Laleham (near London): 1810-1846. 4to. Manuscript compendium of recipes, written on Britannia paperstock dated "1804," altogether 182 handwritten pages, numbered 7-54, 56-88 (p. 55 skipped) followed by 99 unnumbered pages, the first 6 pages excised, the remainder blank save the final leaf which on the recto gives an index for pages 36-54 only (the preceding page has been torn away). Inexplicably the compiler stopped compiling the index after writing the entry that appears on p. 54. Some dried botanical specimens laid in; additional recipes on slips of paper laid in. Contemporary English stiff vellum (worn and soiled, as one might expect having been in a kitchen for decades). Very good. Item #3656
Intriguing English manuscript cookbook, spanning almost a generation of Georgian cuisine and food preservation, containing more than 230 recipes, medicinal remedies and household tips. The MS is particularly strong in terms of wine and liqueurs. It is valuable in documenting changing English tastes and culinary fashions, as well as recording newly imported dishes from India and Palestine. The paper stock of our MS is securely dated "1804" (see images).
At least three writers were involved in the compilation: the first one was "Henrietta Hartsell" of Laleham on the Thames (a village 17 miles west of London near Staines), who dated the MS "1810" on the first leaf. These dates of the recipes continue until "Oct. '46" which appears on the last page of the MS (a recipe for "Savory Rice," the source being "Mrs. Jones"). Judging from the several abrupt changes in handwriting, the MS was written by several individuals concurrently, suggesting a close-knit group of writers, likely members of the same Georgian family (or staff). It is surprising that the present MS was compiled (and well used) in little Laleham, starting with Henrietta Hartsell in 1810. We draw attention to the fact that in 1876 the population of Laleham was only 567. That there are so many recipes for wines, and foods requiring such a variety of specialized ingredients, suggests that the compilers belonged to a wealthy family, or were employed by one. There were few families of this description in Laleham 1810, but we may name those residing at Laleham Manor House, or the now-destroyed house of Rev. John Buckland (1785-1859), Matthew Arnold's uncle and tutor.
The sources of many recipes and remedies are credited: for instance, on pp. 12-14 we find recipes for Furniture renewal (Mrs. Ann Horsby), Ginger Wine (Mr. Salmond, York), Ginger Wine Made in March (Dawson), Arrow Root Pudding (Capt. Evans). "Dawson" is frequently cited, although it does not appear that this refers to Thomas Dawson's "The Good Huswifes Jewell" (editions published 1585, 1596, 1610).
RECIPES FOR MAKING WINES AND LIQUORS: Raspberry Brandy (p. 10), Gooseberry Wine (p. 11), Ginger wine to be made in March (p. 13), Goose wine (p. 17), Ginger wine (p. 21), Cherry brandy (p. 32), Raspberry brandy and Ginger wine (p. 34), Orange wine (pp. 35 and again on p. 40), Raisin wine (pp. 44-45), recovering Madira wine when it is frotted or sour (p. 46), Ginger wine (p. 47), Black Current wine (p. 49, another recipe on p. 53), English "Champaine" of Green Gooseberries (p. 54), and many others. It is unclear to us why the compiler had so many different recipes for the same types of wine. On the unnumbered leaves (written by Hand 2) are recipes for Ginger Beer, "6 Gallons of Sparkling Champaigne" (sic), and others.
OF MEDICAL INTEREST: prescriptions for the relief of a person's "infections, fevers & preserve the attendants from attacks" (p. 43). This follows recipes for the making of Dawson Cheese, Ginger Cakes, and Apple Jelly, and precedes a recipe for making Half a Hogshead of Raisin Wine. On p. 50 is a prescription for preventing infectious fevers; treating Cancer (p. 26), an "excellent Eye Water" (p. 27). On the unnumbered pages appear a remedy for Comptive Complaints, Lip Salve, preventing Coughs, Tincture for the Teeth, sand-paste for chapped hands, effervescing draught, chalk mixture for bowel complaints, remedy for inflamed eyes, etc.
As expected we find recipes for soups, sauces, confitures, puddings, vegetables, breads, pies, preserves of a variety of fruits, cheeses, curries, etc. There are VERY FEW recipes for the preparation or preserving of meat (of any kind). A particularly exotic dish is described as "An Indian Burdwan Stew." Elsewhere there is reference to "India Soy" which we learn is required in the making of Harvey Sauce; this ingredient was not common in England in 1838 (when the recipe was written); indeed, it was only in 1831 that the first soy product arrived in Canada under the name "India Soy." [SOURCE: Shurtleff and Aoyagi, "History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Canada (1831-2010)," 2012]. There is also a recipe for "Palestine soup." It is of considerable interest that on one of the unnumbered pages is a recipe for "The Best Cake Ever Tasted."
HOUSEHOLD TIPS: feeding young Turkeys (p. 21), making Ink (two different recipes), plating wood, washing black shawls, scouring drops for taking out grease, making starch, pommade (ointment) for the hair "given by a Somnambulist" (!)
PROVENANCE: Inside the front cover is the early 20th-century label: "From G[eorge] A[ugustus] Mower, 147 Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C.4." Mower (1859-1942) was an MIT grad who visited England in 1883 as a representative of the B[enjamin] F. Sturtevant Company of Boston. In 1885 he established the Sturtevant Engineering Company Ltd. at 147 Queen Victoria Street, and in this capacity he served as managing director. Mower became a very successful industrialist, establishing Crosby Vale and Engineering Company / Crosby Steam Gage and Valve Company; acquiring a controlling interest in Messrs. The Bifurcated and Tubular Rivet Company, Ltd., of Aylesbury, which firm he reorganized; and in 1913, in order to make and further develop their patented control gear in England, he established the Igranic Electric Company, Ltd., retaining the chairmanship of these companies until his death. (SOURCE: Grace's Guide to British Industrial History). It is unclear to us why Mower had the present manuscript recipe book (at that time more than 100 years old) in his possession.