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The Forme of Cury

by The Chief Master-Cook of King Richard II

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Recommended by

Frances Bissell

Food writer

Several scholars have worked on these manuscripts of mediaeval English cookery, including Lorna Sass in 1975 and Constance Hieatt in 1984. In 1986, when I was the cookery writer for The Sunday Times, a whole edition of the magazine was devoted to the 900th anniversary of the Domesday Book. I borrowed an 18th century edition of the work – Warners’ Antiquitates Culinariae - from the London Library to research recipes for a Sunday lunch in a mediaeval household and was hooked forever on early English recipes. To this day I cook tart de Brye.

Glyn Hughes

Food historian

The first book of English cookery, and one of the oldest extant in the world. This is a vellum roll written in late Middle English, transcribed in 1791 by the historian the Rev. Samuel Pegge, who gave it the name used now. 'Cury', an olde version of the word 'cookery', which was, I suspect, pronounced 'Ku-Ury'. It has receipts (not 'recipes' - that's French) for all sorts of foods, some odd and old and others strangely familiar, beginning with Bacon and Beans.