[Sca-cooks] Sugarplums

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Sun Dec 6 17:11:05 PST 2009

I did a quick search tonight.
Sugar and plums turns up a bit earlier as a phrase.

Come on, I pray eat some plums, they be sugar, / Heres good drinke by  
Ladie, why do you not eate?

A most pleasant and merie nevv comedie, intituled, A knacke to knowe a  
knaue. 1594

And here is the term from 1607.

like to round SugarPlummes, and Salte in taste, whereof not-with- 
standing none of them did eate, nor knew not from whence they came.

Admirable and memorable histories containing the wonders of our time.  

In terms of what might be an early English recipe:

To preserve Damsons.
Take a pound or something more of pure Sugar finely beaten, and then  
take a pound of Damsons and cut one scotch in the side of each of  
them, then put a row of Sugar in a silver dish or bason, and then lay  
in a row of Plums, and then co|ver it with Sugar, and so lay it in  
till they be all in, and then take two spoonfuls of clean water, and  
make a hole in the mid|dle of them, and set it over a very soft fire,  
and look to it carefully, for fear the Sugar should burn, and when the  
Sugar is all dissolved, shake them together, and stirre them gently,  
and then set them down and cover them till they be cold, and when they  
are cold, set them upon the coales again, and then let them boyle  
gently till they be ready, and when they are ready take them down, and  
take them every one by its stem, and cover them with the skins as well  
as you can, and then put them all one by one in a dish, and if the  
sirupe be not boyled enough, set it over and let it boyle a little  
longer, and when the Plums be cold, put them in a gally-pot or glasse,  
and pour the sirupe to them while it is a little warm, you must not  
forget to take away the skin of the Plums as it riseth.

A choice manual of rare and select secrets in physick and chyrurgery  
collected and practised by the Right Honorable, the Countesse of Kent,  
late deceased ; as also most exquisite ways of preserving, conserving,  
candying, &c. ; published by W.I., Gent. 1653.


On Dec 6, 2009, at 6:22 PM, Terry Decker wrote:

> I think this type of sweetmeat probably predates (the word) hais.  I  
> suspect, but cannot prove that it dates to the Late Neolithic and  
> the domesticated honeybee with honey being found from England  
> through the Levant and on to parts East (there is at least one  
> reference to Borneo). Sweetmeats of ground nutsedge tubers and honey  
> show up in Egyptian tombs from the 4th Millenia BCE to Ptolemic Egypt.
> Sugarplum, as a word, appears to have a Late 17th Century origin, so  
> while some of the ingredients would need to be imported, they would  
> likely have been available, thus the recipe can not be directly  
> attributed to a Middle Eastern source.  The earliest European  
> variant I've located is from Apicius, although I think it is made as  
> a small cake rather than a ball.
> Bear

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