Sunday, April 12, 2015

Subtleties&Stuffe Dyets Dry Dinner

Dyets Dry Dinner on Sugar

We’ll take a moment here to mention what was written on the topic of Sugar in the late Elizabethan age. In 1599 there appeared a volume titled Dyets Dry Dinner by Henry Buttes or Butts who self-styled himself as “Maister of Artes, and fellowe of C.C.C. in C. Or in other words, he was a Fellow of Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. The book was written rather early in Buttes’ career. He went onto earn his Doctorate in Divinity and became the eventual Master of the College in 1626. 

The CC College website writes about his tenure. “In 1630 the Plague swept through Cambridge, and everyone in Corpus fled but the Master, Dr Butts, who stayed in an attempt to stop the pestilence spreading and to organise supplies and relief. He described himself as “alone, a destitute and forsaken man; not a scholar with me in college.” In 1632 he was found hanging in his garters from the strain of it all.” (Not mentioned is the tale that his ghost still haunts the College.)

The book itself was never reprinted. It does however provide succinct descriptions of foods and their attributes along with a section on suggested talking points about said foods. It actually has some material in it that’s rather interesting and unique. It’s certainly not a cookery book, and any recipes as such are contained in the descriptions of various foods. Of sugar, he writes:


CAndid: heauie: solide: hard: not going soone to powder.

It kéepes the bodie cleane and neate: holesome for the reines: nourisheth more then honny: clenseth the breast.

Causeth thirst: soone turnes to choller: naught for hot constitutions.

Eate it with Pome-Granates and sower Orenges.
Hot and moyst in the first, or as some thinke, possessing an equall temperature of all qualities.

Season. Age. Constitution.
In winter, for old, cold, and such as be troubled with distillations.

Story for Table-talke.
SVgar by some writers is tearmed Cane or Reede-Honny: because it is excocted foorth a Cane or Reede.
No kind of meat refuseth Sugar for his condiment, but only the inwards of beasts, as tripes: which if you condite with it, they grow most vnsauourly. If I were not very reuerently sparing of your reuerent modestie, especially at the table, I wold tell you it makes them smell and stincke like newe Oxe-dung.

Buttes or Butts, Henry.  Dyets dry dinner consisting of eight seuerall courses: 1. Fruites 2. Hearbes. 3. Flesh. 4. Fish. 5. whitmeats. 6. Spice. 7. Sauce. 8. Tabacco. All serued in after the order of time vniuersall. By Henry Buttes, Maister of Artes, and fellowe of C.C.C. in C. London: 1599.

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