. Lamb and mutton overtook beef as the most commonly consumed meat in the early modern period, due to the movement for enclosure, which created more sheep-grazing land. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 237, 240-1.

Lamb-stones / lamb-stones / Lambstones / lambs stones / Lambstone

I.e., “lamb testicles.”

Lard / lard / larded / interlarded

As a noun, “lard” is another word for “fat,” usually that of a pig (OED). As a verb, to lard or interlard meat is to run strips of fat through it, typically bacon. This technique often was employed to make lean meats richer. See Holme (1688), p. 83; OED.

larding pin

A kitchen implement used to pierce meat to run bacon or fat through it in the process of making interlarded meat (OED). Also known as a “larding prick” in Rabisha (1661), p. 181. See also Lard / lard / larded / interlarded.


Popular, inexpensive birds in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. See Lloyd (2015), p. 93. 

lear / lears

Holme (1688) defines “Lear, or Leir” as the white of the egg, after it is beaten into a foam (p. 83). ‘Lear’ also may refer either to a thickened sauce or to a thickening agent used in a sauce (OED).

lemon / lemons / Lemmon / lemmon / lemmons / Limon / Limons / Limmons / lemmon peel / lemon-peel / Lemmon Pill

Lemons began to be imported from Spain and used in English cooking in the fifteenth century, and by the mid-sixteenth century, Thirsk (2006) writes, “Londoners … took for granted a regular supply of oranges and lemons” (p. 298). Charles I’s chef Joseph Cooper used minced lemons and preserved lemons in his cooking, a novel practice in England that brought continental culinary tastes (such as those likely favored by Charles’s French wife) to the world of English cuisine (pp. 110-11). The introduction to this collection notes that after the Anglo-Spanish War (1654-1660), lemons (as well as oranges) became scarce and therefore expensive in England (pp. 37-8). The purported availability of this item in the Cromwells’ kitchen may suggest that Elizabeth was not entirely frugal. ‘Lemon peel refers to the skin or rind of the fruit.


An Anglicization of the diminutive of the French ‘lièvre,’ ‘levret’ refers to a hare of less than a year old. See Holme (1688), p. 132; OED

Line / line (only on pages 105 & 127)

See loyn.

Liquor / liquor

Water that has been flavored by the food that was cooked in it. In this collection, liquors from the preparation of pigs, oysters, carp, mutton, and pears are all put to use in recipes.

Liver / liver

Liver was frequently consumed in the period; hog’s liver is especially common in this collection. 

Mace / mace

A spice derived from the covering surrounding the nutmeg seed in the fruit of the tree Myristica fragrans. It is typically dried and powdered to be used as an ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. Native to the east Indonesian Maluku Islands, mace was used in English recipes starting in the late-fourteenth century and was routine in early modern English cooking. 

made Dish

A ‘made dish’ was an opportunity to show off the cook’s abilities and the household’s well-stocked stores by combining a variety of ingredients. Holme (1688) defines a made dish as “a Dish compounded or made of several sorts of Meat minced, or cut in pieces, stewed or Baked in paste, being liquor’d with Wine, Butter and Sugar” (p. 83).

Manchet / manchet / Manchets 

The bread of the wealthy, manchet was very white wheat bread. The effort and waste involved in refining the bread to achieve this color gave manchet its social cachet. 


Thirsk (2006) notes that marchpane was popular in English cooking since the medieval period, when the dish was imported from the Middle East (p. 77). Early modern marchpane is not equivalent to the soft paste we call marzipan today, but rather was a round, flat, highly decorated cake made of almonds and sugar. See Holme (1688), p. 83; OED

marigold leaves and flowers / gold* (*Only on page 113)

According to Thirsk (2006), marigold flowers were popular additions to salads and herbal mixtures in drinks or broths (pp. 190, 314). Marigolds were used not only for their flavor, but also to impart a bright golden color to dishes.


A preserve made with quince, apples, or citrus fruits. Marmalade is made by boiling whole fruits (including the rinds) in water and then adding sugar until it thickens.

Marrow / marrow

“The soft, nutritious substance found in the internal cavities of animal bones, especially the shin bones of oxen or calves” (OCF, p. 94). Thirsk (2006) notes that marrow is “a light, digestible fat that was eaten in both savoury and sweet dishes” and “relished as a delicacy” (p. 239). Therefore, its presence in this recipe and others appears at odds with the portrayal of Elizabeth Cromwell as thrifty and common. 

Marrow bones / Marrow-bones / marrow-bones    

“The shin bones of oxen or calves” (OCF, p. 94).


Refers to the stomach, often used as a sausage casing.

Milk / milk / new milk / sweet milk

Milk called for in recipes of this period came from cows. According to Markham (1615), ‘new milk’ is milk “collected early in the morning as it comes from the Cowe” (p. 116). ‘Sweet milk’ refers to whole milk and is a term used to differentiate it from sour milk and buttermilk.


The testes of a fish.

mince meat

A specific style of preparing meat by seasoning it with sweet ingredients. Some recipes in this collection call for “minced meat,” and in these specific instances, refer to meat that has been chopped up into small pieces. However, the definition of “mince” that Holme (1688) offers gestures to both meanings: “Mince, is to cut and chop Flesh very small. Mincepies are made of any Flesh cut small, and mixt with Raisins, Currans, Sugar” (p. 83). 

Mince Pye 

“A savoury pie containing minced meat, esp. beef” (OED). See also mince meat.


“A receptacle of a hard material (e.g., marble, brass, wood, or glass), having a cup-shaped cavity in which ingredients are pounded with a pestle” (OED).


Though not native to Europe, mulberries have been popular in English cooking since the fifteenth century. See Thirsk (2006), p. 9.

Mushrooms / mushrooms

Long believed in England to be dangerous to consume, French culinary influences led English cooks to begin experimenting with them in the late sixteenth century. Though many people remained skeptical about mushrooms through the seventeenth century, they gradually grew in popularity. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 111, 292-3.


Muscadine wine (i.e., “muscadel,” “mascatel,” “muscat,” or “muscado”) made from white muscadine grapes and having a sweet flavor. Plat (1653) notes that it was not uncommon for London coopers and vintners to engage in their own winemaking practices by “alterations, transmutations, and sometimes even real transubstantiations, of white wine into Claret, & old lags of Sack or Malmsies, with Malassoes into Muskadels” (p. 62). For an extensive discussion of wine and its adulteration in early modern England, see Dolan (2020), pp. 81-121. Muscadine grapes also appear as ingredients in this collection. See Muskadine / Muskadoes. 


“A reddish brown substance with a strong, persistent odour secreted by a gland of a male musk deer” (OED). Though mostly used in perfumes, Albala (2003) notes its history as a culinary ingredient in early modern Europe, pointing to the fact that “[d]ragées, or candies scented with musk, were popular, as were pies and other savory dishes scented with musk” (p. 48). Musk was imported to Europe from Asia. For a history of the trade, see King (2017) pp. 85-146.


A popular seasoning in English cooking since time immemorial. Thirsk (2006) notes of Cromwell’s use of mustard in this recipe book, “like all the English, she favoured mustard for piquancy, and that was a home-grown herb (especially in East Anglia) that had the highest place in all English sauces” (p. 117).

Muskadine / Muskadoes 

Muscadine grapes, which have a sweet musky taste (OED). Parkinson (1629) writes that “[t]he white Muscadine Grape is a verie great Grape, sweete and firme, some of the bunches have weighed sixe pound, and some of the grapes halfe an ounce. The redde Muscadine is as great as the white, and chiefly differeth in colour” (p. 563). Evelyn includes the muskadine grape in his Kalendarium Hortense, or The Gard’ners Almanac (1666), noting that it is in its prime in England in July and August (pp. 73, 83). Wine made from muscadine grapes also appears as an ingredient in this collection. See Muscadine.


Refers to meat derived from sheep. According to Thirsk (2006), likely the most frequently consumed meat in early modern England (p. 240).

Naples bisket

See sugar bisket.

neats tongue (neats-tongue)

See tongue.


“The hard, oval, aromatic kernel of the seed of the evergreen tree Myristica fragrans” (OED). Native to the east Indonesian Maluku Islands, nutmeg was used routinely in English recipes throughout the early modern period. 


Lloyd (2015) notes that olives were imported to England from the Mediterranean and were used in cooking and on salads (p. 124). Olives figure as another foreign ingredient in Elizabeth Cromwell’s recipes.

onion (onyon, oynion)

A common and popular vegetable. Parkinson (1629) notes that they are used in a variety of ways: “sliced and put into pottage, or boyled and peeled and layde in dishes for sallets at supper or sliced and put into a water, for sawce for mutton or oysters, or into meate roasted being stuffed with Parsly, and so many waies that I cannot recount them, every one pleasing themselves, according to their order, manner or delight.” He also advises that “[t]he strong smell of Onions, and so also of Garlicke and Leekes, is quite taken away from offending the head or eyes, by the eating of Parsley leaves after them” (p. 512). 

orange (orange peel, pill of orange)

Large imports of oranges (as well as lemons) came to England from Spain. However, as the introduction notes, after the Anglo-Spanish War (1654-1660), the supply of these fruits was scarce and therefore they became extremely expensive (pp. 37-8). The availability of oranges in Elizabeth’s kitchen thus complicates the claim of her frugality. ‘Orange peel refers to the skin or rind of the fruit.


Candied orange peel, often used in pies (OED).


An enclosed compartment used for baking, commonly made of brick or stone and heated by hot coals or a wood-burning fire.


The use of plant oil expanded significantly in the sixteenth century. Olive oil and rapeseed oil were two of the most common. See Thirsk (2006), p. 42.


Oysters were a cheap food, consumed across classes. They were served in a number of different ways, often pickled or stewed. Butts (1599) recommends that they be eaten only “in those Moneths that haue the letter R. in their names” (p. 101), advice still given today, as their reproduction cycle in the summer months makes them less tasty.


Holme (1688) defines packthread as “2 small yarns or thrids [sic] twisted together” (p. 113).


A common herb in English kitchen gardens used to flavor and garnish food. There are accounts of parsley being used in English cooking since the fourteenth century, but it is also referred to in Old English texts (OED). Gerard (1633) describes parsley as “delightful to the taste, and agreeable to the stomacke” (p. 1014).


A popular root vegetable across classes. Holme (1688) notes that the month of November and the winter season were both emblematized by images of figures carrying parsnips (p. 409).


Partridges were often featured at special events of the elite. They were both expensive and yielded very little meat. A royal proclamation of February 1634 that set the cost of one partridge at one shilling (an amount equal to a full day’s wages of a London craftsman) attempted to keep the bird out of the hands of commoners; however, its result was also an increase in poaching and theft. King Charles I was particularly concerned about the depletion of partridges in England and, also in 1634, issued repeated warnings that poachers would be punished and have their dogs and nets destroyed. Similar orders issued by the Privy Council during the period show poaching of these game birds, along with other animals, to be a perennial problem faced by the aristocracy on their estates. See Lloyd (2015), pp. 112-5. After beheading the king that set such restrictions, Cromwell could enjoy partridges as he wished.  


I.e., “pastry.” Generally “a stiff but malleable mixture of flour moistened with water or milk and kneaded to make dough,” sometimes “with the addition of butter, lard, or other fatty substance . . . used to form a base and covering for baked dishes such as pies.” The word may also refer to “this material after being baked, in its edible form,” as in “puff past” (OED). See also puff past / puff-paste.


“A small pastry case folded to enclose a (usually savoury) filling, similar to a turnover” (OED). 


Peacocks had been eaten in England since at least the fifteenth century (OED). On its popularity as a banquet dish, see Tersigni (2020). 


The most common fruit in early modern England after apples, available in many different varieties. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 76, 297.

pease (green pease, sugar pease)

Green peas, also known as ‘early peas,’ are peas eaten before they have ripened. They became a fashionable food in the seventeenth century, a sign of the skill of the gardener able to acquire peas early, or of the clout of the person able to acquire them from such a skilled gardener. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 21, 174. Sugar peas are sweet peas that were rarely used until the mid-seventeenth century, when they became popular as part of a wider trend towards cultivating numerous varieties of peas. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 172-3, 291.


A quarter of a bushel. Equivalent now to eight dry quarts in the U.S. or two imperial gallons in Britain (OED).


Young bird.

penny loaf (penny loafe, half-penny-loaf, half penny stale loaf) 

Cheap bread that is often grated to add more substance to the dish. It frequently serves as a thickening agent in early modern pudding recipes.  

pennyroyal (penny-royal)

An herb of the mint family. One of the most commonly used herbs in the period. See Thirsk (2006), p. 149. 


Three types of pepper were commonly used by cooks in this period: white, black, and long. Bayley (1588) provides an overview of this spice along with its medicinal properties. Albala (2003) notes that pepper “was still a rare and exotic commodity at the start of the early modern period, but as the Portuguese opened trade routes directly to India, an increasing volume of [it] flowed into Europe, and more and more people began using it. In fact it eventually came to be known as ‘everyman’s spice’ because anyone could afford it” (p. 44). ‘Beaten pepper’ has been pounded into a powder.


According to Albala (2003), perch (along with carp, bream, and pike) were considered healthy “because of the great exercise they get swimming through fast rocky currents.” People also thought that these fish were easier to digest because of their “white delicate flesh” which suggested they “contained fewer ‘superfluous excrements’ – something oily fish were said to abound in” (p. 71). 


Pheasants “were firmly associated with class” in this period and enjoyed at special events of the elite. See Thirsk (2006), p. 250; Lloyd (2015), pp. 112-13.


In food preparation, to pick is to remove before use any impurities, such as stones, that may have gotten mixed into an ingredient (OED).

pie (pye)

In the seventeenth century, pies could be sweet or savory and were served not just as a dessert but often as the main meal if they contained meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables.

pig / pork

A popular meat across classes in the period. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 241-2. 


There were both wild and domesticated pigeons in seventeenth-century England. According to Lloyd (2015), a domestic pigeon was generally fattened and cost twice as much as a wild one (p. 92).


A small (usually earthenware) pot or pan (OED).


A variety of sweet apple (OED).


I.e., “pistachios.” Pistachios were imported from western Asian and southern Europe. While the dishes in this collection that contain pistachios are savory, these nuts were also an ingredient in creams, puddings, and other confectionery, sometimes prized for their green color in addition to their taste. 


An alcoholic beverage made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or liquor and flavored with sugar, herbs, and spices. Often drunk for medicinal purposes (OED).

pot (beef pot)

Pots were generally round and made out of cast brass. They often included a loop handle so that they could be suspended over the fire. See Buxton (2015), p. 125. A beef pot was a designated pot for boiling beef. Rabelais (1653) describes the “Fat of the Beef-pot, laid upon Bread” as part of a breakfast meal (p. 90).


In the seventeenth century, the word ‘potato’ was used to refer to both potatoes and what we today call ‘sweet potatoes.’ These different kinds of potatoes were native to the Americas and introduced to England in the sixteenth century (OED). English reception of the potato appears to have been favorable. Hawkins (1565) writes that “potatoes be the most delicate rootes that may be eaten, and doe far exceed . . . passeneps or carets (p. 27).Over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, cultivation of potatoes in Britain increased and the vegetable became an important food source. 


A thick soup or stew, typically made from vegetables, meat, and seasonings and boiled in water until soft (OED).


A unit of measurement chiefly for liquids. One pottle is the equivalent of half a gallon (OED). 


I.e., “powder.”


I.e., “pomegranate.” Pomegranates were imported to England beginning in the fifteenth century. They were made popular by Catherine of Aragon, who used them as her emblem. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 10, 21.


Sprinkled or seasoned with salt or spice either during the cooking process or separately, as a way to preserve meat for future use. 


Foodstuff (chiefly fruit) that has been cooked in sugar in order to preserve it. Thirsk (2006) notes that cooks preserved fruit in sugar syrup to last throughout the year and used these preserves to add flavor to dishes (p. 147). 


To prick means either to secure or fasten with a pin or skewer or to poke holes into something.


Dried plum, first imported to England during the fifteenth century from France and by the end of the sixteenth century, also from Damascus. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 10, 31, 41, 75, 298. Lloyd (2015) notes that prunes were an inexpensive fruit in 1640, costing 2d per pound (p. 122).  


May either refer to a stuffed stomach or intestine of an animal, a stuffing made of a mixture of minced meat, suet, oatmeal, seasoning, etc. and roasted within the body of the animal, or a boiled, steamed, or baked dish made with various sweet and (sometimes) savory ingredients (OED).  

puff past (puff-paste)

An older term for puff pastry. Thirsk (2006) notes that puff pastry grew in popularity over the course of the mid-to-late seventeenth century (p. 185). See also past.


A young domestic hen.


Large barrel or cask of varying capacity depending on the type of liquid stored in it (OED). 

quelque chose

“A fancy dish in cookery” (OED).


A fruit in the same family as apples and pears that must be cooked before eating.  


According to Thirsk (2006), rabbit meat was enjoyed by all classes during the early modern period, and the number of recipes for rabbit in this cookbook as well as in May (1660) testify to its popularity (pp. 242-3). However, pointing out its relatively high cost and low yield of meat in comparison to other options, Lloyd (2015) suggests that it was slow to lose its status as luxury item during the seventeenth century (pp. 86-7).

raisins (raisins of the sun, raisons of the sun)

Sun-dried grapes, which were first imported to England from Spain in great quantities in the fifteenth century. See Thirsk (2006), p. 298. 

red wine

Any reddish-colored wine. After about 1600, the term ‘claret’ was generally used for any type of red wine (OED). See also claret.


I.e., “raspberry.” In the seventeenth century, raspberries grew wild in England and were cultivated in gardens. Lady Margaret Hoby records in her diary on 1 November 1603 that “at this time we had in our gardens Rasberes fair sett againe.” 


I.e., “rivet.” “The liver of a fish” (OED).

Rhenish wine

Wine produced in Germany along the Rhine river. According to Ludington (2013), Rhenish wines were favored by the Cromwellian court (p. 20).


Native to Asia, rice was grown in Italy and Spain beginning in the fifteenth century. By the seventeenth century, it appears to have been an affordable luxury in England. See Albala (2003), pp. 26, 235. 

roll (roul of bread)

Holme (1688) notes that both white bread and manchet were sometimes made in the form of rolls (p. 86). See also bread and manchet.


I.e., “root vegetables,” such as onions, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and carrots.


Rosemary was used in English cooking since the late fourteenth century (OED). According to Thirsk (2006), Queen Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III, first popularized rosemary in England. “Faith and fashion spread so successfully,” she writes, “that already in 1598 the German visitor Paul Hentzner was remarking on rosemary hedges at Hampton Court and in the gardens of the well-to-do” (pp. 285-6). Parkinson (1629) notes the profusion of rosemary in England, “so well knowne through all our Land, being in euery womans garden” (p. 425).

rose-water (rosewater, rose water)

A flavored water made from steeping rose petals. It was commonly used as a flavoring in baked goods in Europe and America until the nineteenth century, when it was largely replaced by vanilla. 


I.e., “resin.” Turpentine, made from pine resin.

rump (*only on pages 75, 76, 87, 103)

​​ The upper hindquarters of an animal (OED).


I.e., “rundlet.” A cask or vessel of varying capacity used especially for wine and spirits (OED).


I.e., “rennet.” May refer either to curdled milk taken from the fourth stomach of a calf and used for curdling milk for cheese or to a plant substitute used to curdle milk (OED). Gerard (1633) identifies two herbs used for this purpose by the people of Cheshire (where he claims that the best cheese is made) – saxifrage (p. 1048) and ladies bedstraw (p. 1128). 

sack (sherry sack)

The name for a class of white wines imported from the Canary Islands and Spain (OED). Sack was a popular drink in early modern England among those who could afford it and was often mulled (warmed and mixed with spices) or sweetened with sugar. 


Saffron was used in English cooking from the fourteenth century, mainly to give dishes a golden coloring. In England, it was cultivated primarily in the town of Walden in Essex, which commonly came to be called Saffron Walden. The expensive price of saffron (both in the early modern period and today) has to do with the intricate process of harvesting it rather than its rarity. Only very small amounts of saffron are used in recipes. See Albala (2003), p. 46; Thirsk (2006), p. 6.


A commonly used herb in English cooking, which Thirsk (2006) notes was also valued because it was believed to be especially healthful and to sharpen the mind (pp. 27-8, 54). 


I.e., “salad.” Salads became more and more in vogue in early modern England due to the increasing incorporation of continental culinary styles, which favored salads much more than traditional English cooking had. In addition to salad greens, these dishes often included meat or fish. For a detailed list of salad ingredients, see Evelyn (1699). 

sallet oyl

A type of olive oil. Thirsk (2006) notes that “[t]he trouble taken by the gentry to get salad oil . . . suggests that it was another item of food that varied greatly in quality, and the gentry were very finicky about it” (p. 322).


Walton (1676) refers to the salmon as “the King of fresh-water fish” (p. 140). He also claims that the salmon found in England is the tastiest and the fattest (p. 143). 

salmon peel 

A young salmon.


Salt was very important in early modern cuisine as both a seasoning and a preservative. The two main types of salt were rock salt, which was fine and white and used as table salt, and sea salt, which was coarser and greyer than rock salt, and used to preserve meat and fish. See Thirsk (2006), p. 318. Collins (1682) details the processes for making different kinds of salt in various regions of England in the period. 

samphiere (sampiere) 

The leaves of samphire, which have a salty flavor and were often pickled in barrels and sold commercially. See Thirsk (2006), p. 197. Samphire was a commonly used herb in English cooking in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In England, the plant grows on rocks by the sea (OED). 

sauce (sawce)

According to Thirsk (2006), the most pronounced prejudices surrounding food in the period can be viewed in the sauces that people used to accompany dishes. While sauces that consisted primarily of butter, herbs, a little vinegar, or mustard were seemingly innocuous, sauces that combined a variety of unusual or unfamiliar ingredients – such as the type of sauces dished over meats beginning in the seventeenth century – often encountered adverse reactions (pp. 263, 323). See also green sauce.

saucer (sawcer)

A deep plate used to hold sauces. 

sawsedge (sassage)

I.e., “sausage.”


I.e., “scallops.” As Albala (2003) notes, in the early modern period, as is the case today, it was believed that scallops were best eaten in months that contained the letter “R” (p. 75), a recommendation that Butts (1599) also gives for oysters (p. 101). In the summer months, most of the energy of the scallop goes toward reproduction, which makes their meat less tasty.

scorch (scotch, only on page 75)

Slash or cut across (OED).


I.e., “squeeze.”

scum (scumming dish)

I.e., “skim.” Liquid was ‘scummed’ with a ‘scumming dish,’ or long handled flat disc, to remove fat or other impurities.  


Torriano (1662) describes shallots as “an Hermofradit plant twixt Garlick and an Onion” (p. 181). Blake (1664) defines the shallot as “Spanish Galick,” emphasizing its foreign origin. He also provides instructions for propagating it in England (p. 121).


In the seventeenth century, shrimp was believed to be an appropriate dish for those with easily upset stomachs or indigestion. 


I.e., “simmer.”

sinew (sinnew)


sippets (sippits) 

Small pieces of toast or fried bread used to soak up (or sop up) sauce, gravy, or other liquids, hence the alternative name ‘sops.’ Holme (1688) specifies that sippets are “slices of Manchet” (p. 85).


A deep pan, usually made of cast iron, with a three foot long handle so that it could be inserted into the fire. See Buxton (2015), p. 125.

skin (only the uses of these words on pages 56 and 58)

Intestines of an animal that have been cleaned out and serve as natural casings.  


Holme (1688) includes “Skink” in his glossary of “Dish-Meats,” defining it as “a kind of Pottage made of Beef Broth with sweet Herbs, sorts of Spices, Marrow Bones, and thickned with grated Bread” (p. 85).


A type of water parsnip erstwhile grown in Europe (OED). Thirsk (2006) notes that skirrets were popular in the seventeenth century and hypothesizes that “since the name is thought to derive from a Dutch word, we can reasonably guess that it came to England from the Netherlands” (p. 288).


I.e., “slops.” “A liquid or semi-liquid food of a weak, unappetizing kind” (OED).

small beer

See ale.


A type of wildfowl, which along with woodcocks and larks, were the most popular birds in seventeenth century England. They were particularly expensive for their size. See Lloyd (2015), p. 93.


Holme (1688) defines a “[s]op” as “[t]oasted Bread steeped in Sack, Wine, or Ale, etc.” (p. 84).


A leafy green that Albala (2003) notes was especially appreciated in the early modern period for its sour taste (p. 38). According to Gerard (1633), sorrel could be found growing both wildly and in gardens in England in the seventeenth century (p. 398). See also green sauce, for which sorrel was a common ingredient. 


“To prepare or preserve (meat, fish, etc.) by steeping in some kind of pickle, esp. one made with vinegar or other tart liquor” (OED). 


The minute eggs of a fish (OED). 

spinage (spinnage)

I.e., “spinach.” Gerard (1633) describes the ease with which spinach could be grown in English gardens (p. 330). In addition to using it in a variety of dishes, Parkinson (1629) notes that thanks to the Dutch, the English have also learned to “stew the herbe in a pot or pipkin, without any other moisture then it owne, and after the moisture is a little pressed from it . . . put butter, and little spice unto it, and make therewith a dish that many delight to eat of” (p. 496).


As a noun, a “spit” is “a cooking implement consisting of a slender sharp-pointed rod of metal or wood, used for thrusting into or through meat which is to be roasted at a fire” (OED). The verb “to spit” means to put something on this device. 


Holme (1688) defines steaks as “the Breast, Loin, or Neck of Veal or Mutton cut into pieces, the Bones with the Flesh.” The cook then “either Boil[s], Fr[ies], or make[s] them into Pies, seasoning them with Salt, Pepper, sweet herbs minced, Nutmeg, Ginger, &c.” (pp. 84-5).


I.e., “stoke-hole.” The hole in a furnace through which the fire is fed and tended (OED).


To remove the string from a bean pod, also referred to as ‘trimming’ beans. For a demonstration of how this is done, see Rainbow Gardens (2018).

strong broth

See broth, barely-broth, beef broth, broth of the cock, mutton broth, strong broth, strong mutton broth, white broth.  


A large fish for which the Severn estuary, along with the Thames and the Trent, was esteemed. In England in the sixteenth century, the monarch was the first recipient of any sturgeon caught, a decree dating back to Edward I. See Thirsk (2006), pp. 20, 23; Bolster (2008), p. 37; Hoffman (1996), p. 649. 

suet (beef-suet, beef suet )

A form of cooking fat taken from around the loins or kidneys of an animal (OED). Suet is a common pudding ingredient, where it joins with flour or grated bread to form a pastry-like substance and acts as a barrier to keep the water in which the ingredients are boiled from entering the pudding.


While sugar was a common ingredient in English kitchens, the means by which it found its way to these locations were not particularly sweet. England entered the Atlantic sugar trade in the mid-seventeenth century, setting up plantations in Barbados and Jamaica dependent on the work of British convicts and West African slaves. Richard Ligon, a Royalist who fled England during the Civil War, sought to regain prosperity by purchasing half of a sugar plantation in Barbados in 1648. His account of life on the island, as well as the whole process of refining sugar, was published in A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados (1657). Cromwell himself was responsible for England’s acquisition of Jamaica, which he invaded in 1655 during the Anglo-Spanish War.  

sugar bisket (Naples bisket)

The term ‘bisket’ transformed during the early modern period from the name for a twice-cooked bread in the sixteenth century to a fashionable variety of sweet desserts. Often, these biskets were light, crispy cookies. As Thirsk (2006) notes, “[b]y the 1650s bisket had a firm place in the cookbooks, and its varied names and ingredients pointed to some foreign influences that had made it more popular still” (p. 110). A Naples bisket is a simple cookie made of eggs, flour, sugar, and rosewater that resembles a lady finger and is often used as an ingredient in other desserts, either to add texture and solidity to a mixture or as a base to absorb moisture, as in a trifle.

sweatmeat (sweat-meat)

“Sweet food, such as sugared cakes or pastry, confectionary; preserved or candied fruits, sugared nuts, etc.” (OED).

sweet bread (sweet-bread, sweatbread)

The pancreas or thymus of an animal (typically a calf or lamb) used for food.

sweet herb (sweat herb, sweet hearb)

Herbs with a natural sweetness, such as marjoram, rosemary, thyme, pennyroyal, hyssop, mint, or sage. 

sweet marjoram (sweet marjorum, sweet-marjorum)

An easily-foraged herb commonly found in early modern English cooking, valued for its sweet smell and purported medicinal properties. According to Gerard (1633), sweet marjoram was a remedy for colds and other diseases (p. 665).

sweet sauce

Sauce sweetened with sugar. In a recipe for sauce for a leg of mutton, The Young Cooks Monitor (1683) advises its readers, “if you like sweet Sauce, then sweeten it to your taste” (p. 95).

I.e., “syrup.” “A thick sweet liquid; esp. one consisting of a concentrated solution of sugar in water (or other medium, e.g. the juices of fruits)” (OED).


A crust of baked pastry containing a filling and sometimes enclosed. The tarts in this collection are all sweet, though there are recipes for savory tarts in this period as well.  


A cask or vessel holding “an old measure of capacity equivalent to one third of a pipe (usually 42 gallons old wine measure)” (OED).

thyme (time, tyme) 

An aromatic herb that grows wildly in dry banks and pastures in Britain (OED). According to Thirsk (2006), it was one of the most commonly used herbs in the early modern period (p. 54). Gerard (1633) writes that common thyme, a type of garden thyme most commonly used in cooking, is “so well knowne it needeth no description” (p. 573).


Holme (1688) defines toasts as “shives of Bread, dried, and made hard and hot before a Fire” (p. 85).

tongue (neats tongue, neats-tongue)

The tongue of a cow, bull, or ox. See Holme (1688), p. 87.


May refer to either a cutting or slicing instrument such as a knife or “[a] flat piece of wood, square or circular, on which meat was served and cut up; a plate or platter of wood, metal, or earthenware” (OED).


A freshwater fish, of which, according to Walton (1653), the red or yellow are the best (p.91).

turkey (turky)

Turkeys were introduced to England from North America in the early sixteenth century and subsequently raised on farms. See Thirsk (2006), p. 254. Lloyd (2015) notes that turkeys were often gifted among households in the period (pp.144-5, 166).

turnip (Hackney turnip)

Parkinson (1629) notes that “[b]eing boyled in salt broth, [all turnips] eate most kindly, and by reason of their sweetnesse are much esteemed, and often seene as a dish at good mens tables: but the greater quantitie of them are spent at poore mens feasts” (p. 509). The London borough of Hackney was famous for its turnips. As Gerard (1633) writes, a “small Turnep groweth by Hackney, in a sandy ground; and those that are brought to Cheape-side market from that Village are the best that euer I tasted” (p. 232). Turnips remained popular in England not only for their flavor but also for their low cost. Tryon (1695) describes how turnips may be combined with grain to bake a cheap, flavorful bread and can also be given to poultry and horses (p. 52). For an extensive discussion of the turnip in early modern England, see Dolan (2020), pp. 45-80.


The mammary gland of certain female animals, such as the cow. May (1660) provides various recipes for udder prepared in different ways (pp. 26-7, 98, 107-8, 111-12). It is often either stuffed or cut up and mixed with other ingredients and spices to make puddings or pies. Often the same recipes for udder could also be used for neats tongue and/or sweetbreads. 

veal (udder of a leg of veal)

The meat of a calf. Lloyd (2015) notes that while the expense of veal meant that it was usually found in the kitchens of those of higher class and often considered as fitting cultivated tastes, poorer sorts also sought out the tender meat, either on the black market or by means of theft (p. 107). Udder of a leg of veal refers to what is called the noix, defined as the “part of a leg of veal to which the udder adheres,” which is served together with the udder. See Francatelli (1846), p. 160. 


While the term “venison” can refer to the flesh of any game animal, such as deer, boar, hare, or rabbit, Manwood (1665) indicates that it most commonly refers to that of “the Red and Fallow Deer” (p. 113). Sumptuary laws restricted the eating of venison to nobility and royalty. Manwood (1665) states that “[h]unting in Forests, Chases, and such like priviledged places of pleasure, is only for Kings, Princes, and great worthy personages, and not for mean men of mean calling or condition” although commoners could legally kill animals if they were caught “in their wildeness,” or on land not owned by the crown (p. 107).

venison sauce (venison sawce)

May (1660) indicates that venison sauce is “made of claret wine, wine vinegar, and tostes of houshold bread strained with the wine through a strainer, with some beat cinamon and ginger” (p. 113). This recipe is provided as part of one for neats feet. Various recipes for meat dishes in the seventeenth century include instructions to serve the meat with venison sauce, even when the meat in question is not venison. Hartman (1682) provides the recipe “To make a Shoulder of Mutton like Venison” in which the mutton is served with venison sauce (p. 32). Presumably, this sauce was added to these more common kinds of meat to imitate the richness of venison, which was more expensive. 

verjuice (verjuyce, grape-verjuice, grape verjuyce)

French in origin, the word ‘verjuice’ refers to “[t]he acid juice of green or unripe grapes, crab-apples, or other sour fruit, expressed and formed into a liquor; formerly much used in cooking, as a condiment, or for medicinal purposes” (OED). Verjuice was a popular ingredient in medieval and early modern dishes throughout Western Europe, but its role in modern cuisine has been supplanted by lemon juice. 

viol glass

I.e., “vial.” “A vessel of a small or moderate size used for holding liquids” (OED).

vinegar (beer-vinegar, beer vineger, elder vinegar, wine vinegar, white wine vinegar)

While housewives in London would have been able to buy vinegar at the market (and then add berries, flowers, or other kinds of botanical ingredients to flavor it according to their taste), most made their own vinegar by using leftover ale or beer or wine that had gone sour, such as the beer vinegar and wine vinegar referred to in this collection. See Thirsk (2006), p. 51. Each household, then, had a vinegar with its own distinctive flavor. Elder vinegar was made with the berries and flowers of the elder tree. May (1660) also provides several different recipes for vinegar in his cookbook (pp. 140-2). Vinegar was used to flavor dishes and to preserve fruits, vegetables, and meats. 


“A very light thin crisp cake, baked between wafer-irons” (OED). 

walm (qualm)

Holme (1688) defines “walm” as “a little seething or boiling up of any Liquor in a Pot” (p. 85).


A variety of pear (like the Black Worcester pear) that is hard and grainy, and so is not meant to be eaten raw. It is used exclusively for cooking. 


Some recipes in this collection specifically call for fair water, running water, or spring water, but usually the word ‘water’ simply appears on its own. Fair water is an ingredient commonly mentioned in medical texts and works of natural history as well.   On the early modern concern with the capacities of different types of water, see Tryon (1696) and Allen (1699).

Westphalia ham

According to Holme (1688), “[t]he sweetest of Bacons, is that which is said to come from Westphalia, because there they are fed with Walnuts and Chestnuts; many of our English Cheats with their feeding of Swine, with Pease, Corn and Acorns (to sweeten the Flesh) besides their Art used to colour them red, have come very near the Westphalia Ham, both in colour and taste, yet could never attain the full Skill, and the reason is very plain; for that as we take for Westphalia Bacon, is no other than the Ham of a Cub, or young Bear, the delicate taste of whose Flesh, our Bacon cannot attain unto by any Art” (p. 293). Today Westphalia ham is still considered a delicacy. 


I.e., “whey.” A liquid byproduct of cheese, whey separates from the solid curds as the milk curdles. Whey could be used as an ingredient in other recipes (for bread or whey butter) or as animal feed or fertilizer. Whey was also a popular drink. 

whitebread (white bread, white-loaf)

Holme (1688) describes white bread as bread “in Loaves, Roulls or Cakes: which is of pure fine Flower” (p. 86). In London, Thirsk (2006) notes, refined white bread was quite common from the sixteenth century onwards; however, it was novel and perhaps most desired by those who lived in other regions (p. 230). 


A cream-based dessert custard, which may be held together with bread, flour, eggs, marrow, and/or fruits. Holme (1688) describes it as “a kind of Custard, [that] is made in a Crust or Dish, with these compositions of Cream, Eggs, Pulp of Apples, Sugar, Mace, Cinnamon, and Sippets of White Bread” (p. 85). The Compleat Cook (1694) lists a variety of variants on this recipe in the section “White-pots and Fools” (pp. 337-40). White pots were especially associated with Devonshire. 

white wine (white white) 

Any yellowish-colored wine, chiefly differentiated in this period from Claret or Sack. 


Since the early 1500s, with the dissolution of the monasteries and a cooling climate in the northern hemisphere making domestic production of wine increasingly difficult, wine was generally imported to England from countries like France and Spain and was heavily taxed. This meant that wine was a drink accessible only to those with the money to buy it, and it became associated with the upper classes while beer and ale became associated with the working class. During the English Civil War, poems and songs linked wine politically to the monarchy and the Royalist cause, while beer and ale were derided as Parliamentarian and low-brow. Of course, the popularity of different beverages did not fall neatly into class divisions, and Cromwell’s court purchased plenty of French and Spanish wine during his rule. For more on the history of wine in seventeenth century England, see Ludington (2013), pp. 15-45. For a discussion of English wine-making efforts in the period, see Dolan (2020), pp. 81-121.

winter savory (winter savoury, winter-savoury, winte-savoury, wintersavory) 

An aromatic herb native to southern Europe but hardy enough to grow in English gardens year-round. Parkinson (1629) notes that the powder of wintersavory is often used to “breade . . . meate” (p. 475). According to Thirsk (2006), savory was one of the most commonly used herbs in the early modern period (p. 54).  


One of the most expensive yet popular types wildfowl in seventeenth-century England. See Lloyd (2015), p. 93.