Whoever Said the English Can’t Cook? Cookbooks from 1300 to 1700 Prove Otherwise!

Presented by Sarah Peters Kernan, PhD

The early centuries of cookbook production in England were filled with a dazzling variety of manuscript and printed texts. “Cookeries” from 1300 to 1700 ranged from basic, undecorated texts to lavishly illustrated cookbooks. In her extensive research, Sarah Peters Kernan, PhD, has examined numerous manuscripts and printed cookeries in libraries across the United States and Europe. Her research has led to new ways of thinking about how some of these books were used in kitchens, who was using early cookbooks, and how English cookbooks underwent dramatic changes.

Join us as Sarah gives us a sweet and savory introduction to cookbooks of medieval and early modern England. She will show vivid food illustrations, and describe the types of recipes the books contained; their form (some are rolls, while most are in codex form), their decorations (some are plain and others have goldleaf illumination), and the manuscripts which contain these books (some were made for physicians and include illustrated surgical treatises, others were for wealthy merchant households, others seem to be for use in more “ordinary” homes).

The earliest printed cookbooks in England reveal shifting audiences, moving from male gentry readers to middle class women by the late 1500s. The seventeenth century reveals a division in printed cookbooks between lavish tomes by prominent male chefs and books for frugal housewives. At the same time, hundreds of manuscript recipe books were produced by and for women of many socioeconomic levels to be passed down through generations and gifted between friends.

These early centuries of cookbook production in England yielded a great range of fascinating cookbooks to explore and consider today.

Sarah Peters Kernan, PhD
Sarah is an Independent Culinary Historian in the Chicago area. Her research focuses on the production and use of cookbooks in medieval and early modern England. She has published in the journal Food & History and regularly writes blog posts for The Recipes Project. Sarah was a 2014 Food Studies Fellow at the New York Public Library. She currently works with Chicago’s Newberry Library, assembling modules on food history topics for their Digital Collections for the Classroom project, teaching adult seminars on food history topics, and appears on the Shelf Life podcast talking about chocolate.

Saturday, April 28, 2018
10 a.m. to noon
At Louis Weiss Memorial Hospital
Auditorium, lower level
4646 N. Marine Drive (at Wilson), Chicago

(Signs will say “Permit Parking” and “Doctor’s Lot” but it’s OKAY for YOU to use on this Saturday!)

Cost of the lecture program is $5, $3 for students and
no charge for CHC members, faculty and students of Kendall College, and Weiss staff and faculty.

To reserve, please e-mail your reservation:Culinary.Historians@gmail.com