The folks behind Bake Off have made my job very easy this week, it’s Tudor week! Tudor food was rich, decadent, and almost guarranteed to give you gout; for the wealthy, anyway. They ate a LOT of meat, with veg reserved for the lowly peasants. As you’d probably expect, there’s lots of roasted meats – everything from the more usual beef, chicken and venison to peacock and swan, dense pies, and plenty of alcohol to wash it down. But there’s much more to it than that. I’m going to pick out some of the more unusual recipes, and leave the pies to the bakers.
To stew Larks or Sparrowes (‘The Good Huswife’s Handmaide for the Kitchin’, 1594)
Like I said, the Tudors loved meat. If it was alive, they probably found a way to cook it and eat it. There are also recipes for stewed mallards, ie your average duck you’d find in the park. Larks tongues were also a delicacy.
Take of your mutton broth the best, and put it in a pipkin, and put to it a litle whole Mace, whole pepper, Claret wine, marigolde leaues, Barberies, Rosewater, vergious, sugar, and Marrow, or else sweet butter: perboil the Larkes before, and then boyle them in the same broth, and lay them vpon sops.
Take best mutton broth, put it in a pipkin (a three legged pot used for cooking directly over hot coals or flame), add a little whole mace, whole peppercorns, claret wine, marigold leaves, barberies (prickly pear), rosewater, verjuice (sour juice made from unripe grapes, crab apples), sugar, and marrow, or sweet butter; parboil the larks first, then boil them in the broth, and lay them upon sops (pieces of bread soaked in dripping or broth, wine etc)
Cockentrice (Douce MS.55, circa 1450)
We couldn’t have Tudor recipes without including a cockentrice. Though the recipes dates back to the 15th century, it was still popular in the Tudor age as one of the theatrical dishes they loved to serve.
Scalde a capon̛ clen̛, & smyte hem in-to the wast oueretwarde, and scaude a pygge, and draw hym, & smyte hym in the same maner; and then sewe the forthyr parte of the capon̛ and the hyndyr parte of the pygge to-gedrys, and the forther parte of the pygge [leaf 48.] and the hynder parte of the capon̛ to-gedyr: then draw the whyte & the yolkes of eyren̛, and cast ther-to, and svette of a schepe, and saffron̛, & salt, and pouudre of gyngeuere, and grated brede; and medle aƚƚ to-gedre witℏ thyn̄Page 116honde, and putt it in the cokentrice, and putt it on a spite, and roste hem; and endore hem with yolkes of eyren̛, and pouudre of gyngeuere, and saffron̛, & ioissℏ of persely or malves, & draw hem, and endore hem aƚƚ abowte in euery perty of hym̛.
Scald a capon clean, and chop it to the waist outward, and scald a pig, and gut it, and chop it in the same manner; and then sew the front part of the capon and the hind part of the pig together, and the front part of the pig and the hind of the capon together: then separate the whites and the yolks of eggs, and cast thereto [into a bowl], add suet of a sheep, and salt and saffron, and powdered ginger, and grated bread, and mix all together within, and put it in the cockentrice, put it on a spit, and roast them; glaze them with egg yolks, ginger and saffron, and juice of parsley or mallows, blend them and glaze them all about in every part of him.