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Receipts of Pastry and Cookery for the use of his Scholars by Edward Kidder

Receipts of Pastry and Cookery for the use of his Scholars by Ed Kidder is one of the earliest cookbooks with a surviving script. Once you get past the use of 'old English' in the text you will find it remarkably useful.

The book was handwritten and published around the beginning of the 18th Century by a London pastry chef called Edward Kidder. While we do not have a copy of the book, we found an electronic copy on the University of Pensylvania website and enjoyed scanning through the pages of well-preserved writing.

The book starts with recipes for meatballs with the second recipe being for Savory Balls. We have changed the English a little, for example converting 'ye' to 'the' and 'wth' to 'with' and added some punctuation to make it more readable.

'Take part of a leg of lamb or veal & mince it small with the same quantity of beef suet, a little lean bacon, sweet herbs a shallot and an anchovy beat it in a mortar till tis as smooth as wax season it with savory spice & make it in to little balls---'

Notice that he provides the recipe for making the balls but not any instruction on how to cook them!

There follows many recipes for dishes such as stuffed leg of lamb, various pies and puddings, sausages and even an intriguing recipe for Ponpetone which we first thought was a variation on the Italian polpettone which are small meatballs, but this is much more elaborate:

'Take a good fillet of veal & mince it small with the same quantity of beef suet beat it wth an egg or 2 to bind it season it wth savory spice make it in to the form of a thick round pye & fill it thus lay in thin slices of bacon squab pidgeons sliced sweetbreads tops of asparragus mushrooms yolks of hard eggs the tender ends of shiverd pallats & cocks combs boyld blanchd & slicd'

A recipe for syllabub and a posset recipe is very similar to those made today and shows that the transition from a drink as known in the Middle Ages had already been made by the beginning of the 18th Century.

'A Whipt Sillabub Take a pt of cream wth a spoonfull of orange flower water 2 or 3 ounces of fine sugar the juice of a lemon the white of 3 eggs wisk these up together & having in your glasses rhennish wine & sugar & clarret & sugar lay on the froth wth a spoon heapt up as leight as you can A Sack Posset Take 14 eggs leave out half the whites & beat them wth a quarter of a pd of white sugar orringoe root slicd very fine thin wth a quarter of a pt of sack Mix it well together set in on the fier & keep it stirring all one way whenn tis scalding hott let another whilst you stirr it pour into it a qt of cream boyling hott wth a grated nutmeg boyld in it clap a hott pye plate on it let it stand a quarter of an hour'

Of course the word sack here is used for sherry but we have tried this recipe using lemon juice instead of sherry and it works even better.

The recipes are interesting and provide a starting point for researching ingredients in common use at the time.

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