The Closet of Sir Kenelme Digbie Opened (1669)

(The English Kitchen)

An early book listed in British Bee Bibliography.

One of the great works of seventeenth-century culinary literature. Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665), was a soldier, sailor, pirate and diplomat; man of letters, bibliophile and collector; alchemist, scientist, pfiilosoj>her, medical theorist and mathematician; a man of sensibility, a great lover, and a cook. Here was a true Renaissance man, one who John Aubrey described as ‘Such a goodly handsome person, gigantique and great voice … that had he been drop’t out of the clowdes in any part of the world, he would have made himselfe respected.’

Throughout his years of travel, conversation, high-living and acquaintance with the great and good of this country and Europe, Sir Kenelm collected recipes: of making mead and other drinks, and of cookery: After his death, they were published anonymously but in fact, as the editors here prove, by his erstwhile assistant, George Hartman.

Elizabeth David wrote of this: ‘His book is a beautiful piece of English kitchen literature as well as a collection of recipes set down with considerable accuracy.’

This is a new transcription of the first edition of 1669, provided with a wide-ranging introduction, useful notes and a glossary: Here may be found printed for the first time the inventory of Sir Kenelm’s kitchen goods in his London house at his death: and the editors also offer some useful translations of recipes into modern kitchen usage.

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