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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Conjuror a 19th-century device for cooking meat rapidly with burning paper as the fuel. It seems to have been descended from the ‘necromancer’ to which Hannah Glasse (1747) referred, ascribing its invention to an actor, Mr John Rich, and declaring it to be much admired by the nobility (in 1735). However, the necromancer can be traced further back, to Bradley (1736), who gave a recipe for ‘Thin Beef-Collops Stew’d. From Oxford’ which uses the same technique. Stead (1983) surmises from this that the method and the equipment might have been previously practised by students at Oxford University (‘student bed-sitter makeshift cookery’), but also utilized by the theatrical profession when in need of a hot meal and away from normal cooking facilities.