Every day at noon in the dining hall of New College, Oxford in the
1770s, a feast was laid for students and the dons, clad in white
waistcoats and wigs. They sat down to cod with oysters, ham, fowls,
boiled beef, rabbits smothered with onions, mutton, veal collops,
pork griskins, New College Puddings, mince pies, and roots
(vegetables). That was only the first course. For the second
course, they were served roast turkey, a haunch of venison, a brace
of woodcocks, snipes, veal olives, trifle, blancmange, stewed
pippins, and preserved quinces. Ralph Ayres was the genius behind
this daily repast, and his choice recipes are chronicled here in
"Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book,"
If you've ever wondered what a London Wigg was or why plum cake
does not actually contain plums, "Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book" will
prove to be a most rewarding collection. Here the details of
sumptuous British meals are meticulously presented, as is their
larger context in the history of cooking. Recipes for such famous
dishes as Quaking Pudding, Oxford Sausages, Damson Preserve, and
other savory English delights fill the pages. Some, such as the
famous New College Pudding, are still used today. The volume is
beautifully produced, featuring a wealth of full-color botanical
illustrations and elegant script reproduced from the original text,
and also includes an informative foreword by Bodleian emeritus
librarian David Vaisey.
A captivating glimpse into the world of eighteenth-century food and
the culture of academia's apex, "Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book" is a
valuable and engaging historical chronicle of British cuisine. It
will appeal to social and culinary historians, as well as to the
many lovers of griskin andcollops.
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