Pepys at Table

Driver, Christopher

Berriedale-Johnson, Michelle

ISBN: 0713524421

Publisher: Book Club Associates

Pepys, the famous London Diarist of the 1600's, recorded his everyday goings for ten years. Lucky for us foodies that he did, for in them we learn about he food he ate, liked and endured in better detail that anyone else of that period. It is well known that his passion for food was great, but the insight he gives is one that is not just about the opulent, over indigences of the period. Pepys, though not poor, has captured life in both grandeur and in modesty that has similarities to modern entertaining.

In Pepys At Table, Christopher Driver and Michelle Berriedale-Johnson have taken the recipes that Pepys wrote about and created modern equivalents. Each recipe is presented as recorded by Pepys or in one of the early cookery books of the time, and the modern conversion is presented right beside it. It allows the reader to understand the changes that were made to suit our modern palate.

The start of the book introduces us Pepys and the society that he lived in. It discusses the food he and his wife ate and the changes to the way people in the cities brought changes to food and cooking. Next, there is a chapter titled Cookery Introduction. It covers the ingredients that, while similar to our own, was more affected by the seasons, as in lamb been at its best in spring and autumn. As there were no refrigeration, seasonal food was all there was.

There are over forty recipes, and they cover both savoury and sweets. So, you could try Gravysoup, 'Broyled' Leg, Fillet or Chop of Pork, Chicken with Colliflower or Dish of Partridge from the Savoury recipes. If you have a sweet tooth, then there are recipes like Apple Fritters, Syllabub, John Nott's Biskets or Currant cake. If you ever wondered what life was like three hundred odd years ago and want to try the food of the 1600's, then this book will assist. The conversions between then and now will keep the tastes within range of the modern palate, while it allows you to experience Pepys' world through food.