I stumbled across a website this morning that I want to memorialize here for future reference. It’s The Foods of England Project (http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk), a site that attempts to amass a list, along with recipes (which they call receipts) and the backstories of traditional English dishes. They claim to have a list of 3,355 dishes listed, of which they offer original recipes for more than 2,500 of them. The site also has the texts of around sixty cookbooks online, claiming it “holds the complete texts of dozens of cook books from that of the master-cooks of King Richard II in the 14th Century right up to Mrs Beeton and Escoffier.“
Among the recipes I’ve viewed and want to make are: steak and kidney pie (one of my favorite English foods), beef pudding, and shepherd’s pie. Many of the recipes would be next to impossible for me to make, due to the lack of availability of ingredients. For example, I doubt I’ll ever have the opportunity to make Eel Soup a la Richmond, whose ingredients include Thames eels, bruised crayfish, and “half a pottle of mushrooms.” I might, though, opt to make a “rotten fish sauce,” as per the following recipe for Harvey’s Sauce:
Dissolve six anchovies in a pint of strong vinegar, and then add to them three table-spoonfuls of India soy, and three table-spoonfuls of mushroom catchup, two heads of garlic bruised small, and a quarter of an ounce of cayenne. Add sufficient cochineal powder to colour the mixture red. Let all these ingredients infuse in the vinegar for a fortnight, shaking it every day, and then strain and bottle it for use. Let the bottles be small, and cover the corks with leather.