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Advice Books, Manuals and Journals for Women, 1450-1837

Part 6: Sources from the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds


The Compleat City and Country Cook: or, Accomplish’d Housewife.

Charles Carter, 1732. Reel 5.

“ … The Design of this Piece is rather to promote good Housewifery than Luxury, not so much to prompt to Epicurism, and gratifying capricious and fantastical Palates, as to instruct how to order those Provisions our Island is furnished with, in a wholesome, natural, decent way, and elegant Manner, yet not in so rude and homely one, but that they may be befitting the Table of a Nobleman or a Prince: to order them so that they may delight the Eye, and gratify a reasonable Palate as well as satisfy the Appetite, and conduce to Health at the same time that they do to the Nourishment of the Body.

It gives not Directions so much for Foreign Dishes, but those we have at home; and indeed, we have no need of them, nor their Methods of Cookery whose Scarcity of what we enjoy, obliges them to make a Vertue of Necessity ...

Our Island is blest with an uncommon Plenty and Variety of most, nay, I may venture to say all the substantial Necessaries of Life; the produce both of the Land and Sea, whether Flesh, Fowl or Fish, and also Fruits, edible Roots, Plants and Herbs, the Product of our Fields, Meadows, Orchards and Gardens, in such Plenty that scarce any of our neighbouring Nations can boast the like …”

The Book of Fruits and Flowers.

Anon, 1653. C Anne Wilson Introduction and Glossary. Reel 2.

“Of Straw-Berries. A Tart of Straw-Berries.
Pick and wash your Straw-Berries clean, and put them in the past one by another, as thick as you can, then take Sugar, Cinamon, and a little Ginger finely beaten, and well mingled together, cast them upon the Straw Berries, and cover them with the lid finely cut into Lozenges, and so let them bake a quarter of an houre, then take it out, strewing it with a little Cinamon, and Sugar, and so serve it.”

The English Physician enlarged with Three Hundred and Sixty-Nine Medicines made of English Herbs.

Nicholas Culpeper, 1790. Reel 8.

“Bilberries, called by some Whorts, and Whortle-Berries.
Descript. Of these I shall only speak of two sorts, which are common in England, viz. the black and red berries. And first of the black.

The small bush creepeth along upon the ground, scarce rising half a yard high, with divers small dark green leaves set in the green branches, not always one against the other, and a little dented about the edges; at the foot of the leaves come forth small, hollow, pale, bluish-coloured flowers, the brims ending in five points, with a reddish thread in the middle, which pass into small round berries of the bigness and colour of juniper berries, but of a purple, sweetish, sharp taste; the juice of them giveth a purplish colour in their hands and lips that eat and handle them, especially if they break them …

The Red Bilberry, or Whortle-Bush, riseth up like the former having sundry hard leaves, like the Box-tree leaves … as in the former , come forth divers round, reddish, sappy berries, when they are ripe, of a sharp taste. The root runneth in the ground, as in the former, but the leaves of this abide all winter.
Place. The first groweth in forests, on the heaths, and suchlike barren places. The red grows in the north parts of this land, as Lancashire, Yorkshire, &c.

Time. They flower in March and April, and the fruit of the black is ripe in July and August.

Government and Virtues. They are under the dominion of Jupiter. It is a pity they are used no more in physic than they are. The black Bilberries are good in hot agues, and to cool the heat of the liver and stomach; they do somewhat bind the belly, and stay vomitings and loathings; the juice of the berries made in a syrup, or the pulp made into a conserve with sugar, is good for the purposes aforesaid, as also for an old cough, or an ulcer in the lungs, or other diseases therein. The red Whorts are more binding, and stop women’s courses, spitting of blood, or any other flux of blood or humours, being used as well outwardly as inwardly.”

Mrs Mary Eales’s Receipts.

Mary Eales, 1718. Reel 9.

“To preserve Rasberries. [sic]

Take the Juice of red and white Rasberries; (if you have no white Rasberries, use half Codling-Jelly) put a Pint and half of the Juice to two Pound of Sugar; let it boil, scum it, and then put in three Quarters of a Pound of large Rasberries; let 'em boil very fast, 'till they jelly and are very clear; don’t take 'em off the Fire, for that will make 'em hard; a Quarter of an Hour will do 'em, after they begin to boil fast; then put 'em in Pots or Glasses: Put the Rasberries in first, then strain the Jelly from the Seeds, and put it to the Rasberries when they begin to cool, stir 'em, that they may not all lye upon the Top of the Glasses; and when they are cold, lay Papers close to 'em; first wet the Paper, then dry it in a Cloth.”

“To make Rasberry Clear-Cakes.

Take half Rasberries and half white Currants, almost cover 'em with Water; boil 'em very well a Quarter of an Hour, then run 'em thro’ a Jelly-bag, and to every Pint of Jelly have ready a Pound and half of fine Sugar sifted thro’ an Hair Sieve; set the Jelly on the Fire, let it just boil, then shake in your Sugar, stir it well, and set it on the Fire a second Time, 'till the Sugar is melted; then lay a Strainer in a broad Pan to prevent the Scum, and fill it into Pots: When it is candy’d, turn it on Glass, as other Clear-Cakes.”

Acetaria. A Discourse of Sallets.

John Evelyn, 1706. Reel 10

“Cucumber, Cucumis; tho’ very cold and moist, the most approved Sallet alone, or in Composition, of all the Vinaigrets, to sharpen the Appetite, and cool the Liver, &c, if rightly prepar’d; that is, by rectifying the vulgar Mistake of altogether extracting the Juice, in which it should rather be soak’d: Nor ougth it to be over Oyl’d, too much abating of its grateful Acidity, and palling the Taste; from a contrariety of Particles: Let them therefore be pared, and cut in thin Slices, with a Clove or two of Onion to correct the Crudity, macerated in the Juice, often turn’d and moderately drain’d. Others prepare them, by shaking the Slices between two Dishes, and dress them with very little Oyl, well beaten, and mingled with the Juice of Limon, Orange, or Vinegar, Salt and Pepper. Some again, (and indeed the most approv’d) eat them as soon as they are cut, retaining their Liquor, which being exhausted (by the former Method) have nothing remaining in them to help the Concoction. Of old they * boil’d the Cucumber, and paring off the Rind, eat them with Oyl, Vinegar, and Honey; Sugar not being so well known. Lastly, the Pulp in Broth is greatly refreshing, and may be mingl’d in most Sallets, without the least damage, contrary to the common Opinion; it not being long, since Cucumber, however dress’d, was thought fit to be thrown away, being accounted little better than Poyson. Tavernier tells us, that in the Levant, if a Child cry for something to Eat, they give it a raw Cucumber instead of Bread. The young ones may be boil’d in White-Wine. The smaller sort (known by the name of Gerkins) muriated with the Seeds of Dill, and the Mango Pickle are for the Winter.

*Cucumis elixus delicatior, innocentior. Athenæus.”

“Dandelion, Dens Leonis, Condrilla: Macerated in several Waters, to extract the bitterness; tho’ somewhat opening, is very wholesome, and little inferior to Succory, Endive, &c. The French Country-People eat the Roots; and ‘twas with this homely Sallet, the Good-Wife Hecate entertain’d Theseus.”

The Servant’s Directory, or Housekeeper’s Companion.

Hannah Glasse, 1760. Reel 12.

The Chamber Maid.

“To wash Thread and Cotton Stockings.
Give them two Lathers and a Boil, blueing the water well; wash them out of the Boil, but don’t rince them; then turn the wrong side outwards, and fold them very smooth and even, laying them one upon another, and a Weight on them to press them smooth; let them lie a quarter of an Hour, then hang them up to dry, and when quite so, roll them up tight, but don’t iron them, and they will look like new.”

To wash worsted Stockings.
Wash them clean in two cool Lathers, but don’t rub any Sope on them; then rince them well, turn and fold them as you do the Cotton Stockings, then dry and roll them up tight.”

“To wash Silk Stockings.
Beat up a clean Lather, and when cold wash then; the second Lather the same, only blue it well, and wash them well out of that Lather, don’t rince, but turn them, then turn them, pull them smooth, press them, dry, and roll them up tight.

Take care never to lay any of your Stockings in soke before you wash them, it spoils the colour of them.”

“For chapped Hands.
Take Small-beer and Butter, heat them, wash your Hands, wipe them, and draw on a pair of Gloves; this will make them fine and smooth, and is proper to be done every Night if your Hands are apt to chap. A quarter of a pint of Beer, and a piece of Butter as big as a Nutmeg is enough; but be sure you cut the Palms of the Hand of the Gloves, which then won’t hurt you, and you may lie in them.”

The Modern Family Receipt Book.

Mrs Mary Holland, 1825. Reel 14

“To discover whether Flour be adulterated with Whitening or Chalk.

Mix with the flour some juice of lemon or good vinegar; if the flour be pure they will remain together at rest, but if there be a mixture of whitening or chalk, a fermentation , or working like yeast, will ensue. The adulterated meal is whiter and heavier than the good. The quantity that an ordinary tea-cup will contain has been found to weigh more than the quantity of genuine flour by four drachms and nineteen grains troy.”

“Improved method of salting Butter and Meat.

Best common salt two parts, saltpetre one part, sugar one part; beat them up together, so that they may be completely blended. To every sixteen ounces of butter add one ounce of the composition; mix it well in the mass, and close it up for use. It should not be used for a month, that it may be thoroughly incorporated. Butter, thus cured, has been kept for three years perfectly sweet. Keep the air from it, or it spoils. Cover it with an oiled paper, and a board on that.

To cure meat, add one ounce of the above composition to every sixteen ounces of meat. It must be very well rubbed into the meat. You cannot have it too finely powdered, nor too well rubbed into the meat.”

“Method of curing bad Tub Butter.

A quantity of tub butter was brought to market in the West Indies, which, on opening, was found to be very bad, and almost stinking. A native of Pennsylvania undertook to cure it, which he did, in the following manner:

He started the tubs of butter in a large quantity of hot water, which soon melted the butter; he then skimmed it off as clean as possible, and worked it over again in a churn, and, with the addition of salt and fine sugar, the butter was sweet and good.”

The Country Housewife’s Garden.

W. Lawson, 1676. Reel 15.

“Of the Summer Garden.

These herbs and flowers are comely and durable for squares & Cnots, and all to be set at Michael-tide, or somewhat before; that they may be setled in, and taken with the ground before winter, though they may be Set, especially sown, in the Spring.

Roses of all sorts, (spoken of in the Orchard) must be set. Some use to set slips and twine them, which sometimes, but seldome thrive at all.

Rosemary, Lavender, Bee-flowers, Isop, Sage, Time, Cowslips, Piony, Daisies, Clove-Gilliflowers, Pinks, Southernwood, Lillies, of all which hereafter.”

Of the Kitchen Garden.

Though your Garden for flowers doth in a sort peculiarly challenge to it self a perfect, and exquisite form to the eyes, yet you may not altogether neglect this, where your herbs for the pot do grow: And therefore some here make comely borders with the herbs aforesaid; the rather, because abundance of Roses and Lavender, yield much profit, and comfort to the senses: Rose water, Lavender, the one cordial (as also the Violets, Burrage, and Bugloss) the other reviving the spirits by the sense of smelling, both most durable for smell, both in flowers and water: you need not here raise your beds, as in the other Garden, because Summer towards, will not let too much wet annoy you, and these herbs require more moisture: yet must you have your beds divided, that you may go betwixt to weed, and somewhat of form would be expected: To which it availeth that you place your herbs of biggest growth, by walls, or in borders, as Fennel, &c. and the lowest in the middest, as Saffron, Strawberries, Onions, &c.”

A Treatise on Tobacco, Tea, Coffee, and Chocolate.

Simon Pauli, translated by Dr James, 1746. Reel 20.

“A Treatise on Tea.
I have hitherto strenuously endeavoured to preserve the Health of Europeans, by discarding and exploding the Abuse of Tobacco: But if any one should ask my Sentiments of Tea, which some Years ago began to be imported from Asia, and the Eastern Countries, and which has Qualities quite contrary to Tobacco, since it prevents Sleep, and therefore is by some Authors highly commended as an excellent Cephalic, and very grateful to the Viscera, subservient to Nutrition: I answer, that no satisfactory Reply can be made, till we know the Genus and Species of Tea, and to what Species of European Herbs it may be referred or compared; for Tobacco is by us called the Peruvian Hyosciamius, but we give no Name of any of our Plants to Tea: Nay, it is not known, whether Tea is what the Greeks call ποα, an Herb, or Οαμν?σχιον, a Shrub, which Words, according to Ruellius, Morantha, and others, are so confounded by Dioscorides, Theophrastus, and other Botanists, as to occasion great Disputes among the Learned. But the Authors who have most faithfully collected whatever has been wrote upon Tea, either in the Spanish, French, Latin, English, or Dutch Languages, are Nicolaus Tulpius, and Nicolaus Trigautius, from the Works of whom I shall enquire,

1st, Of what Kind and Species the Herb Tea is ?

2nd, Whether Tea is only the Produce of Asia, and whether it is ever found in Europe, or not ? And,

3rd, Which of the European Herbs may be most properly used in its Stead.

Tulpius, then, speaks in the following Manner: “In the East Indies nothing is more common than drinking the Decoction of an Herb, which the Chinese call Thee, and the Japonese, Tchia. As my accounts of this Plant were received from the best and most impartial Authors, I shall willingly hand them down to Posterity…” ”

The Female Economist; or, A Plain System of Cookery.

Mrs Smith, 1810. Reel 24.

“Cookery for the Sick.


Cut a pound of lean beef into pieces, pour a pint of boiling water over it, and put it on the fire to raise the scum. Skim it clean, let it boil ten minutes, strain it off, and let it settle. Pour it clean from the settling, and it will be fit for use. Boil it longer if wanted very strong.

Veal Broth.

Take two pounds of scrag of veal, and put to it two quarts of water, a large piece of upper-crust of bread, one blade of mace, and a little parsley tied with a thread. Cover it close; let it boil two hours very slowly. Skim it occasionally.


Skin a fowl, pick off all the fat, and break the bones to pieces with a rolling pin. Put it into two quarts of water, wth a large crust of bread and a blade of mace. Let it boil softly till it is as good as you would have it, which will probably require five or six hours. Pour it off, then put to it a quart more of boiling water, and cover it close. Let it boil softly till it is good, then strain it off, and season it with a little salt. An old fowl will make good broth.”



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