Monday, September 7, 2009

Cookery O' the Kitchen "KEEP"


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.












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.

Here be

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.

Preparing Meat


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.


Roasted Meat

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

a sauce.

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.


Ground Meat

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.

Meat Preserved

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.

Pot o’Potato

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.

Tomato, though

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.

How To-mato

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

the cat.

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.

Some herbs

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

of sauce.

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.

A sauce

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.

Cut dough

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.

Well Bread

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.


Just Desserts

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

be taught.

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.

The custards

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

tis not.

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.


Eyman’s Verse

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,

Ouefs Extraordinaire

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

the bow’ls.

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.

While wrapped

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.

Erlizah Peele

The Apple

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.

God’s Fruits

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.

Filling Pie

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

In summertime

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

Been seived.

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.

Wesley Brewster

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.

The sweet

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.

A sort

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.

A 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

the speculation.

Brewing Beer

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.

No Other

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.