The Chief Master-Cook of King Richard II
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.
Subtitled: "The art & mystery of cookery. Wherein the whole art is revealed in a more easie and perfect method, than hath been publisht in any language."
Digby was a prodigiously capable natural philosopher who also happened to own a glass works and may have invented the wine bottle. Published in 1669, shortly after his death this, probably spurious, book includes a huge number of receipts for mead and cider drinks as well as general cookery.
Hannah Wooley came from a family of surgeons, and may well be the first Englishwoman to have earned a living by food writing.
It almost seems as if nobody ever ate salad before about 1950. John Evelyn was a noted diarist and prolific author on a huge range of subjects, hre he expounds on the joy of salad.
This hugely popular cookbook went through 26 editions in its day. Mrs Glasse, though, found herself in debtor's prison when her dressmaking business went bankrupt and she had to sell the copyright to her cookery book. It is famous for the line "Hare Soup. First catch your hare...", but these words occur in no edition I can find.
This is the first modern cookery book. Acton, born in Sussex, was one of the first writers to give complete lists of ingredients and their quantities and described her method as being 'reduced to a system of easy practice'. 'Modern Cookery' continued to be updated and re-issued until well into the 20th Century. She is also slightly famous for her poetry.
Chief cook at London's prestigious Reform Club, Soyer was a huge self-publicist and celebrity who did public 'performance cookery' and marketed his own range of kitchen equipment and bottled sauces. Generally accused - unlike today's celebrity cooks - of general toadying to the upper classes, he produced this low-cost cookbook to patronisingly tell the lower-classes how to cook Red Herrings and Simplified Hodge-Podge
Charles Elmé Francatelli
Of Italian ancestry, Francatelli was, very briefly, chief cook to Queen Victoria, and later, like Soyer, at the Reform Club.
Fully titled "Saleable shop goods for counter-tray and window - a practical book for all the trade". A compendium of small cake, tart and pastries published by the 'Baker and Confectioner' magazine. A fascinating look at commercial bakery of the 19th Century and the origin of most of our little cakes and pastries.