As centuries pass, inasmuch as measured time can determine, history takes on levels and colors not clear or even present at the moment the history was made. Everything that actually occurs in history has both the story and the back-story. Historical events, situation, and characters are rarely remembered or recorded in full, but rather a snapshot of information is locked in the annals of time, leaving behind the nuances of fact that created the moment. This, as a result leaves wide open the opportunity for revisionism, myth, or even simple fiction to be attached to the facts as if they belonged there all along. In the current political climate, the same can be said, but for the facts being immediately drown out by disinformation, fiction, and fallacy. History is now declined the chance to offer revisionism, it occurs immediately.
With luck, time reveals more information to re-index the matter, restoring it to some level of historical fact. In this instance, particularly, the great “authorship debate” of the Shakespeare plays and Sonnets, which has been roiled in and shrouded by theoretical hearsay, has had a bright light shed upon it in the discovery of these very curious verses.
Through these writings by an Elizabethan cook named Roy Bertram Shakespeare, it appears as though the famous Shakespeare, born the third child of John And Mary, had a sibling who lived and worked in the same social realm as William. A wondrous discovery by itself, but it goes on. This Roy Bertram, who must have been born around 1559, was an older sibling by about 5 years. In his adult life he was master cook in the household of Edward DeVere, 17th Earl of Oxford
as far back as the late 1580’s and on until the 18th Earl, Henry. Found among various records of 16th century kitchen inventory and expenses in the galley of Hedingham Castle, the manuscript is dated 1608, which is after both Elizabeth and Edward DeVere’s deaths. Edward did not spend the later part of the century in the castle, but rather lived in Hackney where he was closer to the hub of activity in London and closer also to the home of Shakespeare in Stratford. The castle, though no longer owned by Edward, but his father in law Lord Burghley, still remained the home of the Earls of Oxford. It clearly states that the master, Edward, is deceased so there is no question as to the date verification. Cook may have compiled this work before this time and assembled and placed it as he was forced to leave Hedingham for the last time. Perhaps he was hiding this as his own monument. Shakespeare, the playwright, lived, wrote, and mounted plays for another 8 years before his passing in 1616. There is no information regarding the death of our author, Roy, but logic would dictate that as a result of his career, he led a bit more reserved lifestyle than did William and must have lived to be older than his high profile brother, though possibly passing around the same year. He clearly stayed on with Henry the 18th Earl and probably until his own death. A character as close to the family as Cook, is usually guaranteed a position for life. It is conjecture, but he seems still capable in this year 1608, and not ready for the grave as is evidenced by the relatively clean copy of the manuscript that he himself must have penned, and the fact he is both still working for the Oxford house and helping to move the kitchen supplies out of the Keep.
It is suspect, and only suspicion that William spent little time with his family and most of his career in the city of London, leaving them approximately 10 miles away in Stratford.
It is unclear why. It is possible that he wished to preserve the family’s rural integrity by protecting them from the roguish and dangerous life of the city where plague and other hazards were rampant, or perhaps the dangers of the criminal element that was also at large in the city when the theatres and gaming spaces were shut to prevent the spread of plague. This led to increased theft and violence as the actors and other less respected townspersons turned to crime to survive. It is as possible that he did not enjoy family life, was very busy creating theatre, and had a private life in the city that excluded the inconvenience of returning home to heart and hearth at days end. Speculation is as easy as fiction.
These theories are as plausible as any other put forth over the centuries, which also are conjectural. None of these places him in one or another world to adequately furnish the many varied plateau displayed in the plays, emotionally and sociologically.
It is possible, and now it seems even more than likely Shakespeare had a penchant for male youth. Particularly that of his patron
Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, who we now know from a recently undisclosed portrait as a teen, that Henry was, if not in jest, very effeminate, and had he actually been a female, would have been most lovely indeed. These allegations will not be addressed or disputed by this manuscript. It seems there is no connection whatever between the sonnets, patronized by Southampton or their inner messages, and the plays, produced and patronized by Oxford. Some have tried to make such an assertion, but the facts bear more witness to Shakespeare admiring Henry Wriothesley in the middle body of sonnets than any other evidence suggests. There is the remote possibility they are merely vanity sonnets, no different than hiring a painter to paint you in a most lovely fashion. Again, conjecture is as easy and plausible as fantasy.
Based on evidence put forward by those who support the notion that Shakespeare was a pseudonym for Edward DeVere, it would seem one idea proposed is there was never a Shakespeare at all, but simply an invented personality to hide the fact that Edward DeVere was the man behind the magic. A man with such high standing, it would be loathsome to participate in such lowly affairs as the theatre or have associations with its makers. Another is that there was a William Shakespeare, but he acted as a front for Edward’s work, delivering masterpieces to the public and taking the credit as the star Theatre Meister.
Most of this, however, is puffery applied haphazardly to history to paint a picture that all evidence leads to one end or another. It leaves the humanity out of both characters of history, Shakespeare and Oxford, and makes mockery of the richness of both their lives and their mutual contribution to the development of Theatre Arts.
Though the mentions of Shakespeare by peers and records are few, this manuscript gives clear evidence that both Shakespeare and Edward were poets of the age. Though all poets, DeVere included, envied the effortless ability of William. The notion that Shakespeare did not work alone is the most likely to be true. Given the circumstances of the life and times, and the frequency of the plays written, there is a strong possibility that William enlisted the help of other playwright friends to contribute scenes. Some scenes in the plays stand apart as seemingly not the work of the master, given the rhythm, wording, and or lack of such. He may also have had actors improvise to flesh out unfinished transitions from one plot to another, or in the comedies, contribute vast amounts of improvised text into the final version. His stage fellow Kemp was considered a brilliant comedian and may in large part have contributed to the wit of the comedies. The major poetic passages, themes and storytelling, however seem to emanate from one mind. To imagine he simply sat down and wrote a perfectly structured story laced with the finest poetry and deepest human understanding ever composed, and then handed it to the actors at first rehearsal is preposterous. A playwright who is at rehearsal is constantly changing the script to better emphasize their theme and character development up to and including the performances. Lack of printed words made it necessary for each actor to have “sides” only, that is, to have his words written out and no others. They may have had to scribe them on their own at a script rehearsal to receive their roles. The actual master copies of the plays aught to have been absolute ink disasters. There was no such idea as a clean copy of the script until later when their popularity proved profitable in the printing and selling of penny copies of the plays. Take not for granted either, no form of typing or any other simple scribing of words existed, but every word was inked by hand, every correction, every substitution, and parchment was an expense. The shortest of the plays is composed of over 18 thousand words; composed, written, rewritten, scrapped, written again, cleaned up and written for actors, word by word. Unless this is one’s full time occupation, one hasn’t the time for a courtier’s duties, nor a soldier’s, nor a manager of Queen’s business, nor any other than a very talented and dedicated writer working night and day to mount shows and additionally write 37 full length, 5 act plays of incomparable poetic virtue, supported in his efforts, his finances, and his productions by his comrade from the aristocracy, Edward DeVere.
An argument often advanced by Oxfordians is that Edward used William Cecil as a model for Polonius in Hamlet.
To site that Edward DeVere is directly making the reference to William Cecil (his former keeper, and master of his family holdings) in the character of Polonius is an insult to Burghley. Polonius is a notorious bumbling fool whose allegiance to Claudius, ends in his death by Hamlet’s blind hand while he is spying for the usurper King. But, if the story were related to another, who then alluded to it in fiction, the tension is alleviated and the jest becomes a poke at Burghley’s obsessively prudent behaviors. Burghley though, was very highly regarded by Elizabeth. With the addition of being instrumental in designing and executing a most advanced espionage circuit, he and Francis Walsingham made possible the Queen’s strategic inside knowledge of foreign matters, with the added advantage of thwarting conspiratorial plots against the throne. Burghley, too, came from humbler birth than most in the Queen’s court and found his way to the peerage in 1571 by the Queen’s command, and very high station in government. Hardly a soul in all of Great Britain would question the brilliance, power, influence and success of William Cecil. After Burghley educated his son,
Robert, in the ways of statesmanship, he passed the torch of Queen’s secretary to Robert Cecil, and proceeded to the job of Lord High Treasurer following the passing of Francis Walsingham. It is possible that there was an insular rivalry between Robert, a hunchback, and his foster brother Edward who was raised in the Cecil household. To that end, in Hamlet, it is likely Robert (Laertes) who is taking advice from his father Polonius (Burghley) and the jest is an inside one toward Robert (the young and prudent). A contrast to the lavish spending and famous family name afforded Oxford. Not only was Edward a ward of Burghley, but in these same years, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex was also in the house on the Strand. The two Roberts maintained a rivalry as a lifetime occupation, vying for the Queen’s favor throughout the 90’s. Additionally, Edward married the young lady of the household, Robert’s sister, Anne Cecil
at age 15 and she might have been the fair Ophelia who adored and respected her father. In this way, and with the final line of the advice wherein Polonius offers, “this above all else, to thine own self be true”, Shakespeare alleviates the jab at Burghley while showing deep respect and love through the daughter. Now, it seems that this is an argument in favor of DeVere as the storyteller. However, this is not appropriate matter for anyone as close to Edward as these characters are to portray in this light, publicly. It appears as though Edward, or someone close to him, revealed personal information that crept into the plays. They may have been placed deliberately in homage to his friend.
The discovery of these verses, written and signed by the author, Roy Bertram Shakespeare, explains his correlation to both Edward and William, and forms a bridge, which defines with some amplitude, that both these men were influential and respected. The insiders at court knew however, that Edward was on a fixed income from Her Majesty, and had lost his family fortune in bad investments. By the looks of the bigger picture, those debts were likely theatrical endeavors, and not lost drinking and cavorting his youth and fortune away. Her Majesty and Lord Burghley, his keeper, would never have allowed such folly. He was clearly permitted to pursue the endeavors of the theatre, regardless of his losses. It is here that we must accept that the title, Lord Great Chamberlain of England that Edward held as the Earl of Oxford is the same Lord Chamberlain as he who was patron to Lord Chamberlain’s Men as is suggested by the detailed research of George Wisner Barrell. As Lords Chamberlain of the Household, not the Lords Hunsdon, Cobham, Howard, nor any of the Vice Chamberlains had the spare time, nor interest to promote, patronize, and advocate for a company of actors. The parade of Lords Chamberlain of the Household during Shakespeare’s most productive years is not likely to be the thread that held the patronage of theatre together. But if we assume Oxford is the Lord Chamberlain of Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a whole beautiful and rich backdrop is shed on both Master William and his very influential partner and producer in the theatre business.
Having spent his family’s fortunes, yet still holding favor with the Queen, it is a safe assumption that he did not wile away his money on gaming and fancy. The queen awarded him a stipend from the crown upon his losses, what history deems his “bad investments”. It is unlikely the prudent Elizabeth would have been in support of frivolous waste. He did serve the queen’s military right at the outset of his discovered losses. It is possible also that the Queen required him to serve to receive a military pension of £1000 annually. Again, speculation is easily resumed. He was a true courtier and not a man of war, so the idea he leapt to the service of her majesty against the Spanish Armada is rife with doubt. If the soft hearted poet his verses display are any reflection on the boy who ran a cook through with a sword in his youth, it is likely he was a pacifist who was living with the guilt of stabbing a man to death, although, it was recorded that the cook “ran upon the sword”. A strange coincidence it is that our author is also a cook.
Without question, Oxford was the most prominent poet at court. He was credited with introducing new forms to lyrical and sonnet styles. He wrote plays, though none are known, as it was considered to be an activity beneath the dignity of noblemen. A respectable man of high station would not commit his good name to such undertakings. So also does this feed the notion Oxford’s plays are plain to see in Shakespeare. Many of his poems and songs survived and are signed as the Earle of Oxenforde. Why these, but not the plays which have so much weight and respectability on their own? The Queen herself requested and saw many of the Shakespeare plays and other revels by Lord Chamberlain’s Men performed at court. Are we to assume that during these performances the queen and Oxford shared a nod and simple William was publicly lauded in proxy? The likelihood is ill.
In this period known as a Renaissance, what had the English that no one else had? The Italian Renaissance excelled in architecture, painting, sculpture, and the written word as part of an explosion of art in the previous century. Most of the territory of the arts had already been reborn. It was a mighty queen with new means of ruling and the English language itself that set them apart. And someone, a poet, a bard, a genius, nearly single handedly led the way. So history would have it painted. There were many known playwrights in the era. Everyone was playing with the language as a part of daily life. Every posting by the commoners on walls and doors as protests to their latest grievances, are written as verses. It was advertisement, wit, commentary, it mattered not what the context, the posts were always in verse. Which suggests that everyone with wit enough was playing with the language, to the degree that these commoners of London could attend one of these majestic, prophetic, elaborately worded plays and follow the plot quite easily.
Upon first reading this work, the character Rageneau, the baker/poet from Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, comes to mind. Our author, Roy Bertram, has removed the usual ardor from his poems and simply delivered instructional cooking in verse. A curiosity indeed it was, to use poetry and no emotion. Perhaps he simply wanted to demonstrate that he too could write in verse. Some of the poems are witty, informative, even opinionated, but not amorous or heartfelt. The prose also is odd that it is in mostly perfect iambics. Some effort was made in the careful choosing of words to maintain this mode. The manuscript was nearly unedited which suggests that it was a final draft. Either that, or our author was an absolute genius like his brother and perfect iambics and rhyme just flowed from his thoughts to the parchment. It is unlikely. He introduces us to new foods from the Americas such as potato and tomato. Both fearful vegetables in their early years in England, the author who cooks for royalty allays the fears and sets the facts on these as edible and good. He has regrets that royal physics or doctors of medicine in the day suggest that cheese is bad for digestion. Evidently, our author is skilled and wise in the use and making of cheese. If he too were from Stratford, he is not near the cheese making part of the country. He must have studied, perhaps in France, which accounts for him cooking for a DeVere. His own biography is not spelled out in his writing. We know nothing of this new Elizabethan.
However, what he does tell us about his master and Master William is incomparable and his own biography hardly matters at all. He clarifies in two curious poems placed at the end of the work; that Edward and William are two people, that William is highly regarded by everyone including Edward, that Edward is a poet of great worth, but not as skilled as William, and that both men are respected for their ability and contributions. The second to last poem has a strange and different feel that did not match the others in a pattern most unusual. It seems almost to be another voice, as if the author was trying on the emotions of his master. It is at this point an Oxfordian starts to believe this poem is written by Edward and slipped in to create doubt about the authorship of the whole work, but this one poem has a strong sense of envy as if the author was Edward and the subject was Shakespeare. Though, even if it were Edward’s voice, it’s wrought with competitive envy of a better poet.
There is in fact an oddity to this poem that is found in an acrostic that became evident on the left: it reads, Edward is not William. Hardly an assertion that Edward himself would make. This is likely the most important element of the entire text. It is spelled out to the degree that it is actually spelled out. It seems Roy could feel the angst of his master’s envy toward William and felt a need to record this envy posthumously upon DeVere’s death. It is also possible that this poem was pre-existing and Roy tagged it on to the end of his book. Whatever the facts surrounding how it got there, it cannot be the actual words of the Earl of Oxford. If he were leaving a monument to himself, he would not clearly put it that “Edward is not William”. Although the style is seemingly different from the other poems, it is possible that our writer, Roy, was restricted by the use of an acrostic, forcing his word choice to vary from his normal rhythm. It is just as possible that in trying on the voice of his master, he made effort to recreate the style in which Oxford wrote. It does not seem likely, however, that this particular poem is by any author other than that of the rest of the manuscript. This one is set apart with its wellspring of emotion. Every other poem in the work is nearly devoid of such.
This notion of voicing the emotions of someone else is the key to understanding the complex and unique relationship between Oxford and his master poet, business partner, friend, Shakespeare.
Based on the information revealed and buttressed by the discovery of these verses, it can be alleged as strongly as any other theory that Shakespeare wrote the plays with the complex top to bottom understanding of society and its emotions through the eyes of his partner, Edward DeVere. In this regard, many of the Oxfordian questions are illuminated, both the direct connection to Oxford by way of friendship and business, and indirectly through his brother the cook of the complex nobleman living in the house. By these means Shakespeare had a window into the man, Oxford, and also his more private self, through his sympathetic cook whom Edward educated in the art of poetry. Roy explains in the second to last poem, which is homage to Edward DeVere, titled 'Patronized', that what he knows of poetry is learned from Edward his master and not William his brother.
Plain irony explains that Shakespeare’s brother is a poet who learned to write from Edward DeVere, who is not Shakespeare, but that the cannon he produced gives evidence that he who was his poet master is not his brother, who is the actual master poet.
The poetry in this manuscript, Cookery O’ the Kitchen “Keep”, is not on the level of the Shakespeare plays by any means. There are occasional moments of clever phrasings and it is a more than competent use of the schemes of Elizabethan writing. The Iambics are consistent, though occasionally he uses an alternate form or lengthens or shortens the number of feet as in “The Tinker’s Lots o’ Pans and Pots” in which there are only four iambic feet per line. On other occasions, some lines of seven feet are employed. Even the Italian rhyme scheme is used here and there. This dallying with styles is more in line with the Oxford philosophy of experimentation, and like Oxford, there are very few feminine endings.
The final poem, "Patronized" is in the style of Edward DeVere’s songs, a quatrain with a couplet at the end of each verse. But instead of jumping to the assumption it must be written by Edward, the text rejects any compliment to Oxford’s poetry, yet lauds his patronage. In fact, the poem spells out with some levity, that Edward was sometimes the brunt of the Queen’s amusement. That likely was true for all courtiers. Elizabeth was known for her quick wit and sharp tongue. One had to be able to match wits with her or fall from her favor.
To speculate on why he wrote it may also be of benefit. It has the smatterings of an instruction manual, left in the kitchen to give to new cooks who are untrained in basics. It also has some historical information that relates to new and interesting spices, herbs, and vegetables. That he includes this for his kitchen cook is curious. Perhaps he does this knowing that not all who will be cooking in his kitchen are trained cooks and may need instruction accompanied by brief history lessons. If it is seen in this light, it easily passes as a textbook on cooking. That is entirely supposition. The prose goes into some details that the poems often gloss over. But why does he tell us this, and why include the poems that pay tribute to DeVere? He surely must have hoped for his poems to be circulated some day beyond the walls of Hedingham. Perhaps he thought being Shakespeare’s brother might afford him some recognition in the tome of history and he needed something more lasting than a great meal. It is easier to imagine what is not so, than to discover what is. These are the doors of plausibility that open quite easily, but expose a brick wall inside. Only one door is the correct door. Once past, another set of doors resides. In the mystery surrounding Oxford and the Shakespeares, another door has been breached, and a new field of questions is sprouted.
In the matter of Shakespeare’s name and its spelling, his brother has illuminated that names are only just beginning to take written form. Roy spells his name twice in the manuscript; first at the beginning in which it is spelled Shakespeare, and at the end where it is spelled Shayksbeare. It is possible Roy is playing on the words of his own name. In the text he explains in detail how to make ale. When after adding yeast to wort, it is necessary to shake the flagon and aerate, making yeast activity flourish quickly, hence,” shakes beer”. This allusion also conjures that he is a cook. If this is not meant, then it simply illustrates that name spelling was a bit of a game. Only established families of good standing with a crest were enmeshed in the progeny of their surname. And even then, Oxford himself does not stay true to one spelling, nor does Christopher Marlow whose name is well documented in official terms and spelled many different ways. The argument William Shakespeare does not spell his name consistently is dispelled by this particular finding.
On the matter of style, rhythm, and form, it happens that in 1991 two mathematicians from Clarmont McKenna College in California, Eliott and Valenza, did a modal test study of the most prominent poets and the poetry of other candidates, and compared them scientifically. If one has written this sort of poetry and used these forms, it is easy to understand the patterns these two men used as a basis for the modal test. The results were not only revealing, they concluded astonishingly that nobody else compared to William. The closest match to Shakespeare’s style was that of Sir Walter Raleigh who merely wrote poems of adoration to the queen. Not only was DeVere far from William in style, rather on the amateur end of structure, word selection, repetitions, masculine endings, and a variety of other telling examples. For Oxford to have written any of the plays, he would have to be deliberately watering down his style for his personal poems, and advancing the style of Elizabethan poetry with every play he wrote. Akin to the Beatles, who changed the face of popular music with each album released, the Shakespeare plays similarly kept moving forward in style. Edward dies in 1604 but the plays keep coming out until William’s death in 1616. Unseen plays like King Lear, or Macbeth, specifically written for King James and carefully removing the Stuart lineage from any misdeeds in the story. The later works demonstrate the age, wisdom, and style of an older, experienced poet. That Edward knew all this not only before his death, but before there had been a Scotsman upon the throne of England is entering into complete fantasy. Curiously, all three of the top candidates of station, DeVere, Bacon and Marlowe fail by large margins in the modal testing to match the style and architecture of Shakespeare’s works.
There are two curious single verses by other poets, but the second seems to be a fictitious name. The conclusion is that both verses alleged to be written by John the Fowler and Erlizah Peele respectively, are humorous allsorts added for whimsy and composed by the author.
The recipes are few. Cuisine was still taking form, and Great Britain was not on the forefront of culinary artistry. Roy provides basic recipes for bread, crust, beer, cheese, and as is the case with other books on cooking from the era, there are few directions and even fewer measurements.
The poetry also offers a measurable degree of respect solicited on behalf of guildsmen such as millers, smiths, dairymen, and butchers. Evidently, the cook and his staff who do the purchasing of foods had a more intimate relationship with the merchants who actually slaughter, thresh, milk, or forge.
Some traditional mentions of God’s work are included. In fact, the poem about fruit is another acrostic. It reads, “God loves fruits”. Within the self same poem, Roy reveals a most astonishing supposition not usually subscribed to by faithful Christians. He plainly suggests that a fool believes the serpent in the Garden of Eden to be any other than God himself testing the virtue of his creation. He goes on to imply that after partaking of the illicit fruit, mankind must then restore God’s faith in him by partaking of the Tree of Life. This concept, for a Christian man of this age is far outside the norm. It has roots in Jewish mysticism and is likely only learned by Jesuits in Christian studies. This follows the teachings of the Free Thinkers such as the School of Atheism mentioned by Walter Raleigh, now known as the School of Night. It is highly likely that among the many influences DeVere had over Roy, one was his interest in this theme. A man of such humble means as Roy would be fearful of God’s wrath for such brazen heresy. Again, it is at this point that Edwards “voice” is heard, and yet it is not the hand of Edward. This offers additional substantiation to Edward’s influence with William. It is possible that some of the introspection in the plays is taken from the mind of Edward, but not the hand. This is perhaps the most prominent supposition introduced by the discovery of this text; a very talented poet of meager birth is introduced to a powerful and highly influential patron from the peerage, becomes a close compatriot through a mutual interest in the spoken word, and draws heavily from the life and times of his fellow advisor, patron, and friend. This bears more plausibility than any version suggesting one man sat in a chamber and churned out masterpieces of literature all by himself. These men and other great contemporaries were among others. No one from the era was great without assistance.
The backbone of the period is clearly Elizabeth. Her words and action, her network, her allies, all are manifestations of the greatness of herself. The fact that the mightiest men of the age would resort to love poems to gain her favor, speaks to the nature of her leadership. She was to be loved and feared, the perfect blend of monarch and matron.
SEASONING HERBS & SPICES
Spices & Herbs as Seasoning
The spices and their merchanting hath borne
the genesis of trade itself. Except
for precious gold, no other thing begets
the shipping and exchange of monies more
than does the spice. Tis such, where men do die
and fight and steal and pay to bring the stuff
of old Cathay or Indies, and what Spain
found ‘long the horn of new America.
The wonders of the Americas have by
and by come to the shores of what the King
now calls Great Britain, summing all he reigns,
whereby he calleth England, Ireland, too
his native home of Scotland all as one.
Such new and foreign herbs as belladonna,
nightshades as tomato or potato,
aubergine, tobacco and a fierce
but harmless fruit called chili pepper, borne
of foreign soils in the Americas.
Thou can’st not overlook that Spain in sooth
hath conquered up the west of the new world
beseeking El Dorado, and hath been
with settlers there now many years. In truth,
diseases have they also sailed unto
the western shores, and fallen natives have
from this untaméd land asunder gone.
Now in triumvirate, the Pope, the King,
and Spain, mayhap the bloody feud, begun
by Good Queen Bessie’s Da, Ol’ Henry’s Church
of England, can be brought to peace. Queer is’t
that Pirate days of Spani’ards are yore,
And likes of Raleigh, Essex, Drake, be lore.
But to the matter, since we now have strong
relations with the Spanish, costs of spice
shan't simply vanish, but the prices soon
will fall. More cooks shall have more spices for
the benefit of all.
Allspice, Anise, Arrowroot, Basil, Leaves of Bay,
Chervil, Chive, Cardamom, Clove and Caraway,
Coriander, Cinnamon, Cream of Tartar, Dill,
Cumin, Garlic, Horseradish, Fennel, Galengale,
Ginger, Mace and Juniper, Marjoram and Mints,
Nutmeg and Oregano, Pepper, Parsley Mince,
Saffron, Sage and Savory of Summer is divine,
Turmeric and Tarragon, Vanilla, Sugar, Thyme,
Salt, Paprika, Rosemary, Mustard and Poppy Seeds,
If thou must cook for wealthy men, tis these your kitchen needs.
The use of these combinéd or alone
can offer such variety as would
a painter find with colour. So when ground
or pestled into powders, common blends
thou then can thus create. The Powders Good
be somewhat savory and essence full.
Strong Powders make a stronger show and so
with pepper added, spice a sauce or dress
a roast. Sweet Powders blendt of spices sweet
as Cinnamon and Nutmeg or its rind
whose calléd Mace. White Powders are those mixed
with powdered sugar as with ginger or
vanilla bean. The combinations thou
create’st give every dish thy signature.
Spices and Herbs
But for the wealth of roy’ls and gentrified,
We alchemists of victuals would remain
Unstocked, our kitchens unsupplied.
No longer enemy with Catholic Spain,
The spices from the east to west avail
For those whose pockets ferry deep.
To travel here, these spices then must sail.
Thus shipping and her merchants, profits reap.
Among the countryside some herbs of wild,
All suited well for salad greens be they.
For these and other native herbs have styled
What now evokes an olden English way.
The cook who keeps the galley of a Lord
An Earl, a Duke, a Prince, a King in order
Hath requested best of stock, and stored.
Tooled merely with a pestle and a mortar,
thou’rt able making table into art.
It’s fare, a palate colorful and grand.
Aromas, flavours, ripe to touch the heart,
Without which, life and love of food be bland.
So sharp can attributes of pots and pans
be honed, and needed much as cutting needs
a knife. Some pots for soaking beans or dried
and smoked or salted fish, and those enough
to boil a soup, or stew a meat are much
requiréd for the cook to cook. They must
be sound, for weary pots will always bring
or harbour grief.
Next mentioned is the pan
For sauce, which by design is suited so
for what ‘tis meant. A sauce can turn a meal
or any supper adapté aux rois,
so far as flavors artfully are blendt.
A sauce of cream and butter mixed with flour
provides a base for many other things,
from cheese to herbs or flavours from Cathay.
Why too then, fruits and herbs together strewn
in saucing pot create contrasting sweet
and savoury blends when poured atop some meat.
Both sauces, brief or simmered, serve to save
a sorry sup, or shore a shabby dish.
The fruits and other heavy rending foods
require some time to simmer for to blend
and thicken all its flavours well.
a verse to vessels trained ‘twixt food and fire.
The Tinker’s Lots of Pans and Pots
If haste to the feasting the objective be,
Two pans for the frying are suited to thee.
If thou be an elder and short on the tooth,
For thee, boiléd meat or its broth, in sooth.
To do this and other meats stewed in au jus,
a crock and a stockpot, or better still, two.
For simmering sauces or frying a fillet,
The premium pan is a large lidded skillet.
Omit not the saucepans, although nothing drastic,
The smaller pots usher thy sauces fantastic.
Baking sheets then, and a pan just for roasting,
These a cook needs in a kitchen worth boasting.
Some earthenware casseroles fit for the oven,
And thou hast completed the cook wizard’s coven
If thou hast not the stomach for the kill,
A butcher’s skill will satisfy this feat.
Though some oppose the eating of it still,
Mere nuts and grains will fill, but ne’er as meat.
A man who walks and talks and hardly more
May find a meatless diet satisfies.
But those who raise a tool or work a chore
Need heartier fare, which only meat provides.
It matters nothing baked or braised or boiled,
Some roasted flesh consuméd, fuels work.
So fresh or aged as long as tis not spoiled,
A meat filled man shall labors never shirk.
With greens and grains and meat a man is full,
Sure motivated for his plow to pull.
Some several methods all do well for meat.
It may be bakéd in a crock, it may
be turnéd on a spit, it also roasts
well oven baked or racked atop a flame.
It may be boiled in soups or stewed or smoked.
It can be deep or shallow fried in fat.
‘Twill work both hot and fast or warm and slow,
so here now are some lessons doing so.
Let us presume the master is of means.
Though many dishes useth fresh and old,
But for the fact the master eats no beans,
We profit down below with what’s left cold.
Therefore, begin with beef, as fresh whole roasts.
A wealthier man would covet nothing less
Than fancy cuts from healthy well fed hosts.
Anoint the beef with oils and herb to dress.
Some salt and mixtures varying in kinds
Make clear the seasons by their seasonings rare.
As winter’s spiced by barks and seeds and rinds,
So summer’s gardens offer herbal fare.
Tis thus: with summer’s gifts or autumn’s harvest fruits,
The cook finds fresh is best and what keeps longer, suits.
A brief missive serving salt
Upon a steak, which cooketh plain undressed,
add not some salt, which pulls the humours out,
‘til after cooking’s through. Though if thou hast
bedressed the steak with oils, the salt will draw
no moisture from the meat and all is well.
Salt also hath a threshold quick from which
no cook recovers, still is needed so
to draw the flavors out. Use salt with great
reserve and offer table salt to serve.
On spit, put close, but not into the fire,
And place beneath a pan to catch the render.
Turn oft, but only as the heat requires.
With ample time a weightier cuts turns tender.
Thou’lt know when all is ready by its glaze,
The firmness of the cookéd meat, the size,
The odour savory or sweet, these ways
And repetition makes thee skilled and wise.
If over fire, inside a roasting pan,
Reduce the fire to coal and there remain.
When sure thou art, the meat inside’s near done,
Uncover for the baking’s last refrain.
To brown the meat the heat needs minding, stirring.
A watchful eye prevents mistakes occurring.
What last was true for pans is altered slight.
For in the oven next the thrust shall go.
Although, if openly thou cook’st it might
So prove a crusted, fatted, savoury show.
Advice, if there was such a thing to share,
As how well done is done is to each one.
There’s very rare, and rare, there’s medium rare,
And medium, and well, and well too done.
What best that can be said is by the touch.
Do find a tynéd fork and move the matter.
Thou’lt soon determine how little or much,
As less for lean, and longer for the fatter.
What utmost of a roast must thou observe?
To rest before thou cut’st or slice or serve.
A larger cut of meat has time to cook
beyond the time within the oven baked.
Bear ye in mind this special nuanced bit.
What may appear too rare while freshly cut
from fire or oven may be rightly done
within its resting time. Before thou judge
too harshly how well done is done, let rest
and see, though truthfully, thou soon shall learn.
If purple, raw, or underdone inside
the roast be far too large a circle, then
the meat will not be done, but if the bit
is underdone by showing ribbon small,
it likely will not need return to coals,
and finish altogether as it cools.
The cooling bonds the meat to such an end,
that when the meat be sliced, it teareth not.
Thou need’st not cool to very cold, but cut
Upon it not while piping hot. For some
few minutes whilst thou tosseth vegetables
or mash at tubers boiled.
At lower heats,
and slower passages of time, a crock
of earthenware that’s covered well will make
a meat fall fast apart most lovely in
a broth of rendt and onions peppered, herbed.
To this most any garden fare shall serve
As compliment. Add any, all to join
the meaty stew. Potatoes peeled, mayhap
some dumplings added also well would do.
Additions need not stew a full eight hours,
but add them in the final hours complete.
Bear mindful now, root vegetables do well,
And well in stews indeed. Foreswear ye not
the carrot, turnip, parsnip, or the beet.
Where we have uséd beef can be replaced
by any worthy other cut of meat,
a shank of pork, or weighty cock, a leg
of lamb or mutton chop, more gamy beast
as goat, or elk or bear, but bear in mind,
If fit it be to roast and eat, then eat
it’s kith and kind.
A portion such as slab
of meat, a steak, or limbs or breasts of foul
can cook in any form. Choose open flame
upon a grate, or baked, or broil, or boil.
Reduce the span of time for tender cuts
and keep a lower pyre. Bits of foul
cook evenly if merely over coals,
but sausages or broiléd meats desire
a touch, there and about, a lick of fire.
A brief missive on steak
Watch a steak. Let not the edges curl.
Tis too much time on one side if’t be so.
Too hot will make this accident occur
as well, and there is not a manner to
correct. Tis done by how it bends and looks
and feels. A thicker slab wants first a sear
to start, then lower fire to bake unto
the core. Be also sure thou turnst the meat
in intervals according to its size.
By doing, meat shall cook more evenly
withal, and subsequently pleasingly.
The French have given Saxons many things
As customs, clothing, culture and its way,
But for a cook, the crème their country brings
Are methods making meals such as sauté.
This one technique provides a palate, grand,
Enhancing every dish to which applied.
Keep diverse shallow pans all close at hand
What’s rim slopes inward, ‘stead of straighted-side.
The gentle curve is fair to flip the food,
Thus, juggler’s hand be ne’er as much required.
Once thou hast tossed, utensils soon seem crude,
And options open for a cook inspired.
For contributions French, to kitchen’s purse,
Sauté above all else deserved a verse.
Of meats whose portions may be small or bits,
or remnants thereon clinging to a bone,
still further methods aim to make them meals.
Disclosing them to thee, makes them thine own.
Here mentioned is sauté for means to cook
thy cut and portioned bits of meat with haste.
With meat sautéed, a host of sauces spread
from wine, au jus du boeuf, to herbéd cream
or cheese all well are served atop potato,
crusty bread, a durum maccarrone,
or rice from old Cathay. To this add herbs
or vegetables sautéed. Again an herb
as onion lends itself quite well to this,
or have thee leek, or nature’s curious blooms
of night, where faeiries there alight, mushrooms.
A line in time is drawn denoting when’s
too much and when’s enough befrying meat
in pans. Sith meat in bits are butchered up,
Thou’lt notice when the meat is done just so
by taking hither thither tastes, tis moist
and so tis tender to the teeth. If’t be
thou hast beyond the tender cooked, a long
and patient simmer turns the meat with time
to soft and pleasing morsels. One is that
of meat with sauce, the other meat within
For tougher cuts, a guarantee
is stew the stuff for hours in crock or pot
until its wont to fall apart. Again,
the company of onion, of potato
or a firmer vegetable bechopped
with herbs or spice, a gill of wine or beer
and salt of earth, turn lesser bits of meat
to meals of worth.
Again, the smaller cuts are apt to ways
of other preparations. Here, one takes
the pieces of the game, like breast of foul,
hindquarter rabbit, chops of pork or cuts
of other animal, and dress them with
an oily coat or egg and then some salt,
some peppered flour or crumb of stale bread.
Upon an open sheet for baking thence,
in steady oven, roast the cutlets short
a bit an hour. The flour creates a crust
surrounding juicy meat and keeps it there.
If thou hast ample fat, another means
be, after dredging; fry them hot in oil so deep, it covers;
deep fat for the married man, but not the food of lovers.
This method worthy also heed thee, mind,
Which beareth mention in that it is sound.
Some portions, as the meat of bottom round,
Or other cuts of hind be fit to grind.
Once ground, ‘tis found, the meat works many forms.
Sautéed and crumbled, sauced, in layered dish,
In pasty, and in meat pie if you wish,
Or baked as loaf, creates a meal that warms.
Now favoured, raw and herbed, stuffed in a case,
As gut of hog or tract of hosting beast;
Are sausages, which fried or fired, make feast
With bread and beer, and serve from place to place.
Some organs ground provide a wide array
of delicates as wursts or goose pâté.
So be it ground for coarse or for refined,
The merit of the grind is well defined.
Ground meats can be combined and mixed to make
a great variety. The lamb, and hog,
the sheep and beef will all do well to grind.
Again, the gamier beasts are suited well
for aged and cured or smoked and drier fare.
A treatment such as smokéd sausage or
a more exquisite delicacy styled,
as is salami de l’Italie.
A stronger herb as tarragon, and sage,
Or rosemary, or seeds like caraway
and fennel, or with dill and garlic give
an equitable treatment to a meat,
e’er be it pungent, lean, or wild.
An element of smoke and brine can turn
A raw unheated meat into a finished food,
delectable and fully cooked. Some smoke
that useth air but warméd from the fire,
and others useth none but smoke alone.
Still other methods quickly add the smoke
while roasting over open flame. Some fresh
cut wood from apple, cherry, plum, the trees
that fruit or other pleasant smokers those,
caste on the red unscented bed of coal,
impart delicious tones to fleshy fare.
If thou hast method to remove the meat
from standing o’er or far too near the fire,
yet still enjoy the smoke, a chamber such
as smokehouse, chimney or the like, a long
and tended smoking renders flounder, foul,
or cat and cattle, mutt and mutton, ham
and lamb, the hoof to tongue or sausage hung
from rafters of a smokehouse, aged and cured,
thus able to survive the summer months.
To smoking add the element of salt,
as with a brine. The salt draws humours foul
from out the meat, and slows the flesh from spoil.
This, mixed with gentle heat and smoke, will turn
near any meat most fit to board with cups
or serve as sups aboard the seaward ships.
Most thinly sliced the meat must be, or cut
in strips for drying thus throughout. Thin cuts
do well in that an even dryness cures,
but all the same, and thou shalt choose how firm
or dry the finished meat shall be. And sure
be ye, for longer storage, dry complete.
It shall need soaking, but with beans it will
provide a hearty porridge served o’er crust
o’ bread. It also may be chipped and creamed
or added to a hash.
As long as man hath uséd wood to burn
And o’er the burning fire his catch he cast,
What little time it took for him to learn
The smokéd meats, instead of rot, would last.
And brining surely started near the sea,
Since those who live upon’t know salt preserves.
Combining smoke and brining naturally
Would follow for the fellow who observes.
Tis alchemy or magic, likely all
The hidden faerie spirits know for sure.
But both its wizardry and taste enthrall,
And long as there is fire, it will endure.
How grand that we command with little toil
The pow’r to spare a butcher’d meat from spoil.
What mention of the meats should be complete
Without saluting sausages and links?
Why we have this, and not a meaty teat,
We fathom not nor dare to guess, methinks.
All jocularity now put to rest,
The sausage crosses cultural divides.
Why, even wealthy men do not detest
The common, vulgar attributes and size.
Make paste of herbs, of ground meat and of spice.
With force fill gut from bottom to the end.
A pastry bag or grinder should suffice,
And extra hand or so would be a friend.
Serve sausages and ale to any brood
And for that it be there, they’ll call it food.
Links, methinks, serve any time, most any place evoked.
Cold or hot, wurst of brat, baked or boiled, steamed or stoked,
Dredged, dried, smoked, from break of fast to evening’s last,
The sausage serves as sure repast.
Now famous is Salami’s broad appeal,
For rich, a snack, and poor, a ploughman’s meal.
With cheese and bread, salami and a cup
Of ale, no man could fail to call this sup.
The agéd foods enjoy each other’s side.
For all, including wine, be Nature’s pride,
Since each requireth time and come to life,
Before they perish by the cup or knife.
Maturing is, for food as is for folk,
as different as the chicken and the yolk.
Salami profits, like a wine or cheese,
By aging thus making delicacies.
A meat of labors made as ‘twere an art,
Meant as not an entrée, but a start.
A careful grind of separate fat and lean,
then mixed in measured ‘mounts of both combined
with herb and spice, not once allowing fat
a chance to warm, as warming causeth fat
and lean to blend. The mixture must have salt.
The might of salt to cure and to preserve
is most unique and must be used in strict
amount, but with the salt, saltpetre must thou add
in small degree retaining reddish hues,
preventing pungent fouler elements.
A dram too few could badly taint the cure,
while drams excess is sudden death for sure.
Like sausages, though thicker, cram the lot
into the casing of digestive tract.
Tie ends and net it in a hempen rope
along the finished loaf allowing for
the hanging, hardly drooping as it cures,
All aging, drying, staying shapéd by
the looping. First the things are sausage-like.
Remain they chilled for full two days, then warmed
where they may both compose and decompose,
again two days is well. When nature starts
her magic work, salami then is dried
for near a month if wider gut is used.
Herbs or Vegetables
Potatoes, being very new to us,
Did sojourn with Sir Walter Raleigh back
from out of the America, of which
he was so proud, Virginia Colony.
He grew them with much fame in Ireland where
kept he a home in Cork. Ol’ Raleigh’s in
the Tower again, a home he keeps sometimes
at royal requisite. ‘Twas James did put
him there this time to quell th’alleged attempt
to overthrow the King. He might have met
demise, but for the blessed, as Raleigh is,
his sentence was reduced to prison life.
But on, the Irish seemed to take so well
to the potato seemly, and now its fame
is coming to the well established here
in England. The stuff that comes of this
one vegetable marks a battery new
of untapped dishes destined for the books
or annals of eternal time.
Potatoes, in the deeper country wood
Are feared, and thus they are misunderstood.
For those uncultured of the tubers’ pride,
May eat of green and some who’ve done, have died.
Tis not the the leaf and stem, but underground
At thin roots end, the tubers bulbs are found.
These be the morsels suitable for eating.
So be thou warned, as no amount of heating
Can disarm the poison’d p’tato green.
The meat of tubers served to King and Queen
Gives evidence the bud causes no harm.
Their novelty and newness give them charm,
And for a cook, as was with the tomato,
Variety abounds with the potato.
Potato differs greatly from the roots.
Still, underground they grow in families
At ends of fine and netted root beneath
the ground. As how to serve, in cauldron boil,
wherein it either kept form or turns
to lovely paste when under pestle beat,
or baked it also proves a victual fair.
It serves to cut and fry the meat with leek
or onion for a savory side dish rare.
Some find that raw is crisp and fresh and holds
both food and water journeying. The thing
is solid dry, yet filled with rain of earth.
So heating it in any form, will cook
the tubers in themselves.
Like us, they lose
their rigid youth as age sets in, the meat
turns more infirm before it begs to be
interred. Like onion, it informs thee of
its need to reach for earth. Jove does, above
all else, determine when the plants rebirth.
It holds its seed, it’s sustenance, and if
not in the ground it feeds itself until
such time. A most amazing miracle,
this plant of new Amerigo. What new
and other wonders there remain, ‘tis Spain’s
Conquistadors who know.
So much as for
the cooking, there are many ways in which
to do the thing. If whole, unpeeled, it may
be baked. No preparation is required
but that thou clean’st the thing before thou eat’st.
Thou may’st consume both in and out, the meat
and peel, with only salt and butter to
the finding that it compliments a meal
of any sort, and simple to prepare.
Thou may’st well count it done with no more help
than can the ov’n provide. Still fish nor foul,
the beef nor bear, nor any other game
is lessened by its side. Its power will
assuage the most voracious appetites
what e’er the method, make these rare delights.
Besides the bake, so many other means.
For here now be a few in verse, it seems.
Chunked and boiled and softened in a pot,
So mash with butter, milk, and salt, serve hot.
Slice and bake with sauces as thou please,
Taking note, they compliment with cheese.
In a skillet, sliced and buttered well
‘Til browned be they, let raw potato dwell.
In wedges or in blocks bedressed in oil,
Fry, or bake, or fatted deeply, boil.
Shredded, mixed with egg, potato cakes.
Dried and milled to flour, like wheat, it bakes.
Add them to an earthen potted stew,
But fear not the potato or eschew.
Why now, thou know’st not altogether hateful,
So rather of this wondrous gift, be grateful.
Tomato giveth rise to many fears.
The strong resemblance to the Mandrake fruits
or Wolf Peach, as is known, suggests ‘tis not
to be consumed, nor any part thereof
the mandrake fruit to root.
It be not poison, doth for some induce
an indigestion eating of this fruit.
It hath a tart like quality akin
to lemon, though more edible,
and thereby one must eat most sparingly
as thou wouldst do with cheese or pickled things.
It may be simmered down to sugared sauce
for condiment, or cook with garlic, salt,
and pepper, herb and serve it hot atop
some sausages and rice. Then add a touch
of verjuice or a vinegar’d wine makes bold
the flavor but, forsooth excess of this
may cause digestive grief.
Wolf Peach to Love Apples
Tomatoes giveth rise to great alarm
In country and in city widely schooled.
The aromatic herbs consumed will harm,
But of the fruit it beareth, be not fooled.
For many is the myth surrounding this,
From its beguiling charm, it beckons death,
To notions that it urges lovers kiss,
Or steals from thee thy gorge, or fouls thy breath.
If nothing of the tales be likely true,
Then witness of some annum many past,
Where Spanish found the Western natives grew,
Hath been domesticated now to last.
Enjoy love apples then, not as décor,
But by thereof partaking be l’amoré.
Though many now do grow these festive fruits
in gardens far and wide, still there they rot
and fall when after ripe. For mostly are
they shiny yellow globes, bejeweléd
by glimmering leaf and stem when struck
as by the sun. Some few are pink or red,
which seemeth to be more and more from their
domestication. Pretty things, ‘tis not
a wonder many find it rouseth love.
It hath a truly feminine mystique,
held by its curve and smooth attractive peel,
a rousing contrast to the pointed, sharp
and wicked leaves that guard the globes. Why, some
suggest 'twas this and not an apple in
the Garden Adam ate at Eve’s request.
But this a guarantee, thou shalt not feel
more naked after having eaten it.
In sooth, it doth a pretty garden bloom
in summer grow, but give it leave to please
thee with the other merits of tomato.
Eat tomato from the vine
In salad with some greens, divine.
Cheese, which giveth compliment,
May also have been Heaven sent.
Dicéd fine with onion green,
A relish suited for a queen.
Chopped or whole within a stew,
Blesses stew with life anew.
Simmer them with honey making
Tangy sauce, a baste for baking.
Simmer garlic’d, herbed and salted,
Find, when served, the thing exalted.
Serve the fruit that Jove hath made us.
Say huzzah to great tomatoes.
The onion holds a special place in time
For being cultivated longer than
the other vegetables known to man.
Believed to have medicinal use as well
as food, the onion has, for centuries,
been held in high esteem. Physicians do
prescribe them for such maladies as cough
and headache, loss of hair, and even weak
virility. Egyptian slaves did farm
them as a staple, as with spelt or wheat,
and barleycorn. The athletes sporting all
for Greece and Gladiators out of Rome
did garner strength from onion juice. And here,
in England many generations past,
the onions made a currency for trade.
More widely used than any other herb,
the onion serves to garnish or enhance
whatever dish it joins.
The old historic onion holds respect
Among the eating herbs, and be the King
Of all the vegetables by reasoning
and by philosophy. Thou can’st reject
The folly, finding meaning in the peels
of empty, naked truth which it reveals.
If onion, ancient herb, had hidden truth,
No meaning would be found in layers deep,
But thought of as a whole, this message reap:
Twas living once, and could again forsooth,
If left alone and turned again to earth.
But when prepared, provides the soul with mirth.
The onion, more than any other plant,
Is useful in innumerable ways.
Denying them their rightful place betrays
That Jove provided then what is extant.
For Bible tells of onions, garlic, leek,
And all created early in the week.
Like honey, milk, or bread, so onion goes
Among the foods that brandish joie de vie.
It ever hath been eaten sea to sea,
And ancient as is any herb that grows.
Master, servant, huswife, child or slave,
The noble eats as much as doth the knave.
Herbs and Vegetables
The rest of herbals known to us shall be
as thus; to designate between what grows
as leaf or stem and that which is a fruit
or root, call we a leaf an ‘herb’, and save
we ‘vegetable’ for all who are not herbs.
The cucumber, tomato, varied squash,
the peppers and the other fruits that grow
but near the ground, by vegetable shall go.
The fruits that bear no sugars, as the sweets
that grow from trees or bushes oft be like,
we shall name vegetable. The fruits that do
be edible and sweet, no matter how
they grow, as berries on the ground or fall
from trees, we say are fruits. Though masters of
botanicals may differ on the point,
for cooks it matters little what the terms
of science be. If sweet, its fruit, if not,
vegetable, herbs and mushrooms and legumes,
the grains and nuts and seeds. These make
the list of that which can be harvested,
is sown, or grown to feed.
The leafy herbs,
as lettuces or other leafy greens
as borage, purslane, avens, dittany,
or rampion and rocket all be green
of summer. Spinach, as the monarch to,
and master of the greens, hath oft
for centuries been cultivated here
since Saxon times.
For mostly herbs can all
be eaten raw, though be there motive with
the firmer ones to cook until a soft
supplants the hard unpalatable stuff.
The herbs of darker hues as broccoli,
Or sperage, mustard greens, and kale will wilt
Just so with steaming bath, thus making good
the indigestible and rough.
A harder vegetable, as are the roots
like turnip, parsnip, carrot, even beet,
have been unearthed as quite delectable,
and all these many years it hath been greens
of beets be ete. Their meats fare well in soups
and stews wherein they stay a while to cook
in simmer, bake, or boil.
The flowering fruits,
who go as vegetable, the viney fruits
as beans and peas, or cucumbers, courgettes
and squashes, aubergine, tomato, most
of these are fine as raw in salads with
the fairer greens ye make, whilst those that be
of tougher rind do well to stew or bake.
Here, worthy of a note particular,
is that the aubergine, another of
the deadly nightshade family, is not
a poisoned fruit. Why even raw it is
an edible one. The bountiful array
of seeds it bears inside have bitter taste
and might disease digestion. So, ‘tis best
to cook the fruit to such degree as it
would lessen bitterness.
Herbs and Vegetables
A salad compliments a sup of any sort
As sitting pretty by a cut of meat,
And aids digestion, so Physics purport,
Or fruited with a lighter fare, is sweet.
A vegetable aside will dress a plate
By adding colour to the portions served,
Make presentation fit for chains of state.
Not heaped upon, but balanced and reserved.
If leek or onion, cabbage, carrot too,
Potato, turnip, beet, or broccoli flow’r
Tomatoes, peas or beans in soups and stew,
Let flavors blend what ‘ere thou cook’st an hour.
For if they be in sauce, it maketh thick
The quality, and if they be sautéed,
They aid in dressing any meat ye pick,
But absent, they’re a melody unplayed.
Sure, some do nicely sugared to a glaze,
Like yam and carrot, beets or potted beans,
A pumpkin, sweet potato, squash or maize,
Shall most delicious be if by this means.
The grains, as rice and barleycorn or groats,
When soakéd very hot in covered pot
With salt and butter, cook as good as oats
For breakfast or for sup, it matters not.
So sauces, salads, sides, in soups or stewed,
The harvest herb enhances life and food.
The grains, whose seedling corns are used as flour,
need also be included in the herbs.
Now many are the gristmills for the work
of grinding wheats and other grain to flour.
For many be the uses milléd wheat
entails. Such quantity as would fulfill
the public’s strong desire, requireth more
than garden growing can provide. But on
a measurable scale it must be farmed.
Though wild, it were a grass and fielded on
its own. By cutting and beheading wheat,
the fields restoreth not, but must be sewn
again. The reaper thrashes tops of hay
to loose the grains that maketh flour. Remind
you of this now and then when flour is but
deliveréd. It hath the touch of Jove
upon’t. Let not that thought be witheréd.
Oats and maize, the harder wheats and husks,
the barleycorn and many of the nuts,
as hazelnut and almond, make a flour
when ground to dust.
Another bounty blessed upon the cook, e’er rich or poor,
‘tis only skill which turns a flour to bread and nothing more.
For now of meals and flours, there’s little else that need be said.
More emphasis shall be affixéd in the chapter, bread.
The voyage of Columbus had, among
the vast procurements of his journey West
to Indies, favoured beans of many sorts.
Now avidly consumed, legumes be used
in part to bolster hearty fare. Though now,
Potato lessens so much burden on
the bean, but still aside, hath carved a place
among the commoners and there shall ne’er
The bean alone is food enough
to keep a man alive. Providing weight
of grains, the roughage of a green, and more,
the vigor of a meat, the bean is ripe
for table foods as savoury or sweet.
For richer supper, beans are cast aside.
Mayhap, aristocratic tastes that can
afford more meat than hare or rat, prefer
to leave the beans for those who care to cook
Legumes grown green as peas, are cooked
with steam or boiled to simmer down into
a soup. And harder beans that harvest dry
need soaking, but give body to a soup
of ham, or vinegar’d and sugar’d make
a sweet and tangy stew.
Add beans unto thy salad greens though servéd soft and cold.
Or stored, if safe and dry, do seemingly never grow old.
Take any bean and plant it in the ground. It is a seed.
To thy amazement, sprout it shall, as quickly as a weed.
Of many things derived of beans, a breaking windy show,
But wonder at the nature of the food we sow and grow.
Nuts and Seeds
The Almond hath a special place for cooks.
So much so, almond milk, though not a milk
at all, is mostly used instead of that
of cows. For many months out of the year,
the dairy milk hath none too long a life,
so milk that can both serve to cook and stand
upon the shelf is aptly made. Without
the benefit of winter to provide
a haven for the dairy milk, it shall
go sour. All cheese is mostly made of milk
which must be used. Lo, be there recipes
that useth souréd milk or clotted cream,
or other preparations made with spoils,
they far outnumbered be by recipe
that useth fresh whole milk. At time of Lent
of course, e’en with a Scot our Crown, the milk
is all for cheese while only almond milk
is used instead of dairy from a cow.
This point alone is contribution great.
Its heavy use in place of milk aside,
these other ways the almond plays to please.
It may be ground to butter for a sauce
or dressing, as a paste and sugar’d for
a sweet and delicate delight, as oil,
or nearly any way, there be no wrong
or right. The almond is a tasty nut
that raw or roasted, by the graspful, or
as garnish in a salad even sliced
or slivered over treat, in biscuits or
as flour, the Almond, more than other nuts,
make cupboard stores replete.
The Chestnut roasts as morsel in a garnet huskéd robe.
Though groundlings leave the shells at faire, at baitings, and the Globe.
The Walnut lends itself to breads or biscuits and is sweeter.
Tis not the sort of nut thou woulds’t hear cracking at the theater.
The Spanish brought us Peanuts, not a nut, but a legume.
Tis well enough to call it nut but from the ground exhumed.
The other nuts as breadnut, cashew, filbert, and the hazel,
exceptional are they without an ounce more of appraisal.
Anise Seed - is well to do in sausages and stew, or flavoring some cakes and fruits and fancy biscuits, too.
Caraway Seed - an aromatic seed on goose and lamb or other game, but breads and marinade do profit greatly from the same.
Celery Seeds -without the stalk of celery the seed refers the flavor. This seed is fine to add to nearly any dish of savour.
Coriander Seeds-light and lemony flavor is a must in pickling spice, though ground is rare with sweeter fare and surely will entice.
Cumin Seeds - A spicy seed which brings to mind the taste of far off lands, from Spanish coast and inland most, to eastern desert sands.
Dill Seeds - another aromatic seed, which serves to add to pickling brine, in soups, or in a dressing for the greens it serveth fine.
Fennel Seed - for seafood eggs and lighter fare, the fennel seed is pleasant. E’er fish or foul, it fancifies a halibut or pheasant.
Mustard Seeds - again a spice for pickling, but ground another thing. Add vinegar and paste it maketh, condiment with sting.
Poppy Seeds – a mild and nutty flavor good in cakes or topping bread, a fair addition to a dressing, dip, or to a spread.
Sesame Seeds – no other of the seedy spice, exemplar of Far East. It garnisheth a bread most lovely, seen at Royal Feast.
Gravies and Renderings
Most obvious of all the sauces is
the rendered fat of meat. When roasting flesh
that hath a skin as foul, or trimméd fat
as does a roast of beef, what renders off
from heating is a mix of fat and blood.
Now, if thou roasteth over fire, the fat
Which dripeth off and feeds the open flame
creates a higher lick. If rendt is to
be captured, there must be a pan for drips.
O’er fire, tis difficult to catch the fat
that falls, all due to heat and flame that be
directly underneath the meat. ‘Tis not
impossible to do, if first thou stop’st
the flaming with another pan or sheet
between the fire and pan which thou
hast set in use becatching drips. Blockade
the fire directly from beneath the pan
that catcheth drips, allowing meat to roast
more evenly as if’t be oven baked.
The roasting pan in circumstances thus
prevents the need for drip pan or the fuss.
This rendered fat that cometh out from meats
is basis for a range of gravied sauce.
Alone, it is a marbled seasoned blend
of juice and savory oil, which cannot help
but compliment the meat from whence it came.
If by the use of binders thou dost blend
the juice and oils, a gravy thou would’st make
as is the way of serving royals.
surrounding roast, well stew when basted by
the roasting’s juice. Caste any vegetable
about the roasting pan and under cuts
with fatty lips. The herbs sop up the juice
and leave no extra gravy.
Roots serve well
for this as turnip, onion, even now
potato is well ta’en. A parsnip may,
as well will celery and leek, absorb
its rend in much the same. For every roast
provides its own.
So much as shall be true
for fatty foul. The birds that stand and eat
are plump with fatted skin. The ones that fly
about and hardly light, are very lean
indeed. A duck is best before they seek
the warmth of southern seas, when after days
of passive summer rest upon the lakes,
the fatted ducks and geese are tender most.
A boil is next for bones and other bits
unfit to serve a proper meal. Once boiled
it may be simmered down to form a broth
which may reduce. From this, thou find’st
the base for any form of gravied sauce.
For seafood and for shellfish thou may’st do
the like. Boil scraps as heads and fins or shells
of crab and shrimp, but do so right away
while fish is fresh. In summer it is best
to dress a fish and throw the scrap direct
into the boil. For thou should’st rather tend
unto the meat while fresh than have it wait
upon thy favor. Morning time is best
in summer for the handling of fish.
Be certain rinse it right before ‘tis cooked.
The seafood awfal taketh shorter time
To melt the fat and draw the flavor then
reduce. It maketh base most elegant
in sauces dressing other ocean fare.
E’er bird or beast, a savory gravy shall
Be wed well with its host. And any stock
can concentrate from merely boiling bone.
Once thou hast rendered aught, or turned a stock
to rich and heavy soup, then art thou set
to start a gravied sauce.
For very rich
and hearty gravy, as with lamb or calf
or duck, the blood let from the animal
will thicken sauces perfectly. If thou
hast not the taste for so much blood, a half
a hand of flour, which hath been, wetted well
enough to milky thin, then caste into
the gravy over heat shall turn a thin
and oily juice to stout and blended sauce.
If it be magic, therein doth it lie.
Some agent added to a mixture wet
and giving evenness that causeth oils
to blend with juice. So binding elements
diverse doth manifest the wizardry
Now this will be applicable
to any sort of dressing served as sauce,
from milk and butter, to a bloody ale.
Without a binder, sauces, gravies, all
shall surely fail.
To start a creaméd sauce,
first caste some flour to chilléd milk or cream
and add a cut of butter over heat
in saucing pan. But stir relentlessly,
and foster not the lumps. If thou maintainst
a creamy quality until the thick
has set, then thou hath tame’st the issue which
is hardest overcome.
When master ye
the handling of thickened, buttered milk,
a wide array of dressings spring from thence.
Some herbs like tarragon and garlic, or
a splash of wine and thyme would make a fine
accompaniment, or grate of any cheese
is rather likely apt to please.
may be the gravies of a meat, or creams
that hath been flavouréd and butteréd,
or carameled glaze and simmered fruits, or fair
sweet crème énglaise. A dressing whipped of oil
and egg with accent of a spice or herb,
or verjuice with some vinegar and oil
instead, make base for leafy greens.
Begin the sauces with the condiment.
With mustard seed and horseradish to start
Then vinegars or fruits that do ferment
Make pastes that conjure taste as t’were an art.
Bedressing salad useth oils and wine
That hath gone vinegar to start withal.
Some seasoning beneath the pestle grind
And thou hast half of salad dressings all.
Then buttermilk or souréd cream create
A creamy dressing wrought with powders strong,
Or oil and egg when whipped will elevate
A sauce for salads tossed or served along.
If not a gravy, giv’n the meat provide,
Created must it be, but all from scratch.
A sauce can give a compliment or stride
Opposing flavors, for a mix and match.
In place of milk that often will not stay,
A paste of almond water blendt to silk
Will carry, as would dairy and allay
the lack of cream, or that of daily milk.
Those sauces made of creams are masters’ touch.
If for a feast of meat or pastry fair,
With flavors strong, or sweet, sublime and such,
The creaméd sauce is sav’ry, sweet and rare.
To dress a cut of meat or roasted birds,
The creaméd sauce loves wine and herbs or cheese.
Instead add egg and sugar for desserts,
Ambrosia wilt thou have as crème englaise.
To finish dishes carameled with a glaze,
A sauce of sugar spiced by powders sweet
And juice of fruit, create a sauce that plays
Harmoniously on pastries, herbs or meat.
If music be the food of love, one hears
for love of food, the music of the spheres.
Before the dawn of man, before the sun
Was born and moon, his bride were wed.
Before the trees, or beasts, or world begun,
An agent of the lord was baking bread.
The mystery of bread to life or life
To bread be ages older than we know.
The record shows when Adam took a wife,
But scholars know not why man knows to sow.
What stands unique in bread above the rest
Of man’s achievements, math, or tools, or art,
Requireth sowing, harvest, mill and best,
a baker making bread to fill a cart.
It hath a pow’r to draw community,
from field to mill, to bake and market trade,
to feed both rich and poor in unity.
So loaves, this shows, by many hands are made.
No fields of wild grown wheat doth nature bear.
For wheat lives only places it is sown.
No garden, farmers till the land each year
Ensuring that the wheat for bread be grown.
Like milk and honey, bread is every day,
And more must follow hard upon the heel,
Be yeasted, risen, baked without delay.
Though most partake, to make does not appeal.
The baker bears a noble crest indeed,
Like farmers, smithys, millers, tailors too,
Like dairymen, and butchers then, we need
But not impede what best the masters do.
No consequence of skill, the common thread
Be, every child and man will eat of bread.
Doughs and Crusts
If’t be not fit to serve, therein art thou
subscribed to swathe it in the pocket of
delightful pastry call it thencely, “pie”.
Have ye no doubt, ‘tis dough complete, savory
or sweet it covets both and neither. Most
or any meat from rat to rabbit, sheep
to shellfish, cock to oxtail, antelope,
to elk, a bit of beef or piece of pork
will find sweet haven gently mantled as
a crusty pie.
Let not thy memory fail
thee, yet another virtue sings. The crust
can then be stuffed with many other things.
A custard, compote, syruped fruit, mayhap
frommagéd pomme de terre fouettée, e’en
a spicéd curd sufficeth aptly in
a common, yet a more than worthy way.
Now to it, then with no further delay.
A pint o’wheat flour fast from the mill
A ha’pound butter or lard if thou will
A palmful o’sugar, for love o’the daughters
For sons, pinch o’salt
And a drip o’cold waters
Sieve ye together flour, sugar, salt.
Cut lard into the flour with knives until
the contents of the bowl hath forméd crumbs.
With water, added drip by drip, press all
the dough together gently taking care
as not to knead too well.
For ease of use,
additionally chill the ball before
thou rollest out.
Tis less distressful in
the dead of winter, keeping butter cold.
The matter of the butter holding firm
in preparation of the pastry dough
is paramount in palatable crust.
Thou shoulds’t not mind nor care,
But find in victuals not replete with leaven wheat,
A golden pie can satisfy the certain dread from lack of bread.
Alternatively, if time permitteth so,
a yeasted crust holds heartier filling as
are chunkéd meat or vegetables and sauce
as cheeséd dressing suitable to grasp
in hand. Here then is fitting pasty dough
which best is served with Beer.
A ha’pint o’water, or leftover ale
A pinch o’ the yeast pitched atop and alight
Some sugar, but just to whet yeast appetite
A ha’pint o’ wee salted flour in the pail
Then lo, let ferment with a cover from air,
And thy crust shall be crispy and golden and rare.
Once thou’st determined its fermented well,
for anytime betwixt an hour or two
is well to do, it must be kneaded such
that it cannot be reckoned ‘twixt a ball
of dough and bottom of a natal babe.
To warm and smooth, it must be turned about,
revitalizing stretch and waking lazy yeast.
combine to even paste and turn onto
a board that hath a pitch of flour upon.
It will be sticky, greaséd hands will aid
the kneading, shaping, or whatever next
is best required by any given bread.
Let rise the dough then pat it down and let
it rise again. Thou needest not a clock
to know, the dough will tell you when.
to even portions and roll out upon
a floured board to rounds. Then fill and fold,
to seal it, pinch and then popover, bake
in oven very hot for half an hour.
A glaze of beaten egg provides a gloss
and golden crust. Or dry and dusted proves
a toasty crispy shell.
The matter of the bread alone is worth
A book. But herein shall be best described
What maketh bread and what shall make it worse.
In effort to consolidate for ease
Of understanding, this must be a verse.
Into a gill of warméd water caste
A ha’pint flour then mix and let it rest.
In effluence, the yeast of ages past
Are passed by air, to sugars where they nest.
When sun and moon have roundly turned a day
The pool of wetted flour will come to life.
By ample proof that yeast are hard at play,
With seething air, the bowl of flour is rife.
The stirring pool of foaming flour is start.
From here there be a loave’s amount of yeast,
Although the cook who oft must bake is smart
By keeping stores of starter so increased.
In larger bowl add two more pints o’flour
With pinch o’salt and added wheats or ryes.
An agéd starter turns the loaves to sour,
a splendid prize to whomsoever tries.
Whatever sort of loaf, some things remain
important, sure to bring to bread success.
The water content must the loaf sustain,
And thereby from the start, this thus address.
When blending flour and water never cease
The churning till the flour hath turned to dough.
If dough is dry and holdeth not, increase
the water, take it from the bowl and throw.
Upon a flouréd table thou must knead
With steady turning strokes until ‘tis smooth.
Some doughs be quick to blend and others need
A long and daresay tended knead, in sooth.
When after dough is fully warm and wrought,
It resteth till it doubleth in size.
A swollen or inflated dough is sought,
a sign that for thy effort it shall rise.
Sometime it be an hour, or longer still
To see the rise erupt about the bowl,
But by and by with patience, soon it will,
Then beat it down, as rising is the goal.
When aft the dough hath risen e’er a while
Reform it after folding to a shape,
then place it in a form befitting style,
and swathe the rising loaf with dampened drape.
Now with another rise, but in a form,
Or simply shapéd loaves, oval or round,
Upon the top some slashes may be shorn,
Encouraging the elevating mound.
Without delay, into the oven bake,
At first, most hot, then lower for to cook.
A bread the size prescribed should likely take
A half an hour’s time to bear the look
Of finished bread and have a crumb inside
that’s neither underdone nor slightly o’er.
An equitable heat, so here applied,
Shall finish cooking crust unto the core.
If less than half an hour it be too hot.
If much more time the oven be too cool.
For two score of an hour exceed ye not.
In this, adjust thy recipes to rule.
When from the oven fresh emergeth grand
the finest bread the world shall never know,
To finish, let it be, to cool and stand
as inner steam released completes the dough.
Of loaves variety do not discern,
But wet the flour and knead and bake and learn.
Though these be foods of lords and noblemen
Who, after feasting see a table cleared,
A mention they deserve for those, who when
a honey have procured, turn treats revered.
Some candied fruit, or bark of honey’d nuts,
a custard sweet of egg and dairy made,
Or spiced and fruited breads with eggs be what’s
Served forth when aft betimes the meal be laid.
Lo, lack of sugar, honey, or what’s borne
Of fruits reduced, or saps as maple bleeds,
Or syrup sparged of malted barleycorn,
But one of these fulfills confection’s needs.
No parapet of power which class asserts
Shall stay the rapture gleaned of just desserts.
For mostly now tis sugar more than old
preferréd honey, added thence to sweet
confections, puddings, cakes and biscuits, or
such favorites as marchepane and fruits
becandied, brittled nuts and berries.
Again, as we befriend with Rome and Spain,
the sugars they produce have come to be
a marketable fare among the throng
of guildsmen, traders, craftsmen and the like
whose wages can support the odd delight.
A guild of sugar manufacturers
exists, as well the guild distributing,
sith only by apothecary can
ye ‘quire a sugar loaf, or better still,
the white and crystal rock for thee to grind.
For Nobles and the gentry to sustain
the edge they once enjoyed with sweets, they now
must all have wine and liquored dainties, such
that commoners may never see the like.
They mean no insult only in they mean
to raise the standards culture can delay.
And rightly too, the rich who have the means
must fortify what man can best achieve.
The wealth of modest men aspiring all
and for the benefit of culture, when
without a pause, could easily spend thrift
upon all else and lavishly themselves,
do still, in troth, pay tribute and respect
unto the arts.
So lauded must they be.
The gamut of desserts and dainties grows.
With every cook another treat be tried
Or so concocted as to join the scale
And register a note of newest song.
Like music, food hath not a final form
That suits all cooks and styles combined, in that
No other way is worthy of a trial.
With every cook composing fresh, untried,
Or so invigorating recipes
Of old, there seemeth thence to be no end,
as any other art.
So then of sweets,
What can be said if ever end there shall
be naught. Tis so, what ought need’st know shall here
Begin with comfits, fruits or nuts
By mixing up sweet powders in a base
Of honey, maple sugar, date or cane.
In stow of arid warm environment
where air may unobstructed pass about
The honey’d stuff, let this confection dry
And turn in baskets letting humours out.
When dry to touch, a sugar’d hardened shell
Is all to know the candied meats are done.
When in a pot thou put’st to butter brown
And sticky sugar melted hot, and then
a whisk of cream, ye let it boil a bit
but shy o’burning, then when it is cool,
it shall be caramel sauce. This condiment
is favored on a list of fine desserts.
The custards and the fruited cakes, the pies
And crumbles welcome nectar so divine.
When to the milk and cream thou addest egg
and sugar, custard shall become of this
in varying degrees from cream to curd,
though whisking is the key to all of these.
Achieving creamy sauce, yea any sauce
with milk or cheese or one that must hold fast
The oils and spoils, is crucial to the art
of master cookery itself.
puddings, dressings made of egg, do all
require steady churning as they rise
unto a boil.
A fingerling of flour
Pitched also to the pot while cream and milk
and butter still be cool, will bind the egg
and dairy to a smooth ambrosial cream.
While still a sauce, it may be strewn atop
an eggy cake as Spotted Dick or Quince
in Crumble Crust.
The thicker it becomes,
the more a custard cooled. Be sure ye not
while boiling hot, expect the curd be like
the thickness cool as is when not. It will
be thinner much while hot, compared to when
For shortbread or a biscuit, egg,
and butter, sugar of a sort and flour
be nearly all the start of every one.
Then flavoured with selections such as mace
and almond, anise, cinnamon or root
of ginger, powdered clove, a watery glaze
of sugar, rosewater or egg and bits
of nut and raisins, currants or some oats
to turn a crisp and buttery delight.
Some syruped fruit will fancy dress a crepe
or custard bake, will fill a pie, reduced
or jellied decorate a biscuit, layer’d,
it may be laid into a crust as does
befit a yeasted egg and butter cake.
Now to this, some comfits or marmalade,
the favoured marchepane or ‘haps some fruit,
e’er dried or soft, and meats of nuts remake
each cake and pudding, pie, and bun.
O ay, hers eys er fat ‘n brown.
No eys is these belyke in town
Fer freyin, beatin, boyl’n down
Me henys eys er bess arown.
John the Fowler
The eggy is another mystic food,
A boon of heav’n if ever gift there be.
A miracle, a wonder how but one
Mere hen provideth hundreds in a year.
And then, what miracle when men create
the vast array of dishes eggs inspire.
From morning, boiled, or even skillet fried,
to ploughman’s lunch upon the side,
to evenings end when supper’s done,
Thou wilt, in thy dessert, be eating one.
In cooking tis the yolk is most desired,
For all the white suspension hath the stench
That is familiar to the egg. Some white
Is used, but never quite as much as yolk.
It doth however lend the special aid
of leavening a cake or a soufflé.
Meringue, be true, be nothing but the white
So none need go to waste by end of day.
To make a special bread of flour and egg,
Add yolks a’plenty to fermenting flour
And let it rest a while before thou add’st
it to remaining dry ingredients.
This dough is best for tender bready cakes,
With powders sweet to dress, or rolled with dried
Or stewed and sugared fruit, a yeasted, sweet,
befruited cake is made.
a custard thick is all but egg and milk
with sweetening and flavors added thence.
A constant stir and heat, but long and low
To keep the milk from burning and the egg
from seizing into curds. With heating to,
but very short a boil, the milk and egg
combine to form a smooth and custard thick
delight which can be servéd forth as ‘tis,
or baked withal in crust or candied fruits.
When by its clinging to thy spoon it stays
A healthy layer like a dipping wax,
it then be done and no more to the fire.
When as it cools the custard will improve
in its consistency.
With scant amounts
of flour to milk and egg, a flatened cake
is made, e’er it be servéd sweet, bedressed
in syruped fruit, or under buttered egg,
or lemon sauce and meat. This wraps about
a sausage casing, making quite a treat.
But milk and sugar, flour and egg, a pinch
O’salt and butter in but varying
degrees of one unto the other, hot
or cold, or fried in fat or oven baked,
bestirred within a pot,
Put egg in biscuits, muffins, sweetened buns,
in cakes or shortcakes, pastries, certain ones,
alone with salt, or hardened, chopped, and mixed
in salads, or with chippéd meat betwixt,
as soft and fried upon a cut of pork
or chop of lamb, or scrambled by a fork,
mayhap with milk and sugar in a pot,
perpetually stiring, being careful not
to let it scald, or drink it warm with wine
as nog, whilst lying by the fire, supine.
Use egg to thicken sauces as a treat
As either sweet or gravy over meat.
Put egg in certain soups and potted pies
Dropped in a hole atop as a surprise,
Or blend them in a vegetable stew
And bake it in a buttered pan in lieu
Of frying as for omlette thou hast done.
Like eggs, the rhyme here ends where it begun.
Like wines of France each region is unique,
By sun and rain, by soil and vintner, vine
And barrel, ripened grapes when picked at peak
Produce a mark denoting local wine.
With cheese, each milking cow and all she eat,
The time of day the milk be drawn, what blend
Of cream to milk be used, and whither heat
Or cooler weather’s gentle zephyrs send,
Its storage, as a cave, gives flavouring,
Authenticating where and whence it came.
Though many choose a cheese for favoring,
to cooks, tis like a color, none the same.
So merry, make each area you please,
But go there and procure the proper cheese.
Again with Lent so prominent a time,
and Seamus, once the Scottish King, be ours,
we dally not with dairy for the days
between the Savior’s fast and rise. As we
refrain from using milk in food, the cows
may not refrain from issuing. So best
is now the time for making cheese. It gives
the aging period a start, and while
observers do abstain from dairy goods,
those making cheese do profit greatly from
the Lentyn days a Christian doth revere.
In fact, the lords whose father’s had renounced
the Catholic faith to favor Anglican,
still in religious practice do foreswear,
and not partake of milk and dairy goods.
But now, what’s worse for curd, ‘tis out
of favour with the royalty since men
of medicine have now prescribed it stops
Yet still among the farmers and
the folk who had adopted Henry’s Church,
be sure they toss not out the milk. What shame
it be the cheese is out of faovour now.
Accepted most is Almond Milk, which stands
In lieu of goats or cows when nothing fresh remains.
E’en that King James is friendly now to Rome,
appeasing Catholic enmity with Spain,
both Catholic and Anglican alike
may, without persecution, practice faiths.
But lo, He be a Christian and a King,
least not a puppet of the Pope and stays
his hand from executing half the folk
o’er which he sudden rules.
With prudence grand,
he hath united All of Britain, not
with fear or faith, but by a reasoned hand.
Curds and Whey
Though cheese be not in fashion, a refrain
To credibly domesticated food
As cheese, subscribéd be and here remain
Explainéd, sith this ancient art be good.
Of milk drawn of a cow, of goat, or sheep,
When it be first and fresh of early morn,
Retire unto a pot in which to steepe
It til the curds and whey be born.
To curdle milk without the stench of spoil,
An agent must thou add to bind the milk.
Some vinegar or verjuice maketh roil
the dairy quick to whey and curds of silk.
Then heat the whey, the curds will firm and set,
then put thee to this, stomach cleaned and cut
from kid or calf, though not a mother’s pet.
Jove warned, if thou do this, His love be shut.
Some magic is derived from stomach skins
that turns what aught to stink into a cheese
when added to the pot as cook begins,
allowing curds to better bind and seize.
The curds be then awash in water hot
to aid removing whey betwixt and tween.
So salt the curd and cook, though boil not,
then presseth to a clean and moulded screen.
The curd will pack together in a searce
Or pressed with force into familiar rounds.
A bath of brine will follow or the curse
Of mold shall grow in great abounds.
If other than a brine, a cloth to wrap,
But change the cloth as often as is apt
To stay the mositure and, but worse, mishap
of spoilage on the cheese to which its wrap’t.
Now agéd in a steady tempered place
Like caves, for weeks or months, whatever suits.
A cellar be an equitable space
for storing cheese, or agéd meats, or fruits.
Twere best to stow the cheese within a cage
Protected from the likes of mice and rats.
As no one minds the cheeses as they age,
Thou cans’t rely entirely on cats.
In weeks or months the blocks of curds refine,
as cheese, like wine, with age becomes sublime.
To make a marbled molded fancy cheese
As bleu of Roquefort, add small amounts
of finished real cheese from France To boiled
and cooléd water like a start for bread.
Bestir it to a milkiness and add
unto besalted curds, which stead of firm,
are gently packed and drained as one.
in fustian cloth, bepierce the cheese, for air
and mold. It must maintain a steady cool
for months, and in a humid place. T’were best
in cellar store, or if thou hast, as hath
the Keep, a dungeon, dally not with stores
of pantry, throw them in the hold. But mind
ye not leave even tended cheese exposed.
The reputation mice and rats employ,
Compareth not to cheese they shall enjoy.
For thine own sake, protect it from the beasts
By metal cages stacked or hung at least.
The rounds, like children, need some tending still.
Their dressings must be changed until such time
As they no longer weep. The moistened cloth
Invites unwanted molds and can a cheese
Destroy. Some may be wrapped, some waxed, and some
Shall form a skin upon its own, a rind,
For each unto its kind.
A special lauding for our native cheese
As Cheddar, Cheshire, Lancashire and on
With Gloucester, Stilton, Dovedale, Buxton Blue.
For every shire another cheese was born,
though most do not reflect their place of birth,
but rather, where the markets gave them worth.
In Derbyshire, in Nottingham, the cows
Of Leicestershire and Staffordshire as well,
Do udder up the richest dairy blend
For making Englands famed and finest cheese.
The grasses of the northern inland shires
Do seem to have what cheese desireth most
When so consumed by milk producing cows.
With finest milk and molds unique to each,
No shire is like another so each cheese,
Like ale, shall offer what its maker makes.
The benefit of pressing on the loaf,
Creates a hard or firmer final block.
So doth the cheddar and its kin adopt
this novel English Westcountry approach.
So make it, if the master wisheth so,
But for the best, to market thou must go.
Be ye of means or have ye nothing,
Lean for beans or fat with stuffing,
Cleanse ye inners, guts and chutes
Betimes ye sup on fleshy fruits.
Before the many attributes of fruit
Shall be addressed, another of the great
And vastly potent gifts begot of Jove,
The Apple, at its core, most represents
The ills of man’s desiring, while it stands
In contrast as a sign of knowledge and
of thought. This symbol of romance, and lust,
and knowledge, contradictons for a man
Of mettles wrought by fear and faith, betrays
The notion, wisdom holds the key. It then
So ill suggests romance and cognizance
To be a sin and not acceptable
to Jove. Therefore, as consequence, to know
too much equates with disobeying Jove.
Howe’er, the challenge Jove presents is grand,
With expectation high for he who tries
to understand the mysteries of Him
and all He may demand of us as men.
If evil we had never known, what good
Would be in good? Now that we know
What little we do know, His hope for us
Is that we try to know as much as He.
Preposterous as this may sound, the truth,
If truth in it there be, beside the tree
Of good and evil, be the tree of life.
If thou shoulds’t eat of it, and even
Climb among its limbs, tis said to serve
To thee and to thy mate, a power divine
Which profits man and beast, the waters, earth,
and air, while capturing the sparks of Jove
from darkness back unto His Holy Name,
and all foreboding from forbidden fruit.
The Apple wears these badges, Heaven sent,
with pride. No greater gifts to represent
than man’s most cherished attributes of Jove,
as Knowledge, Understanding, and of Love.
In Florence, Rome, and in Milan
Italian artists, painters thither, who
Depicted the annunciation or
The incarnation, trials, and passion of
The Savior, did include into these works
As symbols, certain fruits whose qualities
Assigned a meaning each unto its kind.
Of course the apple plays a prominent role
In many paintings of the Fall of Man
and Pomegranates oft are seen to mean
the blood or everlasting life. The Peach,
The Holy Trinity, as it reflects
in layers of a sphere, as science says
the universe is so designed, but here,
with skin, and flesh, and stone. Or oranges
which, with their blossoms, stand for chastity
and other fairer qualities in maids.
A pear is seen as virtue sweet, and grapes
And wine will represent the King of Kings.
The Fig, e’er ripe or dried, be oft assigned
With learnéd thinking, or a pedant mind.
No fruit to stand for Hell’s eternal vise,
But red, ripe berries carry paradise.
For apples, pears and firm fruits such as these,
Tis either bake it in a sugar’d, spiced
and buttered dressing with a crust below
or all about, or thou may’st simmer down
and mash for condiment. An apple sauce
is fair as fare with pork or chops of lamb.
With softer fruit as berries, peaches, plums,
And figs, or melons, cherries, currants, grapes,
Reducing to a syrup, or perhaps
A gentle folding into cakes, or still,
Stirred softened into custard gently swirled.
A tangy sauce of fruit reduced without
The aid of sugars, serves to compliment
A meat of nearly any style, though meat
Of lighter flesh as pork and fowl or fish
Decidedly do well bedressed in sour
Or bitter fruits. Pour sauce of orange or
A lemon cream with pepper served atop
a chop of mutton or some Dover sole.
Use zest of rinds to make the flavor bold.
In England here, no grape has ever grown
but worth a fig. For wine, the grapes of France
or Germany, Italian grapes grow apt to this.
But for a mead, an ale, or cider pressed
From English apples, hither shall extol
Such fine fermented flavours well addressed.
Again the apple plays a prominent role.
For Cider, strong and full of pith, entire
Autumnal apples plucked from off the ground,
A Scrumpy made of mashed and rotting fruit.
To fashion Cider Pure, a pressing due
The fruit, but none so ripe as falling from
the trees. With these, as with an ale, thou needst
a flagon large enough to foam and to ferment
the batch as one. Be certain any foul
unwanted molds or scum be drawn from off
the top as it ferments. Let not the growth
of heavy, moldy patches sink into
the drink. For mostly watch the Scrumpy, which
by nature of its pulp and pith, be apt
to draw a foul infection ‘pon itself.
Once spirits have been raised and cider’s hard,
Its fermentation staves and stands a guard
against befouléd flavours, odours rank.
For alcohol, the utmost we need thank.
Thus, man’s most sacred, sweet, alluring, sin
Begetting, life enduring, heaven blessed,
And thus assuring foods be that of fruit.
Requiring nothing but to satisfy.
No hunting, fishing, farming, or the like,
But simply let Jove’s Nature sow Her seed
With mirth, and to our profit, be the fruit
Of all her labors, asking nothing more
than our partaking of the beauty of
her worth. Such is the glory of the Earth.
Go forth unto the garden. Multiply,
Oh, children of the new and mother world.
Devour whatever grows to satisfy,
Let ‘lone the tree that governs secrets, furled.
Old Vic, hath wit and power to deceive.
Voraciously consuméd be his word,
Ensuring they, whate’er he said, believed,
So all he most desired of man occurred.
Forbidden fruit? Why leave it here, if not
Reward for curiosity’s appeal?
Until such time as what we’ve learned’s forgot,
Is not at all what God hoped to reveal.
Tis fool believeth God is not Old Vic.
So who is wise, and who be witless, thick?
Her Majesty, Fruit
No treatment but the touch of Jove, divine,
Is needed by a tree to make a fruit.
For honey, bees, and cane, tis men refine,
But nectar of the fruit be made to suit
With sweet and flowing, ripe and swollen orbs.
The ale is sop, the water slop, but juice
Of fruit is healthy, and tis said, absorbs
Most readily within, then like a sluice,
Releaseth humours bad with passing cups.
The flesh of fruit hath also sweet reward
To mens digestion servéd forth with sups,
Since they so oft have, of their health, ignored.
E’er beareth she the seed, or pip, or stone,
The fruits be queen, and vine and tree, her throne.
With cider thus set forth tis also met
with other fruited drink belikes of ales
for Winter Festivals and Holy Days,
or berry wine. For all, thou can’st create
within the private kitchens of a lord.
By this alone, the cook is well adored.
Sauce and Dressing
Take any fruit that’s peeled and simmer down
with sugar for a sauce. Some honey, or
some barley malt insinuate the fruit
were very sweet. Or if thou dost prefer,
the fruit alone, to make a glaze for meat.
For sauces savory with undertones
of fruitiness, tis best to leave the sweet
uncrutched. For then thou can’st adjust upon
the roast e’er sugar, salt, or sour to join
the flavors to the meat. Too sweet a sauce
requires dilution in the form of salt.
So make a fruited glaze all mixed at once,
with mace and ginger, or a pinch of clove
that hath been ground. The stronger powders weigh
against the fruit and bind them all as one.
Begin the roast without the sauce at first
And brush it o’er the meat after a time.
Then do so on and on until the meat be done.
Allow the final coat some time to glaze
And bake upon’t.
Now, for a saucy treat
well suited for confectionary use,
it can be either strong, as with a mix
of powders, or alone as simple fruit.
For firmer fruits as medlars, cherries, pears,
Some mashing to a paste may be required,
Unless the lumps of fruit are so desired.
These syruped, spicéd fruits bedress a wide
variety of fancy fare. For cakes,
Both short and risen, as a topping or
As for a layer, simmer down the fruit
to such degree as makes the cooléd sauce
a thick and spreadable, delicious paste.
This thicker sauce serves well inside a dough,
Or other treats as biscuits sweet, or fine
French pastry roll. And all do well with wine.
For pies desirable, cook not at all,
But cut the fruit and mix it well with spice
And sugar so, then add the dresséd fruit
into the crusted plate for pie. There be
No magic recipe preparing fruit
for pie. Tis oft some cinnamon, or bean
vanilla, ginger, powders sweet are tossed
with fruit before a pie to make. Then with
a crust below prepared and rolled, and on
the top, another pierced for steam to ‘scape,
then bake. The fruit reduceth there within,
so cut and peel is well ‘nough to begin.
To beautify a pie before thou bake’st,
Beglaze with beaten egg and garnish thus,
with sugars, coarsly ground.
Salad of Fruit
As fruit begins to ripe, the berries and
The melons start the season well, as well
They start the meal. Tis so suggested by
The men of med’cine, he who sups or dines
With these, the softer fruits, and end with firm,
shall aid in the digestion of a meal.
A salad made of berries, peaches, grapes,
and melon chunks, bestrewn with currants, nuts,
and spicéd wine before the meal, excites
the appetite from hungering to crave.
The season shall determine when thou may
Receive of her the gifts of harvest fruits,
From summer’s berries, melons, peaches, plums,
Til autumn’s zephyrs, ripens firmer ones.
Marmelade and Spreads
Tis Marmelade upon the inner crumb
Of bread with butter, children, both the young,
And older more infirm who have no teeth,
Enjoy the most. Some tea and cakes or bread
With marmalade and butter, barely said,
Are quickly noticed and devouréd.
These jellied fruits have binders in the skin
And meat that, with the added element
Of heat, shall cause the mixture to congeal.
For marmalade, which hath a bitter tone,
Set thee to water hot, the rinds of fruit
Of orange, lemon, even grapes with hard
And hardy skins produce a marmalade
By adding softened rinds to tart the jam.
The range of fruit conserves, preserves, and jams,
Be best defined by their consistency,
the clarity, and whether sugar’s used,
Or if it carries bits of fruit or hath
Beer or Ale
Though not myself a man of heavy drink,
Respect is due and served to ale, methink.
For who am I to my society
That judges man by his sobriety?
“Drink to our health”, and many’s o’ common phrase,
Be ye of naught or wealth, the ale stays.
Presume thou wilt not malt the barley on
thine own. If raw thou comest to the grain,
then roasted it must be. A malted grain
is one that hath been germinated slight,
and nothing more. Though roasted barley on
its own will with some time ferment, tis malt
of barley roasted, soaked and when thou hast
the honey drawn, that then shall feed the yeast.
Yea, roasted malted barley will provide
the various depths of tints and tastes from that
of paler ales, to dark and oaty stouts.
The likes of which, concocted from the range
of roasted malts, which vary from the light
and toasted caramel tones to all but burnt.
The grains then must be cracked to free the hearts
Of starch that then are sparged. This means a brew
by making tea from barleycorn.
from in the corn is thus derivéd from
the malted, roasted grain, and known as wort.
The honeyed liquor’s leached by manner of
repeated scalding baths. The custom is
to simply pitch some yeast into the wort
and by and by an ale is made.
of tainting can take hold before the beer
is done, so taste it oft. If’t reek or hath
the flavor of a sportsman’s leggings, sure
then it be foul and be not fit to drink.
Some find unfanciful the sweetness of
the malt and oft desire a bitter, sour
or harsher note to balance out the sweet.
Forsooth, one may add herbs unto the brew,
providing bitters, flavours, and piquant
aromas to the ale, depending on
the length of time they boil, which then produce
a quality unique to every beer.
of spelted brew, that borne of Babylon
by stone-etched recipe, is eldest of
all recipes to date. Its origin
is thought to be an accident of fate.
Mayhap tureen of grain left out in rain,
malting began, the water dried, more rain
and then uncultured yeast did churn the urn
and after time a beer was born. Such is
Boil thy wort at least an hour,
Bitter herbs an hour as well.
Lesser time, the herb will flower,
Adding herbalescent smell.
When the wort is boiled and cooléd
Water add, a firkin half.
By the taste or colour, schooléd
Brewers never turn a gaffe.
Pitch a prooféd brewers yeast,
Shake the blown glass heavy vessel.
Let it rest a day at least
And on the top a head shall nestle.
Now let churn the magic mixture,
Raising spirits out of grains.
Leave alone the flagon fixture
‘Til the liquids clear again.
Rack into a firkin barrel
Add a pint of barley malt.
When thou plug’st the bunghole there’ll
Soon be beer, thou “meister alt”.
Added sugars turn to bubbles
Trapped inside the barrel walls.
Tap the vessel for your troubles.
Draw off any yeast that falls.
Drink the draughts of ale and then,
Proof the yeast. Begin again.
Ever have I loved the written verse.
Decidedly it moves my very soul.
What I had deemed a blessing, now a curse,
And where I once was full, be there a hole.
Restore me, Jove, to former paragon.
Deliver fettered wit and rattled form.
I swear to ne’er forsake these, here anon.
So doing stirred the clouds, enraged the storm.
Now envy ever ravages my heart.
On all occasion, wit hath not a match
To either test his mettle or his art.
With confidence composes he a catch.
Intent upon impressing all, I begged
Let me be head to head with one so sharp,
Lest ever poet’s part were pity pegged.
In that, I played and heard misery’s harp.
All that I am or ever I shall be
May never parallel the skill of thee.
For the Honorable Earl of Oxford
Edward de Vere
From the Kitchen at the Keep
The Master now enjoys a peaceful rest.
‘Twas he set fire beneath this poet’s pots,
While his poetic tinkerings request
A patience, as if reading the begots.
He oft delivered songs of verse, his forte,
Which met with alms of accolaids at court.
Respect he held for art in all its forms,
From stage to canvas, kitchen to the word,
His patronage was wide and so informs
His love of those the Muses have procured.
Though as a poet, his were none so keen,
as did elicit smirking from the Queen.
In that he cared, he cared as much for food,
By keeping stocked the pantry like a royal.
And ate as well did Bessie, who was good
To hers, the cooks and kitchen staff she’d spoil.
Though when Her Majesty here came to dine,
The food was wonders good, but was not mine.
The Queen and many writers know my kin.
Of William I refer, who is my brother.
Courtiers who wish favour to win,
Write verses to the queen or one to other,
Though no one, even Raleigh will confess,
Composes as my brother William S.
My kinsman moves in circles low and high,
Providing him with ample writer’s fare.
He draws on fact he gleans from such as I,
And sudden, in a play’s a current affair.
De Vere, the master, thought so much of Will,
The envy of him haunts Hedingham, still.
The art of patronage may ne’er again
Enjoy a host as good Lord Chamberlain.