Shakespeare's Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook: A Cookbook

Shakespeare's Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook: A Cookbook

by Francine Segan, Patrick O'Connell

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“Shakespeare’s Kitchen not only reveals, sometimes surprisingly, what people were eating in Shakespeare’s time but also provides recipes that today’s cooks can easily re-create with readily available ingredients.”
—from the Foreword by Patrick O’Connell

Francine Segan introduces contemporary cooks to the foods of William Shakespeare’ s world with recipes updated from classic sixteenth- and seventeenth-century cookbooks. Her easy-to-prepare adaptations shatter the myth that the Bard’s primary fare was boiled mutton. In fact, Shakespeare and his contemporaries dined on salads of fresh herbs and vegetables; fish, fowl, and meats of all kinds; and delicate broths. Dried Plums with Wine and Ginger-Zest Crostini, Winter Salad with Raisin and Caper Vinaigrette, and Lobster with Pistachio Stuffing and Seville Orange Butter are just a few of the delicious, aromatic, and gorgeous dishes that will surprise and delight. Segan’s delicate and careful renditions of these recipes have been thoroughly tested to ensure no-fail, standout results.

The tantalizing Renaissance recipes in Shakespeare’s Kitchen are enhanced with food-related quotes from the Bard, delightful morsels of culinary history, interesting facts on the customs and social etiquette of Shakespeare’ s time, and the texts of the original recipes, complete with antiquated spellings and eccentric directions. Patrick O’Connell provides an enticing Foreword to this edible history from which food lovers and Shakespeare enthusiasts alike will derive nourishment. Want something new for dinner? Try something four hundred years old.

NOTE: This edition does not include photos.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679644989
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/05/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,129,568
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Francine Segan is a psychologist, writes and lectures on food history, and consults on historic menu planning. Segan, her husband, Marc, an inventor and theater producer, and their two children, Samantha and Max, divide their time between New York City, the Berkshires, and Italy.

Read an Excerpt

Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of
short-legged hens, a joint of mutton, and any pretty
little tiny kickshaws, tell William cook.
Kickshaws, the Elizabethan misspelling of the French quelque chose, “a little something,” refers to dishes we now categorize as appetizers or hors d’oeuvres.
The 1615 cookbook The English Huswife, by Gervase Markham, begins, “Now the compound Fricases, are those which consist of manie things such as Tansies, Fritters, Pancakes, and anie Quelquechose whatsoever, being things of great request and estimation in France, Spaine, and Italy, and the most curious Nations.”
Taking recipes from The English Huswife and from other cookbooks, this chapter offers a sampling of kickshaws from throughout Renaissance Europe.
Beef Purses
I picked and cut most of their festival purses; and had not the old man
come in with whoo-bub against his daughter and
the king’s son and scared my choughs from the chaff,
I had not left a purse alive in the whole army.
IN SHAKESPEARE’S DAY, meat turnovers like these were called “purses” because they looked like the small change holders people wore attached to their belts. The expression “cut purse” referred to a thief who cut the cord to steal the purse, an all too common occurrence in those days before policed streets.
The savory filling of tangy candied ginger and sweet dried fruit make these purses worth stealing! Enjoy them with a glass of cold ale before heading off to see your favorite production of Shakespeare or while watching one of the many great movies inspired by his work.
8 ounces ground round or ground sirloin
¼ teaspoon ground rosemary
⅓ cup currants
6 pitted dates, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly milled black pepper
½ recipe of Renaissance Dough
1 large egg, beaten
1.    Place the beef, rosemary, currants, dates, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.”
2.    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the Renaissance Dough ⅛ inch thick on a floured work surface. Using a 3-inch round ring cutter, cut out 24 dough circles. Place 1½ tablespoons of the meat mixture on each circle, fold in half, and pinch the edges to seal. Brush the purses with the egg and place on a well-greased nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
To make pursses or Cremitaries
Take a little mary, small raysons, and Dates, let the stones bee taken away, these being beaten together in a Morter, season it with Ginger, Sinemon, and Sugar, then put it in a fine paste, and bake them or fry them, so done in the serving of them cast blaunch powder upon them.
Individual Meat Pies with Cointreau Marmalade
ELIZABETHAN STREET VENDORS sold little minced pies like these, as well as oyster pies, apples, and nuts, to theatergoers. The audience ate during the entire play and tossed cores, shells, and scraps onto the theater floor.
These tiny meat pies delicately flavored with orange liqueur are just as perfect now as then, for picnics or pre-theater nibbling.
8 ounces ground lamb, beef, or veal
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mace
3 pitted dried plums, finely chopped
½ cup currants
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ recipe of Renaissance Dough
¼ cup Cointreau
½ cup thick-cut orange marmalade
1.    Combine the meat, pepper, salt, nutmeg, mace, dried plums, currants, and orange juice in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.
2.    Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roll out the Renaissance Dough 1⁄16 inch thick on a floured work surface. Cut twenty-four 3-inch circles from the dough. Press the dough circles into mini-muffin pans. Loosely fill each muffin cup with the meat mixture (about 1 tablespoon per pie) and bake for 15 minutes.”
3.    Bring the Cointreau to a boil in a small saucepan, stir in the marmalade, and cook until the marmalade is warm.
4.    Spoon some of the marmalade mixture on top of each mince pie and serve.
Italian travel writers visiting England during this period noted disapprovingly that not only did the English eat inside theaters, but they also ate while strolling in the streets, a practice frowned upon in Italy.
But, not all visitors were critical. One German traveler wrote of the English, “They are more polite in Eating than the French, devouring less Bread, but more Meat, which they roast in Perfection.” He also noted that when an Englishman saw a particularly attractive, well-groomed foreigner, he would say, “It is a Pity he is not an Englishman.”
And I’ll be sworn ’tis true: travelers ne’er did lie,
Though fools at home condemn ’em.
Salmon with Violets
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows …
THE BEAUTIFUL COLORS, the presentation, and the wonderful light flavors of this dish typify the sophistication of Elizabethan cuisine. Many types of edible flowers were used in cooking, both for their visual appeal and for their taste. Flowers were not set out onto the table in vases, but rather the dinner platters and the food itself were considered the decoration and were enhanced with flowers. Cookbooks of the time even list instructions on salads “for shewe only” with details on creating large elaborate “flowers” made of various cut vegetables and herbs.
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced paper-thin
1 salmon fillet, cut into 4 strips (about 12 ounces)
¾ cup edible violets
An other [Sallets for fish days]
Salmon cut long waies with slices of onyons upon it layd and upon that to cast Violets, Oyle and Vineger.

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
LADY-COOKS-A-LOT More than 1 year ago
Really liked the book. My husband and I are cooks for a local Renaissance faire.Found some great recipes and quotable language to use at our faire.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Overall I like this book very much. The only issue I have is that the authors took too much liberty in modifying by ¿modernizing ¿the recipes. In some instances, while the list of ingredients was available, there were no instructions on what to do with it. In some cases, the mystery was solved by reading the original recipe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The recipes are easy to follow and make for interesting conversation at dinner parties as they are a departure from the usual. For those who would like to try "something different" from the daily routines of dinnertime, this is a delicious way to study history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All recipes were good. I used the recipes for appetizers: a liver pate which had dried fruits and broiled crab cakes with pistachio & pine nuts. These were wonderfull! Others in my group made salmon en croute & lamb chops & baked apples.