[Sca-cooks] Bread and butter issues

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Sat Mar 31 09:32:12 PDT 2007

I came across some mentions of butter eating among continental Europeans
when I was searching for mentions of butter and bread in the fall.

 From An itinerary vvritten by Fynes Moryson Gent. 1617

CHAP. IIII. Of the vnited Prouinces in Netherland, and of Denmarke and 
Poland, touching the said subiects of the precedent third Chapter.

Page 97

Touching this peoples diet, Butter is the first and last dish at the 
Table, whereof they make all sawces, especially for fish, and thereupon 
by strangers they are merrily   called Butter-mouths. They are much 
delighted with white meats, and the Bawers drinke milke in stead of 
beere, and as well Men as Weomen, passing in boates from City to City 
for trade, carry with them cheese, and boxes of Butter for their foode, 
whereupon in like sort strangers call them Butter boxes, and nothing is 
more ordinary then for Citizens of good accompt and wealth to sit at 
their dores, (euen dwelling in the market place) holding in their hands, 
and eating a great lumpe of bread and Butter with a lunchen of cheese. 
They vse to seeth little peeces of flesh in Pipkins, with rootes and 
gobbets of fat mingled therewith, without any cutiosity; and this they 
often seeth againe, setting it each meale of the weeke on the Table, 
newly heated, and with some addition of flesh rootes or fat morsels, as 
they thinke needfull, and this dish is vulgar|ly called Hutspot. They 
feed much vpon rootes, which the boyes of rich men deuoure raw with a 
morsell of bread, as they runne playing in the streetes. They vse most 
commonly fresh meates, and seldome set any salt meates on the board, 
except it beat Feasts to prouoke drinking. They vse no spits to roast 
meat, but bake them in an earthen pipkin as in an ouen, and so likewise 
seeth them: And these meates being cold, they often heat and serue to 
the Table, so as I haue come into an Inne, and being in the Kitchen, 
could see nothing ready for supper, yet presently called to supper, haue 
seene a long Table furnished with these often heated meats, which 
smoaked on the outside, yet were cold on the inside. This people is 
prouerbially said to excell in baked meates, especially in baking of 
Venison; yet to my knowledge they haue no red Deare in these Prouinces,

So some two centuries after your mention they are still known for butter 


Volker Bach wrote:
>  THe sentence that
> struck me was: 
> Du enscalt nicht de botteren planeren mit dem dumen
> uppe din brot alse ein Vrese
> You shall not spread the butter over your bread with
> your thumb like a Frisian.
> Butter apparently was provided as a kind of condiment
> at table (the text speaks of adding it to spoon
> dishes, and coordinating this with your fellow diner),
> and I wish I knwew whether the author here
> disapprocves of the combination with bread, the
> spreading, or the use of the thumb. 
> Nifty. I like the last days of being sick - time for
> research, not too much fever. 

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list