Shakespeare’s Kitchen

Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday, and the Bard will be the subject of praise for his plays, his sonnets, his universal themes, his language – but probably few will be thinking about Shakespeare’s Kitchen – not the 2007 collection of short stories by Lore Segal – the cookbook by Francine Segan.

I found this cookbook at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, looking for the recipes for the sweet raspberry tarts served during intermission in the courtyard of the Adams Theater.  They were not in the book, but I did find apple tarts with candied orange crust, and the meat pies that I had passed up for the sweet.

Shakespeare’s Kitchen includes more than recipes and full page pictures of food that jump off the page –  herb tart, Renaissance rice balls, leg of lamb with oyster stuffing, and more.  Segan’s directions are clear and simple as she draws from a number of Elizabethan cooks, but she also includes recipe excerpts from The Good Huswifes Jewell, 1587 with the original spelling and grammar:

“Boyle your ryce, and put the yolkes of two or three Egges into the ryce and when it is boyled, put it into a dish, and season it with Sugar, Synamon and ginger and butter, and the juyce of two or three orenges, and set it on the fire againe.”

Quotes from appropriate Shakespearean plays sprinkle the recipes; Orange Scented Rice includes a quote from The Winter’s Tale...

“…Rice, – what will this sister of mine do with rice?                  But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it on.”

And Segan offers information about the food of Shakespeare’s time – oysters were plentiful but no chocolate.  “Shakespeare never tasted {it}. The Spanish discovered chocolate in Mexico…it wasn’t introduced to England until after Shakespeare’s lifetime.”  And no tea or coffee.

Whether or not you decide to try any of the recipes, Shakespeare’s Kitchen is an easy way to vicariously feast with the Bard.  After all,

Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers…                                  “Romeo and Juliet”

Related Post:  Courage Tart

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  1. Pingback: Courage Tart | Potpourri

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