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“For al them that delight in Cookery”: The Production and Use of Cookery Books in England, 1300–1600
Kernan, Sarah Peters

2016, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, History.
Through an examination of the codicological and bibliographical features of manuscript and print cookbooks produced between 1300 and 1600, I offer a narrative of the early history of English cookeries, their readers, and their producers. The success of the genre was due, in part, to its flexibility. Cookbooks could be used in multiple ways in and out of the kitchen. Furthermore, I examine the shift from manuscript to print through the lens of cookbooks. I argue that an audience for early English printed cookbooks was already in place prior to the introduction of print. The audience for cookeries in England grew steadily over the course of three hundred years, incorporating new readers who spanned class and gender divides. The expanding audience in turn propelled new cookbook production.

The transition from script to print provides the backdrop for the genre’s development. First examining late medieval cookbooks as technical literature, I posit that many of these texts were used in contemporary kitchens. Some of the earliest English cookbooks, manuscript rolls, served as aides-memoires for kitchen staff in great households. Other early manuscript cookbooks were instructional texts, used by cooks in medieval kitchens. Some fifteenth-century cookbook readers, aspirant professionals such as medical practitioners and lawyers, did not require the texts for cooking. These readers used the texts to familiarize themselves with what had been served to their social superiors as a way to fit in and excel in a new social environment. Recipes were a vehicle for shaping a group’s new identity. Even while readers were increasingly from the professional and gentry class, cookeries still reflected a noble cuisine. This continued well after the introduction of print in England. However, the non-noble audience expanded enough for printers to specifically target these readers. These printed cookbooks were filled with recipes for gentry and professionals. At this point, we have clear evidence of women readers accessing cookeries. Once again, this new audience grew, using the cookbooks available to them, and in the 1570s and 1580s printers began producing texts explicitly for women. Now authors and printers affirmed the idea in print that eating and dining were pleasurable. They also inserted names and events important to English identity into cookbooks. This link between cookeries and the kingdom made cooking a domestic enterprise that was more than more than just a daily task, it was a connection to an identity, shared by other English readers.
Daniel Hobbins (Advisor)
Alison Beach (Committee Member)
Christopher Otter (Committee Member)
240 p.

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Kernan, S. (2016). “For al them that delight in Cookery”: The Production and Use of Cookery Books in England, 1300–1600. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Kernan, Sarah. "“For al them that delight in Cookery”: The Production and Use of Cookery Books in England, 1300–1600." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2016. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 29 Apr 2017.

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Kernan, Sarah "“For al them that delight in Cookery”: The Production and Use of Cookery Books in England, 1300–1600." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2016. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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