Category Archives: The 17th century

Inventing Coffee Cake

Do You REALLY Live Here?

My Life As A Pilgrim

(the title of my yet to be written memoir….)

Chapter Six

Travel, travel back in time……..

And then there was the day we invented coffee cake.

Since most of Europe wasn’t all that into coffee in 1627, it’s really much more impressive then it sounds.

But we were young…..and we knew so little

me 1981 Joe Carlin

Seriously, young. What I looked like c. 1981.

baking bread Jean-François_Millet_1854 Kroller-Muller Museum

What I thought I looked like….Millet, for want of a 17th century role model (then – remember – no internet!)

It started out simply as baking.


We baked and baked and baked. We baked just about everyday. We learned a lot about bread very quickly. But we did not know that there were actual 17th century instructions for bread. And we had the assumptions of the 1970’s – remember the Bi-Centennial? – to guide us.


We didn’t know about this recipe. No internet. Not that many books on food history.

Basic bread – Four ingredients.

Flour. Water. Salt. Leaven.

We got it.

'Still life with a glass of Rhine wine, bread and fruits' by Sebastian Stosskopf (Alsatian painter, 1597-1657), 1644

We made bread that looked like the bread in the 17th century paintings.

And we learned to use the wood fired oven, before EVERYONE had a wood fired oven. And we were good at it. We saw the potential to use pizza as a training tool to learn about the wood fired oven.

Massive buy-in. Who wouldn’t want to help for pizza?

We got….a little bored by four, just four, always the same four, ingredients…

So we started

…..adding things.

Many things you can add to bread and they rather disappear in the loaf, at least visually.

A little sugar. We used brown sugar then  – because we didn’t have sugar loaves and most of us didn’t know we should want them.




Because obviously brown sugar is more Oldie- Timie, right?

Butter. To make it richer.

A little milk Ditto.

A few eggs….why not?


Got hens? Use hen-fruit!

Not all at once, not every time, but more things, more frequently.

And then a few spices crept in.









Hmmmmm – that could be a song…..

Of All the Birds

Of all the birds that ever I see
The owl is the fairest in her degree:
For all the day long she sits on a tree
And when the night cometh away flies she.

Tu whit — Tu whoo,
To whom drink’st thou? — Sir Knave, to thee.
My song is well sung, I’ll make you a vow
That he is a knave that drinketh now.

Nose, nose, nose, nose,
And who gave thee thy jolly red nose?
Cinnamon and ginger, nutmeg and cloves:
that gave me my jolly red nose.


And then



More properly, raisins of the sunn.


Raisins and Currents – both are dried grapes, just different sized grapes.

The thing with raisins, is that everyone can see them.

Sometimes they are mistaken for flies….sometimes they concealed flies…….but with raisins you’ve made raisin bread, and everyone knows what that is.

So you learn to put the raisins in last and pull the un-raisined dough down around them….

We thought we’d made cinnamon raisin bread. But really, we had re-invented Gervase  Markham’s Banbury Cake.


Because we didn’t know there were perfectly good cakes we could have made without any slights of hand and amazing feats of prestidigitation.

This was all in 1981 and 1982….it was Michael Best’s edition of The English Housewife where we saw the error – and genius – of our ways.

That wasn’t until 1986.


We didn’t see it as coffee cake, or think of it as coffee cake, and certainly didn’t call it coffee cake. Bread . It was Bread.

UNTIL a day in 1981…in the fall….and a reporter for the Boston Globe was there when we were taking the loaves out of the oven and asked if it was coffee cake.…..


1981 – Abraham Pearce in the 1627 Village. This was the story the papers had come for. Or Thanksgiving. They were always there for Thanksgiving.

We neither agreed nor disagreed.

We may have pointed out a passing flock of geese overhead. Or those hens squawking about….and goats, we probably pointed to the goats, frolicking and gamboling as goats do…..

Perhaps another housewife threw the dishwater out her door, yelling, “Ware Slops!” like we used to do.

We may have sung…..

We all held our collective breath until the picture ran in the paper. The coffee cake was merely identified as bread, although if you looked close you could see the raisins…..

Just another day making history.


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Filed under Bread, Cake, Perception ways, The 17th century, The 1980's

Turkey talk


Turkey lectern at Boynton, St. Andrew’s Church, Yorkshire. William Strickland is said to have brought the first turkeys into England, and donated this lectern to his church.


William Strickland’s Coat of Arms.    Yep, that’s a turkey on top.



  •  Albert Flamens. Gallus indicus, Coq d’jnde (The Turkey-cock), from Thirteen Birds Fine Arts Museum San Francisco

Delft tile – 1620


Twelfth Night:

SIR TOBY BELCH: Here’s an overwheening rogue!
FABIAN: O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock of him; how he jets under his advanced plumes!


Turkey Brought To Jahangir From Goa In 1612


Thomas Tusser   Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, 1577.

 Good bread and good drinke, a good fier in the hall,

brawne, pudding and souse, and good mustard withall.

Beefe, mutton, and porke, shred pies of the best,

pig, veale, goose and capon, and turkey well drest ;

Cheese, apples and nuts, joly Carols to heare,

as then in the countrie is counted good cheare.


Norfolk or Spanish Black – the turkey Columbus brought back to Europe, probably, more or less….

“The Turkie, which is in New England a very large Bird, they breed twice or thrice in a year, if you would preserve the young chickens alive, you must give them no water, for if they come to have their fill of water they will drop away strangely, and you will never be able to rear any of them: they are excellent meat, especially a Turkey-Capon beyond that, for which eight shillings was given, their eggs are very wholesome and restore decayed nature exceedingly. But the French say they breed the leprosie, the Indesses make Coats of Turkie feathers woven for their children.”


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Filed under Autumn, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, The 17th century, Wicked Wayback


Fen grapes, marish worts, mosse-berries, moore-berries, fenberries, bearberries, croneberry, cramberries… many nick names can one little bouncing berry have?


Whatever else they’ve been called, they’re all still cranberries. In 1672 John Josslyn suggests:

“Some make Tarts with them as with Goose Berries.”




Red Gooseberries

Cranberry Tart – Precedence and Persistence

“Tartes of Gooseberries.

Lay your gooseberries in your crust, and put to them cinnamon and ginger,

sugar and a few small raisins put among them and cover them with a


A Booke of Cookery with the Serving of the Table; A.W.; 1591;

page 28

Berries, cinnamon, ginger, sugar and small raisins between pastry. Bake is implied. Easy.

And somewhat familiar…..


3 C raw cranberries

1 C raisins

1 ¼ C sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

¼ tsp salt

¾ C water

1 ½ tsp vanilla*

Pastry for a 2 crust 9 inch

Put the cranberries and raisins through food grinder.Place in saucepan and add all ingredients except vanilla.Cook over low heat until thick, and cranberries are cooked. Add vanilla and place in pie shell. Bake until crust is done. Dots of butter and nutmeats may be added on

– Florence H. Angley. A Book of Favorite Recipes. complied by the Ladies Solidarity of St. Joseph the Worker Church Hanson, Mass..1968. p. 52.

This is sometimes called Mock Cherry Pie.

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Filed under New England, Pie, The 17th century, The 1960"s

Welcome, Spring!

Yes, YOU Spring, over there…

as I listen to the WEATHER WATCH to prepare for 3 or 5 or 7 or 12 inches of snow….

Winter Storm Warning in Massachusetts

Active for next 19 hours ·

Spring is about


Snowdrops_Feb_2009BankHall Bretheton2009




No more snowballs, PLEASE…


but rather

tennis balls


StephensField tennis courts

These tennis courts are just down the AND an ocean view. My tennis isn’t pretty, so view matters.


My fave snowball – even then in limited quantities. Enough already

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Filed under Spring, The 17th century, winter

To make Chocolate Cream

In 1604 Lady Elynor Fetiplace put together a commonplace book – her receipts for food and medicine.  In 1986 Hilary Spurling published excerpts form this collection, with notes and explanations.

EF pb

This is how I first met Elynor Fetiplace back in the 1980’s.

I was able to borrow this volume, but somehow I never bought a copy for myself.

It wasn’t until this century that I got the transcription from Stuart Press. (The Complete Receipt Book of Ladie Elynor Fetiplace: Late Tudor/early Stuart. Never before published in full this is a 3 volume set transcription of the whole original text. About 90% of the work is household remedies from a country gentlewoman the remainder mainly culinary. Stuart Press    )

ef complete3

In historical documents, nothing beats the real thing. Lacking that, the next best thing is an image of the real thing, a photocopy or an electronic image, some sort of facsimile. But even then there are nuances that can be easily overlooked. Skepticism is an important tool of historical research. Transcript is next best from that, and it’s  only if you assume some  error and omission are present.The question is where and what…..and move forward anyhow.

And in this transcript is a recipe To make Chocolate Cream. It’s on the same page as a Barley Cream.


Chocolate Melendez

Luis Melendez – that’s a chocolate pot with the handle from a chocolate mill in the background


To make Chocolate Cream

Take a Quart of cream, 3 ounces of Chocolate grated, boyle it well together & let it stand till tis cold, & then put in ye whites of 6 Eggs beaten to a froth & sweeten it to your Taste, and then mill it up.

The Complete Receipt Book of Ladie Elynor Fetiplace. Vol. Three. Transcription. Stuart Press: 1999. p.38.

To Make Chocolate Cream in January 2016:

  • Take a quart of cream – we used heavy whipping cream
  • 3 ounces chocolate – we use a 2.7 ounce disk of Taza
  • TazaClassicCollection_large

    the one that was most chocolate and no added anything

    Grate the chocolate into the cream and heat, while stirring to get the chocolate all melted

  • ChocolatePot 1682

    This is a 17th century chocolate pot. If you look close at the bottom of the pot there’s a chocolate mill there, too.

    The ‘A’ plan for cooling this off was to pour it out of the pot and into a bowl, which we could put in the snow…but no snow this January day, not even very much cold (this is NOT a complaint!) so we had to haul it into a fridge to cool.

  • Because 21st century chicken aren’t raised quite the way they were in the past, and Salmonella is an issue with raw eggs, I had searched , unsuccessfully for pasteurized eggs. I ended up with pasteurized egg whites, so we didn’t actually crack any eggs for this dish.  used a wire whisk for the whipping, lacking a chocolate mill.
  • chocolate mills 1687 French

    1687 French mills – Bleguy

    choc whip frotehr

    sold on Amazon as a Wooden Whisk Stirrer Molinillo Mexican Chocolate Cocoa Stirrer Frother. Yep, that about sums it up.


    Sweetened with a little sugar, whipped some more……


    chocolate cream 30Jan2016

    This is what our final product looked like – a very light very tasty chocolate mouse sort of dish.

    There was none left.

That good.

Sometimes the past should be repeated.

Again and again.

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Filed under Recipe, The 17th century, Wicked Wayback, winter

Wicked Wayback Boston….

In which I travel from the Old Colony to The City (on a Hill implied) and now SHOUT OUT Thanks to Kristen for Driving and Kathy for Support (technical, and all sorts of otherways) and talk about bread and pompions and beer and water and Indian Pudding and other Good Eats from the 17th century Massachusetts Bay/Plimoth Colony experience.

And then there were questions from the floor,so as a follow up to

Friday night’s Repasts of the Past 

with the Partnership of The Historic Bostons  

To answer some questions I couldn’t then off the top of my head……

How to Make Indian Pudding in a Slow Cooker

and then there was a posset question, which I rather fudged/danced around and finally admitted I was not prepare for heavy dairy….so here’s some guilt/make up posset now.


Posset pot, Netherlands, Late 17th or early 18th century, Tin-glazed earthenware painted in blue V&A Museum no. 3841-1901[1] Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Posset pot, Netherlands, Late 17th or early 18th century, Tin-glazed earthenware painted in blue V&A Museum no. 3841-1901[1] Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This is in an article Shakespeare's World  in 100 0bjects

Silver, 17th century English posset cup

Shakespeare’s World in 100 Objects

from 1675 Robert May The Accomplist Cook


To make a Compound Posset of Sack, Claret, White-Wine, Ale, Beer, or Juyce of Oranges, &c.

Take twenty yolks of eggs with a little cream, strain them, and set them by; then have a clean scowred skillet, and put into it a pottle of good sweet cream, and a good quantity of whole cinamon, set it a boiling on a soft charcoal fire, and stir it continually; the cream having a good taste of the cinamon, put in the strained eggs and cream into your skillet, stir them together, and give them a warm, then have some sack in a deep bason or posset-pot, good store of fine sugar, and some sliced 425 nutmeg; the sack and sugar being warm, take out the cinamon, and pour your eggs and cream very high in to the bason, that it may spatter in it, then strow on loaf sugar.

To make a Posset simple.

Boil your milk in a clean scowred skillet, and when it boils take it off, and warm in the pot, bowl, or bason some sack, claret, beer, ale, or juyce of orange; pour it into the drink, but let not your milk be too hot, for it will make the curd hard, then sugar it.


Beat a good quantity of sorrel, and strain it with any of the foresaid liquors, or simply of it self, then boil some milk in a clean scowred skillet, being boil’d, take it off and let it cool, then put it to your drink, but not too hot, for it will make the curd tuff.

Possets of Herbs otherways.

Take a fair scowred skillet, put in some milk into it, and some rosemary, the rosemary being well boil’d in it, take it out and have some ale or beer in a pot, put to it the milk and sugar, (or none.)

Silver feeding cup or small posset pot, by Andrews, 1698. Description  Feeding cup or small posset pot in silver. Wellcome Images Keywords: domestic; Nursing; William Andrews

Silver feeding cup or small posset pot, by William Andrews, 1698.
Feeding cup or small posset pot in silver.
Wellcome Images

And here’s a modern version from The Guardian – A Lemon Posset 

There are quite a few recent (21st century) versions of possets out there. It seems to be trending……#posset

There were other things, like acorns in bread and chestnuts  and hogs and lobsters and squirrels and making beer from bread and enourmous turnips and grist mills and …you know, the usual Friday night chatter.

But it’s already mizzled in my brain, because Saturday was the Hard Core Hearth Cooking Workshop back at Plimoth, which is Wicked Wayback for another day. .

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Filed under Recipe, The 17th century

Pi Days, Fry Days

First, some follow up from Pi Days, part I…


Not the remaining Beatle..

Guess who has a new album coming out at the end of this month? Postcards from Paradise

Guess who has a new album coming out at the end of this month? Postcards from Paradise available 31 March

but Eringo roots, eringo also known as Sea Holly

Sea Holly - eringo - growing on the dunes

Sea Holly – eringo – growing on the dunes

Ivan Day at Food History  has sooo much more on eringos – he’s cooked it…..

Perhaps you remember this from high school English class.


Sir John! art thou there, my deer? my male deer?


My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Green
Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes; let
there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here.

– William Shakespeare. The Merry Wives Of Windsor Act V Scene V

I hadn’t remembered that it was “Snow Eringoes” – rather apt for this endless winter. Boston has – and winter isn’t actually over, so, SO FAR received 108.6 inches of the fluffy white stuff and Plymouth has had MORE….that’s  nine foot of snow shoveling. I will add ‘snow eringoes’ (which Spellcheck would really rather be ‘snow dingoes’) to the general snow vocabulary.

But, on to apple pies to fry

To fry Applepyes.

Take apples and pare them, and chop them very small, beat in a little cinnamon, a little ginger, and some sugar, a little rosewater, take your paste, roul it thin, and make them up as big pasties as you please, to hold a spoonful or a little lesse of your apples, and so stir them with butter not too hastily least they be burned.

  • W.I., Gent. A True Gentlewoman’s Delight. Falconwood ed. p. 8.

NOTES:What W.I, Gent is suggesting is that you

  1. pare some apples and chop them small
  2. add some powdered (beaten in a mortar with a pestle) cinnamon, ginger and sugar with a little rosewater [did you know that apples and roses are in the same botanical family – they really go very nicely together]
  3. Your paste is your pastry – a  nice buttery based pastry works well here.
  4. He says make them as big as you please – think coat buttons versus hand pies – raviolis or pierogies..

    I'm thinking several of these little filled pasta (pasta means paste....the apple pies are sweet....)would be nice

    I’m thinking several of these little filled pasta (pasta means paste….the apple pies are sweet….)would be nice

  5.   A spoonful or less for the filling – wet the edges and pinch them together good – use a fork in the modern kitchen – you don’t want these pretty babies falling apart in the frying pan.
  6. Put some butter in your frying pan – medium heat – you want to melt the butter and cook the pastry, not burn it.
  7. A sprinkle of sugar as they come out of the pan would not be amiss…you don’t want to use so much butter that they need to be blotted or drained.

How to make Apple-pyes to Fry.

Take about a dozen pippins, pare them, cut them, and almost cover them with water, and almost a pound of sugar, let them boyl on a gentle fire, close covered, with a stick of cinnamon, minced orange pill, a little dillseed beaten, rosewater, when this is cold and stiff, make it into a little pastie with rich paste.

  • William Rabisha. The Whole Body of Cookery, Dissected. p. 201.


  • Pippin is a kind of apple (generally it’s a non-specific variety)
  • This time you peel and cut and make applesauce out of them, with LOTS of sugar and a piece of cinnamon, orange peel and dillseed, and again the rosewater. Caraway seed is also very nice with apples. You can beat – or grind it to a powder, before you add it..
  • A rich paste is one made with lots of butter, and maybe an egg yolk, like a pate sucree  click here to see Martha Stewart’s version.
  • Again make up into little pies and fry in butter….enjoy!

If you’re interested in more about Pies, there is a National Pie Council…it’s America, there’s a group for everything!

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Filed under Recipe, The 17th century, winter

Old Chestnuts

1640 Kitchen Still Life Barbieri

1640 Kitchen Still Life Paolo Antonio Barbieri

Under the spreading chestnut tree…’ Longfellow, The Village Blacksmith

Up until fairly recently chestnuts trees  were a part of the New England landscape. Castanea_dentataA fungal blight introduced at the beginning of the 20th century pretty much took all the chestnuts by the 1940’s. The presence of imported chestnuts in time for the holidays is just a shadow of the spreading chestnut tree’s previous presence.

Like in the Fable of The Monkey and the Cat from Aesop, no less

Aesop for Children (1919)


Once upon a time a Cat and a Monkey lived as pets in the same house. They were great friends and were constantly in all sorts of mischief together. What they seemed to think of more than anything else was to get something to eat, and it did not matter much to them how they got it.

One day they were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. How to get them was the question.

“I would gladly get them,” said the cunning Monkey, “but you are much more skillful at such things than I am. Pull them out and I’ll divide them between us.”

Pussy stretched out her paw very carefully, pushed aside some of the cinders, and drew back her paw very quickly. Then she tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and she drew out the chestnut. This performance she went through several times, each time singeing her paw severely. As fast as she pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, the Monkey ate them up.

Now the master came in, and away scampered the rascals, Mistress Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts. From that time on, they say, she contented herself with mice and rats and had little to do with Sir Monkey.

The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense.

Singe et chat

Singe et chat



Tommaso Salini – The Monkey and the Cat – 1575



But chestnuts were also good roasted – and they still are.

To stuff a roasted Goose or Duck.

….Geese and Ducks are also stuffed with Chestnuts from which the peels and membranes have been removed [and which have been mixed] with Butter.

Rose, Peter, ed and translator. The Sensible Cook.(1683) p. 66.

Evidently FDR also like some chestnuts stuffed in his holiday bird.


Young, small turnips should be cooked in water without wine for the first boiling. Then throw away the water and cook slowly in water and wine, and chestnuts therin, or, if one has no chestnuts, sage.

Pleyn Delight, #17. (The Menagier de Paris, 1393)


Castanea sativa or sweet chestnut



Filed under Autumn, Christmas, Perception ways, The 17th century

Stuffing? Dressing? Filling? Farce?

They’re all other ways to say:

‘Pudding in the belly’

Which is, as they say in the 17th century,

“Good Belly Cheer”

If it’s any comfort, even in the 1600’s they  sometimes called it stuffing and sometimes called it dressing….and had a few other variations just to cloud the issue even more.

There was not any Stove Top in 1620.

Larry is an actor and not an acual pilgrim - he's far too hipster for the real Pilgrim Crowd - and he's not really hip enough to be hipster, but that's another story

Larry is an actor and not an actual pilgrim – he’s far too hipster for the real Pilgrim Crowd – and he’s not really hip enough to be hipster, but that’s another story

Anyhow –

Om een jonge Henne te vullen.  (A young hen to farce)

Neemt geraspt Witte-broot/ en 3 harde doren wan Eyeren kleyn gewreven/ met wat geroockt Speck/ geroockt Vleesch/ wel kleyn gesneden/ dan gestoten Folie/ Peper/ Gember/ en een weinigh Saffaraen; en alles wel onder een gheroert/ de Hen daer mede gevult/ dan gestooft met Boter/ Wijn/ Water /gaer zijnde/ wat Verjuys en Saffraen in het sop gedaen/ dan opgerecht.

Rose, The Sensible Cook. p. 62-3.

and now in modern English

Take a grated White-bread, and 3 yolks of hard-boiled Eggs, mashed fine, with some (smoked) Bacon, and (smoked) Meat, chopped very finely, then ground Mace, Pepper, Ginger, and a little Saffron; all well stirred together, the Hen is filled with this, then stewed with Butter, Wine, Water.  When done some Verjuice and Saffron is added to the broth, and then it is served

The word “smoked” (geroockt) exists in this context in Dutch in 1627.  English meat, similarly prepared, seems to be referred to as “hung”; the term “smoked” isn’t used until the end of the 17th century.  Although the effect is the same, the intent, at least in England, was not to flavor, so much as dry, the meat. kmw

Sensible Cook in Dutch

The original

Translation by Peter Rose

Translation by Peter Rose

and now perhaps in modern English:

Stuffing recipes are really hard -most stuffing isn’t a recipe…..

6 cups of bread crumbs (I pulsed good bread through the blend, and kept some of it a little chunky, I like some texture)

3 hard boiled egg yolks (snack on the whites because the smells of this coming together may make you a little peeked

1/2 a pound of smoked bacon, diced

14 oz smoked kielbasa or other smoked sausage (14 oz is the size of the package – it’s not a magic number)

Mace – the spice:


It also comes in powdered form – it’s the outer casing of a nutmeg, so use nutmeg if you don’t have mace.

also Pepper and Ginger. Saffron if you can afford it. Total spice might be about a tablespoon. It should have some smell over the meat. The bread absorbs a lot of flavor, so don’t be afraid.

Because every other stuffing/dressing etc from the 17th century I looked at called for it, I added 3 whole eggs, beaten, a 1/2 stick melted butter and then some broth to moisten it. A little  wine would not be amiss at this point, especially  since I don’t know anyone who is boiling their Thanksgiving turkey….although……

The broth I bought that I’m loving this November

college Inn white wineand this cooking wine was convenient and not too salty

Goya Cookng wine

Put the whole batch in a buttered 9′ casserole and bake, covered for  1/2 hour at 350º and then 1/2 hour uncovered.

The First Thanksgiving probably looked a little more like this then what we're accustomed to seeing

The First Thanksgiving probably looked a little more like this then what we’re accustomed to seeing

This Turkey would taste great with this stuffing. Or Dressing. Or Pudding in it's belly or....

This Turkey would taste great with this stuffing. Or Dressing. Or Pudding in it’s belly or….


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Filed under Autumn, Recipe, Thanksgiving, The 17th century

Extraordinary Pie

From Samuel Pepys diaries:

6 January 1662.

Thence to dinner to Sir W. Pen’s, it being a solemn feast day with him, his wedding day, and we had, besides a good chine of beef and other good cheer, eighteen mince pies in a dish, the number of the years that he hath been married.


Is what he saying that….

1) Wedding anniversaries are solemn feast days, which means the Puritan curse of not celebrating anniversaries has somewhat lifted in London in the 1660’s and

2) You celebrate with the number of pies to correspond to the number of years married?


And being Samuel Pepys, there’s more.

 Monday 3 February 1661/62

After musique practice I went to the office, and there with the two Sir Williams all the morning about business, and at noon I dined with Sir W. Batten with many friends more, it being his wedding-day, and among other froliques, it being their third year, they had three pyes, whereof the middlemost was made of an ovall form, in an ovall hole within the other two, which made much mirth, and was called the middle piece; and above all the rest, we had great striving to steal a spooneful out of it; and I remember Mrs. Mills, the minister’s wife, did steal one for me and did give it me; and to end all, Mrs. Shippman did fill the pye full of white wine, it holding at least a pint and a half, and did drink it off for a health to Sir William and my Lady, it being the greatest draft that ever I did see a woman drink in my life.

What have we here? A certain friskiness, for one.

Also,another occasion where the number of pies corresponds to the number of years married.

Notice also – eating the pies with a spoon. Before pies were cut into wedges, which is a relatively recent phenomenon in pie history, pies were broken open from the top and more or less scooped out.


Heda 1642

Willem Clauszn Heda 1642

Still Life by Willem Clauszn Heda

Still Life by Willem Clauszn Heda

and then there’s this:

William Playfair - 1789 - the first pie chart

William Playfair – 1789 – the first pie chart

And they’re using the pastry to drink wine from – a pint of wine. It’s like drinking champagne from a slipper…only more so.

Robert May in The Accomplist Cook RobertMayTheAccomplishtCookFrontispiecehas a section called:

“To make an extraordinary Pie, or a Bride Pye of several Compounds being several distinct Pies all on one bottom”

bride pie mayround234



Robert May has a few notes on these pies:

“… may bake the middle one full of flour, it being bak’t and cold, take out the flour in the bottom, & put in live birds, or a snake, which will seem strange to the beholders, which cut up the pie at the Table. This is only for Weddings to pass away the time.” (235)

I was at a wedding last week and I for one am so grateful they chose skywriting over snakes or birds to dazzle and entertain us.


Skywriting is SO much nicer then snakes in a pie!

But today is the anniversary of John Jenney and Sarah Carey, the Sarah Jenney I play in 1627. According to the Leiden records:

Aengeteyckent de v. septemb 1614
tjee de 6 . 9 . 1614 Johan Jene Jongman brouwersinecht van
tije de 13 . 9 . 1614 noorwiets In engelant nu woonende te Rot
tiije de 20 9 . 1614 terdam verselschapt met Rogier Wilson syn zyn Getrout voor bekende Jasper van Bauchem met
& Jacob Paedts Sche- Sara kaire Jonge Dochter van moncksoon in
pene Dese eerste engelant verselschapt met Johanne Leyns
Novemb xvi veertien haer bekende

and now in English…

Entered on 5 September, 1614.
John Jenney, single man, brewer’s man, from Norwich in England, now dwelling at Rotterdam, accompanied by Roger Wilson, his acquaintance, with Sarah Carey, single woman, from “Moncksoon” in England, accompanied by Joanna Lyons, her acquaintance.
They were married before Jasper van Bauchem and Jacob Paedts, Sheriffs, this first of November, 1614.

The entries “tje de 6 . 9 . 1614” &c. show that the banns were published three times, on 6, 13 and 20 September, 1614

November 1, 1614 was the wedding day. Thirteen years for 1627. 400 years for the rest of us.

What would their culinary biography be if told pie-wise?

Every pie has a story.

Table-Talk time.

Table talk pie pan

What’s in YOUR pie plate?

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Filed under Eating, Perception ways, The 17th century