[Sca-cooks] Another Book Recommendation

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Wed Sep 17 06:29:14 PDT 2008

Granted  Sara Paston-Williams is a pretty book and makes one
long to take a tour of National Trust Homes, it's not without some rather
serious problems.
 From my talk at Cooks Con on the Early English Printed Cookbook
(and available on the 2002 Conference Proceedings)

"What are we to say after all when Sara Paston-Williams and the National 
Trust of England less than a decade ago in 1993, in /The Art of Dining, 
A History of Cooking & Eating/ make the following statement on page 93 
in their section on Elizabethan Food.

There she states, "According to the unknown author of /A Proper Newe 
Booke of Cokerye/, the earliest printed English cookery book, probably 
published c. 1560: 'A hare is ever good, but best from October to 
Lent.'" What makes this dating of /A Propre New Booke of Cokery/ even 
more bizarre is that if one checks /The Art of Dining's/ own "Select 
Bibliography," we find on page 338, that /A Proper Newe Booke of 
Cokery/e is given as being circa 1540."

I still have no idea why the text states c.1560 when the /The Art of 
Dining/'s own bibliography states circa 1540.

Paston-Williams and her fact checkers at the National Trust seemed to 
have no idea that the APNBofC exists in a dated first edition of 1545 or 
far more importantly that Longleat
(not a National Trust property) has of course Pynson's Boke that is 
dated very clearly as 1500. It has of course been available for decades 
in the
UMI microfilm copy, but my guess is that no one connected with /The Art 
of Dining/  ever went and looked at anything connected with those early 
16th and 17th century cookery books on microfilm.

(For those that are unfamiliar with this Boke see


 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/4904388.stm )

Just goes to prove again that a book may be very pretty but not always 

Johnnae (playing librarian)

Elise Fleming wrote:
> Greetings!  Johnna's mention of the book sale at David Brown's sit got me to looking through all the items.
> Sara Paston-Williams' book, "The Art of Dining: A History of Cooking and Eating" is on sale for $24.98 US (down from $49.50) at 
> http://www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm/ID/61202 .  It uses resources from the National Trust and is a glorious book, big and heavy, wonderfully illustrated and full of tidbits of information.  Unfortunately for me, I bought it a number of years ago at the higher price.  Luckily for you, you can get it at about half price!
> Alys K.

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