So, you know how much I love ginger right? This has ultimately paid off during a recent expedition to access the manuscript archives at North Yorkshire Records Office. They have kindly invited me to be a part of their upcoming Archives @ Dusk open evening in May and I shall be recreating a couple of recipes for visitors to try on the evening. To my great joy there were a number of fabulous recipes containing ginger and I chose to offer these during the night in question.
I love reading old cookery notebooks – if only for the random nature of the notations. Amongst recipes for handmade oyster sauce, sponges and a York Punch you will also find instructions for winding the clock, a polish for cleaning the harness on your carriages and instructions for how to treat women during her menstruation.
The authors of such hand written manuscripts would often make a note as to whom the recipe or piece of advice came from, the date and sometimes the circumstances in which the recommendation was given. This allows great scope for further research in to the names mentioned and accurate documentation of recipes being used at the time.
As I referenced at the beginning of this post – I shall be using the Archives @ Dusk evening to talk on my favourite subjects – that of ginger and gingerbread. I am particularly keen to try the traditional recipe for ginger beer – found written in a book from 1827.
I shall also be baking a recipe for gingerbread biscuits from the same book and I am extremely curious to see the size of the batch of biscuits gained from one pound butter, three pounds flour and one pound of moist sugar. It is not uncommon to come across recipes on such a substantial scale as they were often written by those managing a large household with a number of guests and staff coming and going.
This takes me to the last notation I wish to share with you today. It is taped on to the inside of the front cover of a manuscript from the late 19th century and states the allowances for servants living on site.