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Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen (Material Texts)

Wendy Wall

3 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0812247582 / ISBN 13: 9780812247589
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press 2015-11-06, 2015
New Condition: New
From Chiron Media (Wallingford, United Kingdom)

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Title: Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in ...

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press 2015-11-06

Publication Date: 2015

Book Condition: New

About this title


For a significant part of the early modern period, England was the most active site of recipe publication in Europe and the only country in which recipes were explicitly addressed to housewives. Recipes for Thought analyzes, for the first time, the full range of English manuscript and printed recipe collections produced over the course of two centuries.

Recipes reveal much more than the history of puddings and pies: they expose the unexpectedly therapeutic, literate, and experimental culture of the English kitchen. Wendy Wall explores ways that recipe writing—like poetry and artisanal culture—wrestled with the physical and metaphysical puzzles at the center of both traditional humanistic and emerging "scientific" cultures. Drawing on the works of Shakespeare, Spenser, Jonson, and others to interpret a reputedly "unlearned" form of literature, she demonstrates that people from across the social spectrum concocted poetic exercises of wit, experimented with unusual and sometimes edible forms of literacy, and tested theories of knowledge as they wrote about healing and baking. Recipe exchange, we discover, invited early modern housewives to contemplate the complex components of being a Renaissance "maker" and thus to reflect on lofty concepts such as figuration, natural philosophy, national identity, status, mortality, memory, epistemology, truth-telling, and matter itself. Kitchen work, recipes tell us, engaged vital creative and intellectual labors.


"Crammed with delightful discoveries, Recipes for Thought offers us a vibrant new picture of the early modern housewife as reader, writer, and knowledge producer and the kitchen as an arena of debate, experiment, and invention. Linking the kitchen to the lab and the pharmacy, the recipe to the poem and the play, Wendy Wall rejoins what has since been put asunder to re-create a world we not only lost but forgot about."—Frances Dolan, University of California, Davis

"Wall brilliantly restores an unfamiliar version of early modern domesticity. [Her] achievement . . . is to light up this earlier period, when England was the most dynamic site of recipe publication in Europe."—London Review of Books

"[An] incisive and sweeping study of culinary and medical recipes in England from 1570 through the mid-eighteenth century . . . The volume stands both as a nuanced and in many ways fresh account of how Renaissance recipes function as knowledge, and as an invaluable gathering together in one place of nearly all the major scholars and ideas at work in the field."—Renassance and Reformation

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