"This little Treatise of Kitchen-Gardening is chiefly design'd for the Instruction and Benefit of Country People," opens the vegetable friendly Adam's Luxury and Eve's Cookery (1744) "who most of them have a little Garden spot belonging to their House, and at the same time let it lie useless, for want of knowing how properly to manage it..."
You've guessed it, reader. The cookery book to the left isn't exactly in the same league as the botanical virtuoso Philip Miller's The Gardener's Dictionary –– which I've discussed in previous posts. No "Aegyptian Lettuces" or fancy cantaloupes discussed in this text. To the contrary, this is much closer to an early modern "Gardening for Dummies." The section on "Melon," for example, pooh poohs the idea of enumerating all sorts of this fruit, as "there being annually new Sorts brought from abroad, a great many of which prove good for little." Hmmmph. Good old utility trumped exotic tastes.
While the first portion of the book explains how to cultivate a host of different vegetables and herbs at home, the remainder devotes itself to simple recipes that one could whip up in a minimal amount of time. Flipping through the (electronic) pages yesterday evening, my appetite was piqued by recipe below:
|It often comes up in cookery books as "Sparrow-Grass" too|
"these! these! are the innocent and natural dainties, where they present themselves and grow for the nourishment and the delicious entertainment of mankind."
Time to start that asparagus soup. I'll be the first to admit, however, that I didn't follow the above recipe to the letter. I liked the idea of cooking a bunch of different green vegetables together (this is common in many 18th century soups) but I didn't include the beets, for I feared they would muddy the bright green color of the soup. I also skipped the flour, since I wasn't really worried about the thickness. I also threw in some leeks and shallots, and topped it off with creme fraiche and toasted pine-nuts.
|It was good with a beer, too|