Handwashing, Serving and Gifting in 14th Century

In about 1390, The Forme of Cury was compiled by Samuel Pegge (18th Century Vicar and Antiquarian). The actual book was written by the Master-Cooks of King RICHARD II, then much later, presented to Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth, queen of king Henry VII. was crowned A. 1487.

As with many historic cookbooks, the forward has a great amount of historic data about their current life (what they ate), social commentary, as well as some ideas as what happened before them. I will be posting some of the more interesting comments they make over the next few months in the blog.

Here is something about meat, how it is usually served, and why handwashing is done. There is also some other interesting points, however made by as far as I can tell, Samuel Pegge in the 18th Century:

“My next observation is, that the messes both in the roll and the
Editor’s MS, are chiefly soups, potages, ragouts, hashes, and the
like hotche-potches; entire joints of meat being never served, and animals, whether fish or fowl, seldom brought to table whole, but hacked and hewed, and cut in pieces or gobbets [77]; the mortar also was in great request, some messes being actually denominated from it, as mortrews, or morterelys as in the Editor’s MS. Now in this state of things, the general mode of eating must either have been with the spoon or the fingers; and this perhaps may have been the reason that spoons became an usual present from gossips to their god-children at christenings [78]; and that the bason and ewer, for washing before and after dinner, was introduced, whence the ewerer was a great officer [79], and the ewery is retained at Court to this day [80]; we meet with damaske water after dinner [81], I presume, perfumed; and the words ewer plainly come from the Saxon or French eau water.

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