[Sca-cooks] Vanilla [was: Sweet chocolate, Modican chocolate (OOP -- maybe)]

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 27 15:44:27 PDT 2007

>To my knowledge, the earliest recipe reference to vanilla is in Hanna 
>Glasse's Art of Cookery (1756).
>One of the earliest (if not the earliest) reference to the use of vanilla is 
>in Bernardino de Sahagun's General History of the Things of New Spain. 
>Carolus Clusius obtained a specimen from the English Royal apothecary in 
>1602.  The name "vanilla" appears to be first used by Willem Piso in 1658, 
>becoming widespread afterwards.  All of this suggests that vanilla was 
>available as a curiosity in Europe during the latter half of the 16th 
>Century, but general acceptance and use probably occurred about a century 

I just ran down the items in the Florilegium about Hugh Morgan, apothecary to Elizabeth I, suggesting in 1602 that vanilla can be used on its own as a flavoring, and that there may be some medicinal recipes with vanilla from the 17th century. One of the vanilla company Websites claims that Elizabeth demanded foods made with vanilla during the last year of her life. Since her appetite was legendarily spare to begin with (except for sugar), and her teeth were mostly gone and what were left were extremely painful to chew with (again, because of her sweet tooth), I envision there were lots of custards and soft things made with vanilla to tempt her appetite.

But yes, it does seem to be that in England and most of Europe at least, the earliest recipes with vanilla are probably in the latter half of the 17th century.


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