Posts Categorized: Early-modern-life



A solution for pollution?

In honor of Earth Day, here’s a prominent early modern treatise against air pollution in London from the Folger collection: “Fumifugium,” published in 1661.


A recipe for 1610 rose cakes

Francine Segan, a food historian with a taste for the Renaissance, adapts a 1610 handwritten recipe for rose cakes from a recipe book that’s part of the Folger collection.


A Renaissance recipe for citrus tarts

Food historian Francine Segan has a taste for the Renaissance and a love of Shakespeare. Here she adapts a recipe for “Citron pye” from a 1587 cookbook. You’ll find an intense combination of vinegar and pepper in these citrus tarts.


A recipe for Twelfth Night cake

Twelfth Night is a Christian holiday typically celebrated on January 5 or 6, concluding the 12 days of Christmas and celebrating the visit of the Magi (the three kings). Twelfth Night is also, of course, the name of a Shakespeare play, although whether he wrote it to be performed during holiday festivities is up for debate…. Continue Reading »


Renaissance cooking: Food historian Francine Segan and a recipe for ‘pears’ in broth (they’re not really pears)

Francine Segan is a food historian with a taste for the Renaissance. She’s the author of six cookbooks, including Shakespeare’s Kitchen (2003) and the Opera Lover’s Cookbook, which was nominated for a James Beard award. This year she’s been spending a lot of time in Italy researching 16th- and 17th-century Italian recipes. We caught up… Continue Reading »


Studying early modern women—in Shakespeare’s plays and in his time

By Esther Ferington The roles of early modern women in Shakespeare’s time—both the fictional characters in his plays and the real-life women of his era—have been central to many projects created by Georgianna Ziegler, Louis B. Thalheimer Associate Librarian and Head of Reference Emerita. Ziegler, who is also a co-founder of the Society for the… Continue Reading »


From the archive to the oven: How to make a sweet potato pudding

“Let the sky rain potatoes… I will shelter me here.” Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor is referring here to a food that had but recently arrived to England, but was already on its way to popularity. A team of Folger researchers recently uncovered a very early European potato recipe in our archives. The Folger is proud… Continue Reading »


Recipe: How to make a sweet potato pudding

The Folger is home to the largest collection of early modern western European recipe books in the United States, and a team of Folger researchers recently uncovered a very early European potato recipe in our archives. This recipe, “to make a potato puding,” comes from a recipe collection kept by the Grenville family from c. 1640-1750…. Continue Reading »


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