Monday, October 15, 2012

Nerdy History Girls Library: The Epicure's Almanack

Monday, October 15, 2012
Loretta reports:

Thanks to Candice Hern for alerting me to a beautiful new edition of The Epicure’s Almanack, the Zagat of the Regency.

“Working alone and on foot, Ralph Rylance visited and described some 650 establishments, ranging from City chop houses, ancient coaching inns, and London’s first Indian restaurant, to humble tripe shops and oyster rooms, dockyard, taverns, and village pubs.”

Following is an excerpt from the “Alimentary Calendar,” he included, listing the foods in season in a given month.
     The temperate weather that prevails this month (there are always fourteen fine days in it) is peculiarly favourable to the brewing of malt liquor, being neither too hot nor too cold.  For ales, however, which require long keeping, the month of March is by some deemed the preferable season.
     At this time the range of alimentary productions begins to extend itself; chickens, pullets, capons, and turkies, are in high order for the spit.  Beef and mutton improve in quality, while hares, pheasants, wild ducks, widgeons, teal, plovers, woodcocks, snipes and larks, are added to the former list of viands, and continue in season for the remainder of the year.  In the department of fish it is observable that cod, which has been absent from table since April, now re-appears for the winter season:  herrings also, having cast their spawn, are held by some connoisseurs in higher estimation than in the spring of the year: and oysters, particularly the native Milton and Colchester, are full fed and in high flavour.  Of esculent vegetables there is no sensible diminution; peas and beans indeed have disappeared, but potatoes having now attained their proper growth are become mealy; and carrots, with which London is chiefly supplied from Sandwich, in Kent, now arrive in large quantities.  The dessert of this period chiefly consists of peaches, grapes, apples, pears, and plums.

You can read an 1815 British Critic review here (it starts at the bottom of page 218).


Isobel Carr said...

Very cool! I just ordered it. The “usually ships in 1-3 months” bit was a bit depressing.

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