Annie Gray
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‘A practical art’
An archaeological perspective on the use of recipe books
in Reading and writing recipe books, 1550–1800
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This chapter addresses some of the ways in which written sources, specifically recipe books, and, within them, culinary recipes and associated writings can be used by archaeologists. By the early eighteenth century, printed recipes started making use of China cups for serving both foods and medicines, and by the mid-century they started appearing as measuring tools or even, along with saucers, as cooking vessels. Recipe books can be useful aids in considering the spatial set-up of kitchens. Many standing examples of kitchens and food-preparation spaces survive from the period under study. Recipe books also afford insights into the mentalities of culinary preparation. The ordering of ingredients and intellectual hierarchy through which raw ingredients were processed into finished dishes should not be assumed to be the same as our post-'green revolution' ways of ordering knowledge about foodstuffs.

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