The English Housewife

theelizabethans1558

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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A Book Review: The Country Housewife’s Book

Persephone Books is one the greatest bookshops I’ve ever come across. Based in London, their aim is to find and republish out-of-print books written mostly by women. They have 107 of such books to date; fiction and non-fiction; from well known names like Virginia Woolf, to not so well known names. What I love about it, is that they have simply taken these books and placed them back into the spotlight, and given everyone a chance to enjoy them again. What a fantastic idea. The books are all very well considered, with emphasis not just on the writing but on the authors too. The design of the books is simple, yet thoughtful. The dove-grey cover gives a sense of the intelligence within, and the end-papers are colourful designs, evocative the time they were written or written about. What more could an avid book reader want. Continue reading

Using and Cleaning the Kitchen Range

Continuing my Mum’s recollections of how life used to be for her, here are her thoughts on cleaning in the kitchen.

In the summer of my 5th year we moved from a small bungalow where we lived in Peel Common, just outside Fareham, Hampshire. It was very exciting because we moved by horse and cart. It was a huge shire horse and an open cart belonging to people who had befriended my Dad and Mum. The owner wanted to place me on the horse to have a ride but I recoiled from this huge animal. So, life started for us at 21 Beaconsfield Rd, Fareham.

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