This is a very different choice to my top four, in that it isn't a favourite in the sense that I use it to cook from, but I am very fortunate to own a fourth edition of this book. It is my number 5 choice, because of its rarity, insight into 17th century politics and sheer beauty. This book was written in 1655 by WM - believed to be Walter Montagu the personal secretary of Henrietta Maria. Henrietta Maria was the widow of Charles 1 and at the time this book was published, she was living in exile in France and England was being ruled by Cromwell under the Commonwealth. She wasn't very popular with the English public and this book was an exercise in rebranding her as a good English housewife and paving the way for her Sons Restoration to the throne. The book is divided into three sections, covering medical recipes, confectionary and general cookery. Many recipes are accredited to a glittering list of the "who's who of the time". A wonderful recipe resource, propaganda piece and book that allows a glimpse into Stuart England and that period of political and royalist turmoil during the commonwealth.