The English Housewife


Whilst doing some research on the Elizabethan period I came upon a wonderful book called ‘The English Housewife’, written by Gervase Markham (1568?-1637).  The book is full of advice for the more affluent housewife such as, ‘Of Physical Surgery’; ‘Of distillations and their virtues, and of perfuming’; ‘Of Wines’; ‘Of Wool, Hemp, Flax and Cloth’, and many more.  Although this book was published in the very early 17th Century (around 1615) it would have been relevant in the Elizabethan era.

The chapter which I found interesting was ‘Of Cookery’.  Markham sets out what an English housewife should know about cookery and how she should go about it.

To speak then of the outward and active knowledges which belong to our English housewife, I hold the first and most principal to be a perfect skill and knowledge in cookery, together with all the secrets belonging to the same, because it…

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