Pre-Seventeenth Century English Bacon: Reconsidering a Staple

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Noah Arney


This research fills a gap in historical food scholarship by examining 56 medieval and early modern cookery books published between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries in England and western Europe to determine methods used in curing bacon prior to the seventeenth century. It affirms important differences in bacon making from our modern versions and suggests how pre-seventeenth century recipes might taste.

Article Details

Research Essays, Notes, & Queries


Cookery Books & Manuscripts
Adamson, Melitta Weiss. 2000. Daz Booch von Guoter Spise (The Book of Good Food). A Study, Edition, and English Translation of the Oldest German Cookbook. Krems.

Bach, Volker, trans. 2005. Alte Kochrezepte aus dem bayerischen Inntal (c. 1500). Donaueschinger Hofbibliothek Cod. 793. Bavaria?, Germany. Stefan’s Florilegium, Inntal-art . See also Danner, Berthilde, ed. 1970. Alte Kochrezepte aus dem bayerischen Inntal. Ostbairische Grenzmarken: Passauer Jahrbuch für Geschichte, Kunst und Volkskunde
12: 118-128.

Beeton, Isabella. 1861. The Book of Household Management. England: S. O. Beeton. Available in free online formats from Project Gutenberg at:

Chiquart, Maistre, with Jehan de Dudens, clerk. 1420. Du Fait de Cuysine.
Translation by Elizabeth Cook, David D. Friedman Medieval/Cookbooks web pages, 2020, and .

Cleland, Elizabeth. 1755. A New and Easy Method of Cookery. Edinburgh: Printed by W. Gordon et al. New York Public Library and HathiTrust .

Dawson, Thomas [?]. 1594, 1597. The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin. London: Richard Jones, Printer. Digital text and notes by Sam Wallace, 2006, updated 2011, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, , which is also posted through Foods of England 2018, .

——. 1596. The Good Huswifes Jewell. 2nd ed. London: Printed by [E. Allde] for Edward White. Digital version from Early English Books Online, ProQuest 2019, of text at Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, e.g. https://www-proquest or .

de Leone, compiler. 1345-1354. Daz Bouch von Guoter Spise. Würzburg, Germany. Translated into English as “Ein Buch von guter spise” by Alia Atlas, 1993, from the German transcription in an 1844 edition. Medieval Cookery. .

de Rosselli, Giovanne. 1598. Epulario, or The Italian Banquet. London: Adam Islip. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, 2011, .

Digby, Kenelm, and Anne MacDonell, ed. 1910. The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened (1669). London: Philip Lee Warner. Available in free online formats from Project Gutenberg at: Project Gutenberg .

Frati, Ludovico, ed. 1899. Libro di Cucina del Secolo XIV. Livorno: R. Giusti.
Gloning, Thomas, transcriber. 1998. Enseignements qui enseingnent a apareillier toutes manieres de viandes. In La Battaile du Caresme et de Charnage, edited by Grégoire Lozinski, 181-187. Paris: Ancienne Librairie Honoré Champion, 1933. Original Gloning version, 1304-1314. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Latin 7131, fol. 99va. Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen .

Hieatt, Constance B., and Sharon Butler. 1985. Curye on Inglysch: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century (Including the Forme of Cury). Early English Text Society, SS.8. London and Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Hieatt, Constance B, and Robin F. Jones. 1986. Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections Edited from British Library Manuscripts, Additional 32085 and Royal 12.C.xii. Speculum 61 (4): 859-882. .

Hogg, Alex., printing. 1780. The Farmer’s Wife, or, Complete Country Housewife. London. Elizabeth Robins Pennell Collection, Library of Congress, Washington, DC: Online Catalog, and

Markham, Gervase [Marchan, Gervacé]. 1649. The English House-Wife. London: Printed by B. Alsop, Katherine Golden Bitting Collection on Gastronomy, Library of Congress, Washington DC: Online Catalog and

Marriott, Wm. H. 1853. Recipe for Curing Bacon. The American Farmer; Devoted to Agriculture, Horticulture and Rural Life 9: 6 (December): 192-193.

Master-Cooks of King Richard II. c. 1390. The Forme of Cury. John Rylands University Library, English MS 7, Manchester, England.

May, Robert. 1685. 5th ed. The Accomplisht Cook, or the Art & Mystery of Cookery. London: Printed at the Bear and Star for Obadiah Blagrave. Project Gutenberg scans of public domain works from Biblioteca de la Universitat de Barcelona, .

Morris, Richard, ed. [1420-1440] 1862. Liber Cure Cocorum: Copied and Edited from the Sloan ms. 1986. Berlin: A. Asher & Co. for The Philological Society (Great Britain). University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse and;view=fulltext .

Myers, Daniel, trans. 2005. Enseignements qui enseingnent a apareillier toutes manieres de viandes [1300], based on transcription by Thomas Gloning. Medieval Cookery, 2020, . Original Gloning version, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS lat. 7131, fol. 99va.

——. 2015. Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (Beinecke MS 163), 56r-76v. Medieval Cookery, based on facsimile of original now digitally available: Wagstaff Miscellany (c. 1450). England. Yale University Library, Beineke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Beinecke MS 163, 2019. .

Napier, Alexander, ed. 1882. A Noble Boke off Cookry. London: Elliot Stock.
Pegge, Samuel, ed. 1780. The Forme of Cury, A Roll Of Ancient English Cookery, Compiled, about A.D. 1390. London: J. Nichols, Society of Antiquaries. Elizabeth Robins Pennell Collection, Library of Congress, Washington DC: Online Catalog and

Pichon, Jerome, ed. 1846. Le Ménagier de Paris [c. 1393]. Translated by Janet Hinson, with additional notes by Hinson, David Friedman, and Elizabeth Cook, David D. Freeman Medieval/Cookbooks web pages, 2016, . See also The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Ménagier de Paris): A Medieval Household
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Scully, Terrence, ed. 1988. The Viander of Taillevent. University of Ottaway Press, 1988.

T.C., printer. 1656. The Compleat Cook. Expertly prescribing the most ready wayes, whether, Italian, Spanish, or French, for dressing of flesh, and fish, ordering of sauces or making of pastry. London: T.C. for Nath. Brook. Katherine Golden Bitting Collection On Gastronomy. Library of Congress, digital form at and

Welserin, Sabina, 1553. “Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin,” handwritten manuscript, Augsburg, translated by Valoise Armstrong, 1998. David D. Friedman Medieval/ Cookbooks web pages, 2016, .

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della Porta, Giambattista. 1658. Natural Magick. London: Printed for Thomas Young and Samuel Speed.

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William Langland. Late 14th century-16th century. The Vision of Piers Plowman, C Version. London. British Library. Add 35157. .

Simancas: April 1588, 21-30. In Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, ed. Martin A. S. Hume, 269-275. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1899. .

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Wright, Thomas. 1839. The Political Songs of England. London: Printed by J. B. Nichols and Son for the Camden Society.

Government Documents
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