Posts Tagged: Before ‘Farm to Table’

Eating plants in the early modern world

Explore turmeric, cinnamon, mint, and sugar to learn more about plants as food, and what they reveal about the early modern age and today.


The three most popular recipes from Before ‘Farm to Table’

With the Folger’s four-year Before ‘Farm to Table’ project drawing to a close, we’re revisiting three of the most popular early modern recipes adapted by the project team and shared on the Shakespeare & Beyond blog. Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, the inaugural project of the Mellon initiative in collaborative research,… Continue Reading »


Spilling the beans: The Islamic history of coffee

Before there were Starbucks and the quirky coffeeshops masquerading as cozy work corners for many of us, there was the mid-17th century coffeeshop boom in England. During the 1600s, the general conversation about coffee nodded to its status as the Islamic other. Othello, the Shakespearean Moor, was turned into a villain and likened to coffee… Continue Reading »




Before the Thanksgiving turkey came the banquet peacock

Lavish dinners—and the cookbooks and instruction manuals for how to execute them—were popular during the Renaissance, and they emphasized the art of food, in addition to—and at times, over—its taste. Peacocks were thus an ideal banquet food because their colorful plumage made for artful display. But over the early modern period, turkeys came to replace peacocks as the customary food of ceremonies and holidays.


Eggs in moonshine and spinach toasts: Two early modern recipes for a sweet breakfast

Even though the combination of eggs and sugar along with butter and flour forms the cornerstone of baking, the idea of poaching eggs in sweet wine, or adding sugar to your scrambled eggs, might seem heretical to many. But this is exactly how egg dishes were often prepared in the upper-class households of early modern England. In a time when sugar was still a luxury commodity, enmeshed in colonial trade networks, and purchased at the cost of countless human lives, its inclusion in practically every dish became a marker of wealth and status among elite households across Europe. The two recipes presented here will strike many modern readers as unusual.