Restoring the Royal Household:
Royalist Politics and the Commonwealth Recipe Book



Madeline Bassnett


Abstract: Food discourse was a polemical tool used by both royalists and republicans during the English civil war. In the 1650s, however, it was the royalists who revived and claimed the recipe book—an important genre of food writing—for themselves. While The Queens Closet Opened (1655) has been previously established as royalist, this paper suggests that Commonwealth recipe books as a whole aligned themselves with the longing for royal restoration. Not only were these books overwhelmingly connected to royalty or aristocracy, but they also consistently recalled royalist networks, court practices, and the cabinet discourse associated with The Kings Cabinet Opened and Charles I’s Eikon Basilike. Popular and affordable, recipe books helped to sustain royalist visibility under the Protectorate while linking good domestic management to the return of the Stuart monarchy to the head of the national household.





During the civil war and Commonwealth periods, food discourse was an important political tool for both royalists and parliamentarians. Royalist allegiance was frequently coded through positive allusion to food, dining, and other traditional rituals, while the stereotypical focus of parliamentary puritans settled on fasting rather than feasting.1Although food was a symbol of political identity for both parties, royalists successfully revived and claimed an important genre of food writing—the recipe, or receipt, book—for themselves. Previous commentators on 1650s receipt books have recognized their overwhelming allegiance to nobility or the royal family itself; in particular, critics such as Jayne Archer, Laura Knoppers, and Edith Snook have observed that W.M.’s The Queens Closet Opened (1655), attributed to Queen Henrietta Maria, was a work of political propaganda.2The Queens Closet was not the only book of recipes to have been published during the Protectorate, nor, as I argue, the only one to publicize its sympathies with the deposed monarchy. Of the ten English recipe books published between 1653 and 1658, eight were connected to royalist figures or, like The Queens Closet, to members of the royal family.3 While authorship is an initial indication of alliance, the concurrent use of generic and rhetorical codes associated with key aspects of post-war royalist identity suggests that royalists consciously claimed and developed the receipt book genre for their own political purposes. Taking advantage of gradually fracturing support for Cromwell and the Commonwealth government, royalists employed the popular genre of the printed recipe book to link good household management to the monarchy, thereby claiming that royalty and royalists could and should heal, order, and feed the nation.

Receipt books and royalist rhetoric

Discussion of the use of recipe books for political purposes has been limited, for the most part, to two texts: the above-mentioned Queens Closet, and the Restoration Court & Kitchin of Elizabeth (1664), whose 46-page diatribe against the Cromwells openly displays the anonymous author’s dislike for the Protectorate.4 Although scholars of early modern receipt books have tended to focus on questions of authorship, the development of female epistemological networks, and food history, some have gestured towards the Commonwealth recipe manual as a re-emergent genre of political opposition.5 Apart from reprints of earlier volumes, receipt book publishing virtually ceased between 1617 and 1653; printing of new manuals coincided with the naming of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector.6 Lynette Hunter suggests in passing an association between the rejuvenation of these books and the execution of Charles I based on their notable reference to “royalty or aristocracy,” an obvious shift from the Elizabethan and Jacobean publications that had been penned by professional writers such as Hugh Plat, Gervase Markham, and John Murrell.7 Elaine Hobby, in her article on Hannah Woolley, also hints at the politicization of 1650s manuals, suggesting that these may “prove to be a useful index of ways in which political positions could be signalled.”8 The recipe books, for instance, inscribed political aspirations and values in prefatory material and, to some extent, in the recipes attributed to royalists and royalty that recalled pre-civil-war and courtly traditions.9

The household manual might seem a strange vehicle for royalist politics; however, it is no more unusual than Isaak Walton’s octavo The Compleat Angler (1653), which both Nigel Smith and Steven Zwicker have identified as a royalist tract disguised as a fishing manual. 10 Though distinctly different from the recipe books, The Compleat Angler (with technical advice couched in a dialogue between the Piscator and Venator) is similarly interested in the pleasures of the table, offering the occasional fish recipe, and alluding to the importance of hospitable traditions: “Come, hostess, dress [the Trout] presently; and get us what other meat the house will afford; and give us some of your best barley-wine, the good liquor that our honest forefathers did use to drink of.”11 Including the odd bit of medicinal lore—the pike’s jaw-bones, heart, and gall are said “to stop blood, to abate fevers, to cure agues, to oppose or expel the infection of the plague”—Walton’s book, like the conventional recipe manual, integrates cookery and medicine, asserting the importance of both to personal and national health.12 While royalists and republicans alike were concerned with the renewal of the nation after years of war, royalists appeared particularly interested in recalling, as Zwicker notes, “ancient wisdom,” and the “cyclical and the seasonal” as solutions to what they believed to be the current imbalance.13 Recipe books naturally drew on the seasonally-based traditions of cookery and medicine, compiling instructions from a variety of sources, both acknowledged and otherwise. The publications of the 1650s were particularly careful to unite the shared appreciation of ingestion, hospitality, and the aesthetic pleasures of the table with civility and the good governance of the national household—by the Stuart monarchy. In tandem, the books implicitly suggested that Cromwell’s government was lacking in these virtues and was therefore unworthy to govern despite its attempts to adopt monarchical trappings.14

As a form of popular literature, recipe books were well-suited to demonstrate the integral relationship between royalty and good household management to a broad audience and thereby to participate in what Elizabeth Sauer has called the “war of words” that extended into the 1650s.15 Rhetorically, the recipe manuals shared a metaphorical vocabulary with other royalist literature, which would have encouraged the Commonwealth readership to align the genre with the supporters of the restoration. Critics such as Lois Potter, Annabel Patterson, Nigel Smith, Steven Zwicker, Elizabeth Sauer, and Kevin Sharpe have discussed the ways in which various political factions harnessed the printed word and image during the civil war and Commonwealth periods.16 While multiple genres and modes of writing were, as Smith reminds us, embraced by both royalists and parliamentarians, critics tend to agree that royalists maintained control over drama, histories, and romances. The court-centered romance in particular promoted and prolonged memories of pre-civil-war courtly behaviors, and such evocative tactics are employed in other printed material as well. Sharpe observes, for example, that a Commonwealth “guide to writing amorous letters … reminds us of the continuing symbiosis of love and politics” peculiar to the royalist romance.17 The use of romance rhetoric to maintain political identity is particularly relevant because the genre initiates a symbolic alliance among royalists, women, and secrets, which is further sustained through the recipe book. The romance can thus be understood as a generic source for spreading political discourse into instructional genres—whether guides to writing letters or cooking food—that might appeal to a broader readership.

Commonwealth recipe manuals can be read in relation to these previously established rhetorical and symbolic codes. The assumption of a female readership for receipt books and romances appears, for instance, to have encouraged their association with the deposed monarchs and their supporters. In the case of the romance, Potter suggests that the genre’s tendency to “[defend] the role of women and of the private life” was used to legitimize the increasingly controversial marriage between Charles and Henrietta Maria. As Potter explains, “romance allows the major religious differences between the king and queen, the hostility between their two countries, to be glossed over by the myth of a love which transcends conflict.”18 The monarchs also cultivated individual connections to the romance: according to Patterson, Charles styled himself as the chivalric St. George, while Henrietta Maria placed a more general stamp of approval on the romance, selecting it “as her personal genre.”19 As with the “feminine” romance, the receipt book aligned itself with women and royalists—and royalist women. Since the late-sixteenth-century, recipe manuals had aimed at a female readership: Thomas Dawson’s two-part The good huswifes Iewell (1587, 1597), and John Partridge’s The Treasury of commodious Conceits (1573, 1584) and The Widowes Treasure (1582) were the first to shift from the masculine focus of earlier cookery books, such as John Russell’s Boke of Nurture (ca. 1460-70) or the associated Boke of Keruynge (1508) by Wynkyn de Worde. Partridge’s Treasury, in particular, was notable for initiating an appeal to “huswifs” of all kinds, addressing “all that couet the practise of good Huswiuerie, as well wiues as maides.”20 While some later receipt books, such as Hugh Plat’s Jewell House of Art and Nature (1594) appear to advertise themselves primarily to men, the Elizabethan acknowledgement of a female audience held firm. Seventeenth-century books such as Plat’s 1602 Delightes for Ladies, Gervase Markham’s 1615 English Huswife and John Murrell’s 1617 A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen entrenched the association of recipes with the female sex. The receipt books of the 1650s went even further, naming women (Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, Alathea Talbot, Countess of Arundel, and to some extent, Henrietta Maria) as their authors for the first time. While the appeal to the feminine alluded to a real prospective readership, it also evoked a popular imaginary in which the feminine became part of a network of symbols recalling the traditional monarchy.

As a prime example, the symbol of the cabinet—a household item associated with women—was also found in both the romance and receipt book and gained in significance for royalists during and after the civil war. According to Patterson, John Barclay’s romance, Argenis, first published in Latin in 1621, is particularly revealing of royalist appropriations of this symbol. Barclay, a Catholic and staunch supporter of the monarchy, identifies the cabinet as a location of key historical truths, with the key to the secrets of the cabinet held by those with the ability to interpret the contents through the appropriate political lens.21 Recipe manuals tended similarly to promise the revelation of secrets ensconced in cabinets or closets, as the genre derived from medieval books of secrets that promised transmission of arcane, hidden, and often alchemical knowledge.22 As Lynette Hunter observes, cabinets and closets became analogies for “all the secret information and private understanding possessed by an individual.”23 Although printed recipe books can scarcely be considered secret, ownership of such knowledge nonetheless implies entrance to an exclusive club. This suggestion recalls the elite structures that royalists hoped to re-establish; as William Eamon points out, secrets contributed to the “ornaments of gentility,” or the birthright symbols of privilege and property.24 However, cabinets might enclose spiritual secrets as well; Hunter further suggests that “cabinet” could refer to the “Cabinet of Mary … the cabinet for the jewel, Christ.” This analogy interestingly corresponds to another post-civil-war “cabinet,” the Eikon Basilike, which metonymically claims to house the “incommunicable jewel” of Charles I’s conscience while establishing him as a Christ-like martyr.25 In the context of the civil war, the cabinet is allusively employed to evoke not only secrecy and femininity but also royalist history, tradition, and leadership.

The King’s cabinet

Initially, the cabinet became a political symbol through the romance, but later and more conclusively, through responses to two events: the parliamentary seizure and publication in 1645 of Charles’s letters to Henrietta Maria in The Kings Cabinet Opened, and Charles’s execution in 1649, which was immediately followed by the publication of the Eikon Basilike. These texts, with their interest in revealing and interpreting hidden “truths,” influenced the meaning of “cabinet” in Commonwealth literature including the receipt book; for royalists concerned with reclaiming the stolen King’s cabinet, this terminology enabled easy allusion to royalist analogies that derived either from the romance, from the variety of royalist responses to The Kings Cabinet, or even from the Eikon itself. The preliminary struggle to control the cabinet took place following the publication of Charles’s letters. At first the epistles were a boon to the republican side, but royalists soon leapt to reclaim this embarrassing exposé by arguing instead the positive tie between monarchy, femininity, and the secrets discovered in the cabinet, an act that looked both backward, to the romance, and forward, to the receipt book. Charles’s opponents had framed the letters as revelations of his duplicitous tyranny and uxorious submission: appeals to foreign powers for assistance (specifically the Duke of Lorraine), planned repeal of laws against Catholic recusants, and unrelenting support for the episcopate were read to indicate his overweening devotion to his wife, her country, and her religion (and of course his corresponding betrayal of Protestant England).26 One attempt to refute republican interpretations, A Key to the Kings Cabinet, published anonymously by Church of England clergyman Thomas Browne in 1645, suggests that it is the royalist reader who holds the correct interpretative key. Although republicans might open the stolen cabinet, Browne implies that they cannot fully understand the truths within. On the one hand, Browne manipulates parliamentary insistence that the letters reveal the King’s submission to his wife, and thus his effeminacy, to assert instead the extreme violation of the King’s person, naming the publication a “Rape upon His private Letters.” On the other, Browne declares that the exposed secrets have in fact revealed Charles as a “Great King.” It is not tyrannical, he alleges, but noble truths and secrets that are exposed through the opening of the cabinet: “And thus, have you seen the bottome of that Heart, which the Scripture calls unsearcheable. The Cabinet hath imparted to you, so perfect an Image of the Kings very Thoughts; that the Rack could not afford a clearer.”27 Browne re-establishes the cabinet as a vehicle for the idealized rather than the denigrated royal image, opposing republican attempts to represent Charles and helping to initiate a sustained pro-royalist cabinet discourse.

Such refutations were strengthened following the publication of the Eikon Basilike, which helped to cement the association of the cabinet with the royalist perspective. Appearing after Charles’s execution in 1649, the Eikon was in many ways the ultimate corrective to the potentially damning Kings Cabinet and continued the royalist practice of reinterpreting negative parliamentary readings more positively. In chapter 21, Charles directly addresses the publication of his letters, both decrying the “inhuman” invasion of his privacy, and like Browne, reiterating that the letters reveal inner truths. “I am content so much of my heart … should be discovered to the world,” Charles (or his ghostwriter John Gauden) writes; “I wish my subjects had yet a clearer sight into my most retired thoughts … Nor can any men’s malice be gratified further by my letters than to see my constancy to my wife, the laws, and religion.”28 If the letters do succeed in communicating the King’s heart, the Eikon is positioned as providing an even more intimate confidence: the “incommunicable jewel” that, Charles argues, lies at the root of all his political decisions. Charles’s posthumous book definitively claims the cabinet as royalist, its secrets reflecting positively on and evoking longing for the traditions of monarchical rule.

For it was Charles’s cabinet, not the parliamentarian interpretation thereof, that took hold of the popular imagination in 1649. Critics have commented on the overwhelming popularity of the Eikon, which went through thirty-nine editions by 1660, with twenty of them published in the first month and a half following the King’s execution.29 Including small, cheap editions that served more as iconic objects than texts to be read, the King’s book was a propaganda coup, reaching out to all parties and laying the groundwork for “‘th[e] happy restauration.’”30 More than anything, it appears that the power of the Eikon, as Zwicker points out, lay in its ability not only to transform the King into text but also to distribute this visual and tactile relic of the monarchy widely among the people of England.31 Later reproduced and sold separately from the text, the frontispiece image of a penitent Charles was of particular importance, according to Sharpe, in maintaining the King’s symbolic presence. It reminded readers that Cromwell should be considered a usurper despite his eventual accretion of royal symbols and attitudes during his rule as Lord Protector and lent credence to royalist arguments that governance should return to the Stuarts, whose historical and dynastic claims certainly outdid those of the Cromwells.32 An indication of the book’s compelling symbolism is provided by a poem published in Abraham Wright’s Parnassus Biceps, titled “Vpon the Kings-Book bound up in a Cover coloured with His Blood.” This Eikon is tied to the King’s body through his bodily fluids, which turn the book into both a repository of knowledge and an object worthy of veneration:

… although thou be
A Book, where every leafe’s a Library
Fil’d with choise Gems of th’ Arts, Law, Gospel;
The chiefest Jewel is the Cabinet,
A shrine much holier then the Saint; you may yet
To this as harmelesse adoration pay,
As those that kneel to Martyrs tombs, for know,
This sacred blood doth Rome a Relique show
Richer then all her shrines.33
In this poem, the cabinet is the King, a living shrine that sustains royalist hopes and exists to be venerated by the faithful—in terms that are remarkably Catholic. This popular interpretation of the cabinet resonates through several of the Commonwealth receipt books as they, too, employ iconography and symbolism to continue the task of the Eikon and keep the image of the monarchy alive in England.

Front-page advertising

Outwardly, the regal image is sustained quite simply: through the consistent identification of receipt book authors with royalist figures and the deposed monarchy. Joseph Cooper, author of The Art of Cookery Refin’d and Augmented (1654) is distinguished as the “chiefe Cooke to the Late KING” on the title-page; W.M., compiler of The Queens Closet Opened (1655) and the implicitly associated The Compleat Cook has been convincingly identified by Jayne Archer as Walter Montague, secretary and spy to Henrietta Maria.34 A third employee of the deposed monarchs, Sir Theodore Mayerne, is designated the author of a posthumous book, Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus (1658); Mayerne is named “Physician to the late K. CHARLES” on the title-page, although in reality he appears to have been closer to the Queen, and indeed, two of his recipes turn up in The Queens Closet Opened.35 As well as these members of the royal household, authorship is attributed posthumously to royalist nobility. Two books, A Choice Manuall and A True Gentlewomans Delight (1653), were ascribed (either explicitly or implicitly) to Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, who had attended Queens Anne and Henrietta Maria, and had gone into exile with Henrietta Maria in 1642.36 Her sister, Alathea Talbot, Countess of Arundel, who was publicly aligned with Catholic interests, was named the author of the medicinal receipt book Natura Exenterata in 1655.37 Lord Ruthven, to whom The Ladies Cabinet Enlarged and Opened was attributed in 1654, is possibly Lord Patrick Ruthven, Earl of Forth and Brentford, who served as a general for royalist forces during the civil war.38 The number of posthumously attributed books argues particularly for the symbolism of these figures: these were individuals with identifiably royalist sympathies, and, with the exception of Mayerne's, their books appeared in the early years of the Protectorate, leading up to, or in the context of the unsuccessful royalist uprisings in March 1655. The short-term proliferation of these books also implies an interest in building on the positive popular impact of the Eikon and in taking advantage of the growing discomfort of many erstwhile republican supporters. For example, Anna Trapnel’s stark disapproval of Cromwell’s new dining habits in The Cry of a Stone, in which she sees the former Gideon succumbing to the “great Royalties of food” that come with his new ascendance to power, appears to have been a representative, and potentially exploitable, concern.39

This small glut of recipe books might also be related to publishers’ interests, for two publishers were responsible for five of these volumes: Nathaniel Brook, who published The Queens Closet Opened and The Compleat Cook, and Gabriell Bedell and Thomas Collins, who published the books by Theodore Mayerne, Alathea Talbot, and Lord Ruthven. This publishing trend might well have inspired sales of all receipt books, and it certainly appears that The Compleat Cook was dependent on its association with The Queens Closet for its success. However, it is also possible that these publishers had a political interest in keeping the royals in the limelight. Bedell and Collins in particular appear eager to advertise their publications, including detailed catalogs at the back of both Mayerne’s and Ruthven’s books. Although business imperatives seem to have prevented absolute allegiance to one side or the other, and their publication list at the back of Ruthven’s book contains recent Acts of Parliament, for the most part the items tend overtly to evoke memories of royalty.40 The catalog of books “Printed for, or to be sold by M.M. G. Bedell, and T. Collins, at their shop at the middle Temple-Gate in Fleetstreet” begins with a series of histories by John Selden, the descriptions of which recall the traditional monarchy and even emphasize the inclusion of Charles I.  A following page cites “John Barclay his Argenis,” and among several plays is found “The faithful Shepardesse, Acted before the King and Queen, divers times, with great applause, at Black fryers, by his Majesty’s servants,” a description that elides the fact that such performances occurred in a now lost era.41 While Brook does not do the same job of advertising his publications, his later record includes the Restoration The Accomplisht Cook (1660), by the likely Catholic chef and royalist sympathizer, Robert May. Earlier, in 1656, a year after the publication of The Queens Closet, Brook published two compilations by John Phillips, Milton’s nephew and author of A Satyr against Hypocrites (1655), a long and scurrilous poem about gluttonous, lecherous Presbyterians, also published by Brook. Although, as Gordon Campbell notes, Phillips’s “political principles were flexible,” his 1656 publications—Sportive Wit, the Muses Merriment, and Wit and Drollery—were, as Sportive Wit advertises on its title-page, “A la mode Lamponnes, On some Heroick persons of these late Times,” or members of Cromwell’s government. Brook’s approval of this project is clear, as not only was Sportive Wit burned on April 30, 1656, but Wit and Drollery was also deemed dangerous enough to be destroyed by government censors scarcely a week later.42 Brook might have been hoping for notoriety, but he put himself at risk by publishing such volumes.

Receipt manuals go beyond name-dropping, however, and enhance their title-page associations with royalty through rhetorical tactics, particularly in the prefatory material, that proclaim their allegiance to the Stuarts. Much of this rhetoric appears directly to recall the defensive discourse, culminating in the Eikon, which claimed femininity and secrecy as positive royalist traits. Figures associated with the monarchy are identified as providers of health to a damaged nation, with the proffered recipes contributing not only to the well-being of an individual body but also to the collective: the “Common good.”43 Indeed, as Edith Snook points out in relation to The Queens Closet, the recipes are often interested in asserting a “natural and healthy nobility” that is presumably ready to lead the nation against the perceived artificial imbalance offered by the Protectorate.44 The Queens Closet in particular seems likely meant to inspire, prepare, or even comfort the Queen’s followers in the context of the 1655 uprisings.

The Queen’s restorative instruction

As the only Commonwealth manual to have been analyzed for its political credentials, the highly popular Queens Closet Opened is a useful template from which to begin a more extensive discussion of the other manuals in this period.45 Its iconography, rhetoric, and recipes conclusively identify the Queens Closet as a companion volume to the Eikon, beginning with the title-page that imitated the King’s book by including a frontispiece picture of the former, and living, Queen. Framed in a small oval that would have reminded readers of a miniature, it appears meant to be kept, like the recipes themselves, in a personal cabinet.46 Knoppers remarks that the frequent removal of this image from existing copies of the manual mirrors the similar removal of the King’s image from his book to be saved as a “keepsake” or even, as the poem from Wright’s collection suggests, an icon of veneration.47 This Henrietta Maria is dressed in “plain widow’s attire,” looking restrained, even mousy in the oval that frames her.48 Beneath the picture, however, is printed “Henrietta Maria Regina,” confirming that this small and non-threatening woman still retains her title, and by extrapolation, her position in England, a connection that is emphasized three times on the opposite page: first by the title itself, then in the assertion that the enclosed “Incomparable Secrets … were presented to the QVEEN,” and finally in the revelation that these were “Transcribed from the true Copies of her MAJESTIES own Receipt Books.” In the political climate of the 1650s, the engraving alone transforms the apparently innocuous household manual into a subversive piece of royalist propaganda that symbolically returns Henrietta Maria to England through image and instruction. Like the Eikon, The Queens Closet turns “Parliamentarian rhetoric … against itself” in an attempt to restore the Queen’s image in England, and, as Knoppers observes, similarly provides an opportunity for the Queen and her supporters to respond directly to her opponents’ charges, particularly of foreign collusion.49

The prefatory material, written by W.M, extends the title-page suggestion of symbolic return. Although W.M. makes initial apologies for transgressing the privacy of the Queen’s chamber, he notes the importance of this manual in maintaining Henrietta Maria’s memory in England: “I thought this publication to stand upon no ordinary tearms of honour, as it might continue my Soveraign Ladies remembrance in the brests and loves of those persons of honour and quality, that presented most of these rare receipts to her.”50 Recalling Catholic terminology, the editor names the receipts “Reliques” as dear to him as “my dearest bloud,” and proceeds to indicate that he, like Thomas Browne, who previously had attempted to reframe the reading of the King’s letters, is undertaking a project of reclamation.51 The unauthorized circulation of the Queen’s recipes—much like the unauthorized publication of the letters, which was definitively corrected by the iconic Eikon—has inspired the corrective circulation of this book: “I should not have thought it lesse then Sacriledge, had not the lock been first pickt, to have opened the Closet of my distressed Soveraigne Mistresse,” he writes, confirming his paradoxical interest in the Queen’s privacy and, through his use of the term “Sacriledge,” confirming her virtue, piety, and alignment with God.52 W.M. makes it clear that ultimately this exposure is justified by “a more general good.”53

The 1659 edition of The Queens Closet offers further evidence that royal restoration is part of the imagined impact of the earlier edition, as it alludes to the imminent return of Charles II. A revised preface begins, not with the modest and apologetic tone previously adopted by W.M., but with a statement of triumph: “It being at first the general good which caused us to publish this useful and compleat Piece, we could not chuse but for the same end give it a new Birth; especially when we heard that we had so well attain’d what we sought.” W.M. goes on to suggest that “what we sought” was merely the common “benefit” of the recipes, but, given its pre-restoration publication, this phrase seems to hold the double, and not-so-subtle, import that “what we sought” was actually political change. Giving “comfort to all it met,” the manual suggests that it has helped to “amend what is amiss,” with the Queen’s secrets proffered next to those of the King, their re-entry into the English household now confidently identified as a precursor to the ideal royalist vision: the Stuart return to royal governance and guidance of the English national household.54

If the prefatory material exists as an initial guide to the reader, comforting her with the royal image and the accompanying secrets, the recipes themselves do the work of reconvening royalist networks. While Archer suggests that the list of recipe contributors links Henrietta Maria to both Queens Anne and Elizabeth, and thus legitimizes her historical role and title, Knoppers pursues this idea further, arguing that the breadth of contributions, which includes several members of the nobility, is a “means of assimilating the queen into a multigenerational social network distinguished, above all, by its Englishness,” thus further countering accusations that Henrietta Maria remained a foreign, and untrustworthy, Queen.55 Snook provides detailed information regarding the contributions of medical practitioners to the Queen’s book, suggesting that the inclusion of these recipes also adds to the Queen’s authority as healer of the nation.56 Even a brief perusal of the contents quickly establishes a link between health, nobility, and royalty. The first and longest section of the two-part volume, “The Pearl of Practice,” consists almost exclusively of physic, with many attributed recipes including “A drink for the Plague or Pestilent Feaver proved by the Countess of Arundel, in the year 1603.”57 Referring to Anne (Dacre) Howard, a steadfast Catholic and lay medical practitioner, this recipe also recalls the year of James I’s coronation.58 The second section, “The Queens Delight,” which deals with the art of preserving, includes recipes for perfumes and medicinal distillations as well. Continuing the interest in the “common good,” this part further evokes nostalgic memories of a nobler past through receipt attributions. Perfumes are ascribed to King Edward and Queen Elizabeth, and cordial and distilled waters to royalist icons Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Kenelm Digby.59 A powder recipe attributed to Elizabeth Grey confirms the relationship between the Countess and the Queen in the title: “The Receipt of the Lady Kents Powder presented by her Ladyship to the Queen.”60 Even the beauty recipes, as Snook discusses, accentuate the necessity for the royal contribution to national recovery.61 Surreptitiously re-entering England in the guise of a recipe book, the Queen thus affirms the line of royal succession, and defiantly emphasizes the continued existence of royalist networks.

W.M.’s second publication, The Compleat Cook, has not been discussed in any detail, although it was usually printed and bound together with its sister volume. Less overtly political in its message, as it was printed without prefatory material, its close physical association with The Queens Closet would have encouraged the perception that these recipes were similarly from the kitchens of the exiled Queen.62 The title-page advocates loyalty to a European style of cookery (and by association, perhaps also style of government), stating that the book’s design is in “Expertly prescribing the most ready ways, Whether, Italian, Spanish, or French. For dressing of Flesh and Fish, Ordering of Sauces, or making of PASTRY.” Despite this promise, the manual tends primarily to provide instructions for English favorites such as “To make Elder Vinigar” or “To make a Collar of Beef.”63 Few of the recipes have a named source, with only six attributions, four of these to nobility. These attributions do, however, sustain the royalist network created in The Queens Closet, and the book begins with a recipe from the Earl of Arundel: “To make a Posset, the Earle of Arundells way.64Later receipts include “The Lord Conway his Lordships receipt for the making of Amber Puddinges,” which incorporates the expensive ingredient of ambergris, and “The Countesse of RVTLANDS Receipt of making the Rare Banbury Cake, which was so much praysed at her Daughters (the Right Honourable Lady Chaworth) wedding.”65 All of these recipes remind a reader of international royalist networks and the traditional rituals and celebrations that could serve to reconvene allies. Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, was a member of a prominent Catholic family and died in Italy in 1646. Lord Edward Conway (1594-1655) died in exile in France, and his continental involvements are commemorated in a comment at the end of the recipe: “this Receipt was given his Lordship by an Italian for a great rariety, and has been found so to be by those Ladies of honour to whom his Lordship has imparted the said Reception.”66 Conway was apparently renowned for his interest in food; his biographer James Knowles describes him as a “gourmand who summoned delicacies from all over Europe,” a statement that suggests his lavish entertainment of other exiles.67 The reference to Lady Chaworth’s wedding could have recalled a relatively recent event: Grace Manners, the daughter of John Manners, the eighth Earl of Rutland, and Frances Montague, Countess of Rutland, was of a marriageable age in the early 1650s and was matched with Patrick Chaworth, third Viscount Chaworth of Armagh. The title’s reference to the wedding evokes both the particular event and gatherings of traditional nobility more generally and emphasizes the recipe’s value for elite assemblies. While the Banbury cake is commonly found in recipe books, it is here made “rare” with the addition of “a little Musk and Amber greece dissolved in Rose water”; musk and ambergris would have been available only to elite families because of their cost. Besides being enhanced by these exotic items, the cake is very large, containing “a peck of fine flower … two pounds of Butter, half a score of Egs … ten pounds of Currants.”68 The cake recipe, in other words, provides physical evidence for the size, and therefore the expense of, the celebration, and the identification of Rutland confirms that the attendees were likely to have been of the royalist persuasion. Like Arundel and Conway, Rutland also had royalist sympathies, keeping the chapel at Exeter House in London “one of the principal centres for the celebration of ceremonial religion until the Restoration.”69 Extending and confirming the networks established by The Queens Closet, this companion volume reminds readers of those in exile and hints at the assistance available from foreign lands.

Royalists, women, and cabinets

The Queens Closet and the attached Compleat Cook were not the first books of this period, and in fact, appear to have taken some of their inspiration from the earliest Commonwealth manuals—A Choice Manuall, attributed to the “Countesse of Kent, late deceased,” and the appended A True Gentlewomans Delight—published in 1653.70 As the first recipe books to be attached to a royalist woman’s name and image, these should have been associated immediately with the Stuarts, but the first edition of A Choice Manuall seems to downplay Elizabeth Grey’s involvement, with “Published by W.I. GENT,” in a relatively large typeface on the title-page. W.J., whom Lynette Hunter identifies as William Jarvis, dedicates the book to Letitia Popham, wife of parliamentary general Alexander.71 However, the second edition, also published in 1653, increases the visibility of Grey to the detriment of Jarvis, which suggests that changes were made to maximize political impact. A frontispiece image, presumably of Grey herself, is added; set in an unframed oval, this is a precursor to Henrietta Maria’s collectable miniature and an allusion to the Eikon’s memorial image of Charles. All reference to W.J. is removed from the title-page, and the dedication is relocated, now following the address to Anne Pile that appears in A True Gentlewomans Delight.72 These alterations heighten the royalist associations of the work. Grey becomes a visual and textual symbol of the deposed regime, and the confusion of allegiance created by the dedication is minimized by secreting it further within the volume. The new and improved edition leaps instead to the general dedication (also included in the first) that offers the recipes “for the weal-publike good,” and suggests that the manual contains the “richest and most soveraign Antidote[s].”73 Grey’s dispensation of such antidotes makes them potentially sovereign indeed, her political allegiance and her gender suggesting the ultimate antidote required for English recovery.

If Grey’s books assume the royalist tactics of employing visual imagery and alluding to the feminine to generate political recognition and sympathetic enthusiasm among the populace, the two books published in 1654 implement the verbal rhetoric found in responses to The Kings Cabinet and in the Eikon Basilike itself. Joseph Cooper’s 1654 duodecimo, The Art of Cookery, anticipates The Queens Closet’s allusions to the Eikon and also refers to the earlier discourse of reclamation. As “chiefe Cook” to the King, Cooper would presumably have had access to the King’s dining secrets—W.M. claims this privilege in relation to the Queen—and the title-page further suggests this bond through the promise of “rare” and “unpublished” receipts. If secrets are held in cabinets, these receipts associatively emerge from the King’s household cabinet, which recalls the stolen cabinet of letters. Cooper (or perhaps his printer) pursues the connection further in the preface to the reader, using language that seems to recall Browne’s Key to the Kings Cabinet (1645). In the first instance, Cooper uses the term “cheats,” a word that Browne also uses in his pamphlet, exclaiming that “truly does Mr Lisle [a republican commentator] deserve to have his Nose bleed, as well as his Heart; he deserves to be well beaten, for offering such a Cheat unto the Common People.”74 The “Cheat,” a word that can refer both to deception and to the fruits of a robbery, is, in Cooper’s preface, made analogous to the misrepresentation of another kind of secret, and stolen, document: the recipe.75 Cooper asserts that his work replaces that of earlier, and fraudulent, receipt book authors—“the cheats of some preceding pieces that treated on this subject”—and then proceeds to use language that also evokes the concept of political illegitimacy. Naming these allegedly illegitimate books “false pretenders,” Cooper makes them analogous to the Commonwealth government; Cooper’s book, like Henrietta Maria and the future Charles II, is “coming abroad” to correct this untenable situation. Appealing to the “rationall Reader,” Cooper asserts that she (for in the next sentence the readers are identified as “Ladies”) will understand the truth of his revelations and adjust her allegiance accordingly.76

In the second instance, Cooper borrows Browne’s evocative term “prostituted” to recall the unlicensed exposure and subsequent reclamation of documents. Browne initially uses the word to condemn the printing of the King’s letters, writing that “if the Rebels of the Age, could but doe halfe so well like Men … They would never have prostituted those chast and holy Papers, to the base adulteries of all common Eyes.”77 Cooper’s use of the term is more flirtatious and even satirical, but contextually his playfulness appears to draw attention to the language as an in-joke as he suggests that the recipes are personal letters from the King to the ladies of England. Cooper tells the honored recipients that “if any thing displeases you, it will be to see so many uncommon, and undeflour’d Receipts prostituted to the publique view, which perchance you will think might have been plac’d better among the paper secrets in a few of your Cabinets; but ’tis easie to pardon that offence, which is onely committed in favour of the Common good.”78 Cooper tells the honored recipients that “if any thing displeases you, it will be to see so many uncommon, and undeflour’d Receipts prostituted to the publique view, which perchance you will think might have been plac’d better among the paper secrets in a few of your Cabinets; but ’tis easie to pardon that offence, which is onely committed in favour of the Common good.” Cooper, in other words, rewrites the prostituted letters as prostituted recipes and alludes to the idea of the recipes being returned to the female cabinet—where, of course, Charles’s letters rightfully belonged. At the same time, Cooper excuses the revelation of the King’s recipes by claiming their contribution to the “Common good.” Like those in The Compleat Cook, these receipts are for the most part common cookery, with stews of oysters and calves heads, boiled pigeons and pikes, and even the sweet recipes stay away from the fussy and expensive sugar-work displays and stick to simple puddings and fruit preserves. Cooper paints a picture of a people’s King, a man of moderate, pious appetites, much as he is revealed to be in the Eikon—in contrast to the apparently gormandizing impulses newly exhibited by the Lord Protector.

Lord Ruthven’s Ladies Cabinet Enlarged and Opened, also published in 1654, similarly alludes to the restoration of items in a cabinet, using language reminiscent of the Eikon. His preface, written by M.B., once more evokes the feminine—“the vertuous Ladies and Gentlewomen of this Land”—and the publisher identifies this as a second, improved edition, with a reorganization of recipes for easier use.79 “For this purpose [i.e. profitable use of time] I resolved (at least) to smooth your way a little,” he writes, “by bringing each particular to its proper head, or (since its called A Cabinet) laying each particular Jewel in his peculiar box; and so having fitted it for readier use, to have sent it abroad again to salute your gentle hands the second time.”80 While the jewels are of course recipes, they might also refer to the “incommunicable jewel” of Charles’s conscience that he lays in the hands of his people with the publication of the Eikon. Righting the mistakes of the earlier publication, Ruthven (or his publisher) organizes the hidden jewels for “readier use,” or clearer interpretation, making sure that this time the truth of these jewels will be obvious to all who take them in hand.

At least some of the jewels in Ruthven’s book, like those in The Compleat Cook, seem intended to summon up positive memories of Charles’s court and a corresponding longing for the past. The book includes several receipts for sugar-work, with some emphasis on the candying of flowers; this art, as Joan Thirsk observes, was “for a while something of a time-consuming obsession in rich households. … at its height it seems to belong to Charles I’s reign rather than the 1650s.”81 In an effort to keep this courtly fashion alive, Ruthven’s book informs women where they can get their ingredients: “The names and prices of Gummes for Sugar work” itemizes the necessary supplies and advises, “Buy your Gold at the Gold-beaters: your Gummes, and your colours at the Talbut in Newgate Market.”82 An earlier recipe—To preserve all kind of Flowers, in the Spanish Candy in Wedges—gives the noblewoman advice on this delicate art:

Take Violets, Cowslips, or any other kind of flowers, pick them and temper them with the pap of two roasted Apples, and a drop or two of Verjuyce, and a grain of Muske; then take a half a pound of fine hard Sugar, boil it to the height of Manus Christi, then mixe them together, and pour it on a wet Pie-plate, then cut it in Wedges before it be through cold, gild it and so you may box it, and keep it all the year: It is a fine sort of banqueting stuff, and newly used.83
While suggesting the recipe’s novelty, these instructions also assume previous knowledge. “Manus Christi,” a term used to describe a specific method of boiling sugar for candying, is undefined, as is the art of gilding, and it is unclear to a novice whether the flowers should be kept intact within their sugar coating.84 Its provenance as “banqueting stuff” definitively alludes to dining traditions associated with the court, and like the royalist romance, assists in sustaining courtly life in an altered world.

The final book to be published in the first half of the 1650s was that attributed to Alathea Talbot, Countess of Arundel. Her book, Natura Exenterata: Or Nature Unbowelled, published the same year as The Queens Closet, might be seen almost as a companion volume to Henrietta Maria’s given its similar use of iconography and its interest in attributing recipes and establishing networks. Talbot’s manual differs considerably in its content, however. Its overwhelming emphasis on medical receipts develops the concept of royalist involvement in national healing and rebalancing, and it is more ostentatious than the Queen’s book, seemingly claiming priority for this Englishwoman’s experience. Published in a slightly larger format—an octavo rather than a duodecimo—the volume begins with a detailed full-page frontispiece. The engraving shows Talbot sitting in front of richly embroidered draperies and looking far more regal than Henrietta Maria, with what appears to be an ermine cloak around her shoulders, fastened with an ornate clasp. She raises a string of beads gathered in her lap with her right hand, her left hand supporting the beads below. Although not a rosary, it might initially appear as such, particularly to those cognizant of Talbot’s religious affiliation. The beads could also be a visual symbol for the act of “unbowelling,” and might further allude to the exposure of secrets—perhaps even the spiritual secret of Christ—hidden in the cabinet of a woman’s body.85 Beneath the picture is the inscription: “The most Illustrious & most excellent Lady, the Lady Alathea Talbot &c. Countesse of Arundell and Surry & the first Countess of England.” If Henrietta Maria is the Queen, Talbot appears almost to be positioned as her right-hand woman, or even as a rival, but having recently died, in 1654, Talbot was a safe symbol of native English healing powers and the continued existence of English allegiance to the royals. Recipes such as A plaister for the head ach, and A medicine to bee used for the Pox in the Throat, are accentuated by the title-page assertion of the text’s medicinal value: “Her choicest SECRETS digested into RECEIPTS, fitted for the Cure of all sorts of Infirmities, whether Internal or External, Acute or Chronical, that are Incident to the Body of Man.”86 In royalist terms, healing the microcosm of the “Body of Man,” would naturally be analogous to healing the state, with the restoration of internal balance and order including Stuart restoration as well.

Talbot’s book also situates its receipts within a larger royalist network and the book provides upfront “A Catalogue of such Persons of Quality, viz. Knights, Doctors of Physick, Gentlemen, Countesses, Ladies and Gentlewomen, &c. by whose Experience, these Receipts following have been approved.” While a nod to current political powerbrokers is made with the inclusion of “Lady Cromwell,” the catalog begins with the familiar royalists “Sir Walter Raleigh” and “Sir Kenhelm Digby.” A third contributor, “Sir Nicholas Le Strange,” like Raleigh, invites association with earlier monarchs.87 Recipes within the book encourage further historical identifications with royal circles. A section of recipes attributed to “Doctor Martin a Kurnebeck” distinguishes him as “Phisitian to King Henry the Eight” and assures the reader that this German-born physician continued to heal the English even after Henry’s death, practicing “in the City of Norwich … to the great help and comfort of many a one that were diseased.”88 Other monarchs are recalled by a recipe explaining “How to make another Damask water proved, by her that stilleth the Kings sweet Waters at Hampton-Court.”89 In yet another section (this book runs to a substantial 469 pages and besides medical information, provides alchemical, household, and beauty receipts, along with instructions on fishing, making dyes, and breeding horses), “Certain very good Perfumes” are attributed to King Henry, King Edward, and even “The French Queen” herself. The perfume recipes, like those for Banbury cake and flower-candying, provide physical and sensual memories of the Tudor and Stuart monarchies, and the art of perfume-making clearly requires skill, fine ingredients, and special tools. “King Edward’s Perfume” is perhaps the richest of the three, containing “eight spoonfuls of perfect old red Rosewater, three graines of Civet, foure graines of Amber-greese.” The reader is instructed to combine these ingredients in “a little Viall together, and shake them in the Glasse, and put it into a perfume Pan, and let it distill softly in hot Embers.”90 The brevity of these instructions assumes a reader’s traditional knowledge, which would likely have rested in the hands of noblewomen such as Talbot. Individually, the recipe asserts the continuation of practices associated with the households of royalty and nobility, and contributes to the overall effect of a text whose interpretation of “cure” extends to a remarkable range of household skills and occupations that are dedicated to England by a Catholic, royalist Englishwoman.

Anticipating restoration

Three years passed before another new receipt book was published, possibly taking advantage of Oliver Cromwell's illness and death in 1658, and seeming to indicate the renewed hope for the return of the monarchy.91 This one was attributed to Sir Theodore Mayerne, the French Huguenot physician who had served both James I and Charles I. Although Mayerne had died in 1655, his name and recipes remained politically useful, and the concept of revealing royalist secrets is alluded to in the manual’s title—Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus—which evokes Mayerne’s alchemical practice. In contrast, however, this book provides a traditional range of receipts, from cookery, to elaborate sugar-work, to making preserves. Suggesting a rapprochement of sorts with the initial descriptor “Anglo-Gallicus,” the title-page reiterates this joining of cultures—perhaps looking back to the marriage between Charles and Henrietta Maria—in a later note concerning the recipes: “According to the French Mode, and English Manner.” Both Archer and Knoppers observe that several of the cookery receipts are very similar to those in The Queens Closet, perhaps another level of royalist allusion to be caught by readers looking for indications of continued allegiance to the crown.92

Well-larded with Latin phrases, a snippet of Greek, and clever jokes, the publisher’s short preface is less interested in conveying information than it is in asserting its learned wit and upholding the role of food and the cook in civilizing an uncivilized world. Although not overtly political, its “taste for obscurity, mystery, and playfulness” might well, according to Potter’s definition of royalist style, implicitly mark its political allegiance.93 Quoting Plautus, the publisher refers to the cook as “The preserver of mankind” and notes that the “Art of Cookery, and Teaching men to eat, not like Canniballs, but, like men, is none of the lowest Requisites in a well-governed Common-wealth.”94 Perhaps recalling civil-war pamphlets depicting cannibalistic feasts on the part of opponents, the preface intimates that re-education is necessary in the present.95 Suggesting that the art of cookery has been neglected during Cromwell's Commonwealth government, the preface further associates this neglect with a lack of civility and bad governance. Like other cookery books, this one alludes to the health that comes from good cooking, or “Kitchin-physick,” and asserts the book’s interest in general improvement: making “badde meat good, and good meat better.”96 As well, the preface separates those “substantiall men inclined to Hospitality” in their county seats from the charlatans spreading “the too Epidemicall humour of these Times” and “drain[ing] the[ir] purses,” suggesting the perceived disruption of traditional social relationships that has occurred as the result of overturned hierarchies.97 Although not relying on iconography, symbolic networks, or terminology alluding to the King’s book, Mayerne’s text, like the earlier manuals, perpetuates the insistence that royalty and royalists should reassert governance over the national household.

Royalists maintained their hold on the receipt book genre in the first years following the Restoration. The aforementioned Court & Kitchin of Elizabeth (1664) is an obvious example, but the initial two books associated with the Restoration period, Robert May’s The Accomplisht Cook (1660) and William Rabisha’s The whole Body of Cookery Dissected (1661), also align themselves with the monarchy. May dedicates his book to men defined by Catholic and royalist identity and associates the act of hospitality with pre-war and noble traditions.98 Rabisha similarly chooses to dedicate his book to royalists, and selects a series of women for this honour, celebrating the “happy and blessed restauration of our long-exiled Royal Luminaries.”99 Sustaining the focus on health, hospitality, and an orderly household, these books celebrate royalist networks and remind the reader of courtly dining practices, as if hoping to erase their disruption. This politicization of recipe books during the Commonwealth and early Restoration was part of the broader political struggle and the corresponding “war of words” that took over literary and instructional genres alike. Recipe books were possibly unique in their willingness to include women in this discourse that took advantage of the powerful imaginative effect of the Eikon Basilike to suggest the intertwining of the domestic and public spheres. According to the manuals, the reordering of the national household did indeed begin at home, with women established as the feeders and healers who would compel England towards Stuart restoration.



Support for this research was provided by a SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship, an Isaac Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, and an Eliza Ritchie Doctoral Scholarship for Women.

Madeline Bassnett received her BA from the University of Toronto, her MA from the University of New Brunswick, and her PhD from Dalhousie University. She is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto.



1. For further discussion of civil war and royalist discourse associated with food and dining rituals see Paul Hartle, “‘Take a Long Spoon’: Culinary Politics in the English Civil War,” in At the Table: Metaphorical and Material Cultures of Food in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Timothy J. Tomasik and Juliann M. Vitullo (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2007), 29-47; and Lois Potter, Secret rites and secret writing: Royalist literature 1641-1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 31-2, 138-40. For discussion of feasting and other traditional rituals as court-associated and anti-puritan discourse see Leah S. Marcus, The Politics of Mirth: Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Marvell, and the Defense of Old Holiday Pastimes (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986); and Kristen Poole, Radical Religion from Shakespeare to Milton: Figures of Nonconformity in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 45-73.

2. For analyses of the royalist politics of W.M.’s The Queens Closet Opened. Incomparable Secrets in Physick, Chirurgery, Preserving, Candying, and Cookery; As they were presented to the QVEEN (London: Nathaniel Brook, 1655), see Jayne Archer, “The Queens’ Arcanum:  Authority and Authorship in The Queens Closet Opened (1655)” Renaissance Journal 1, no. 6 (2002): 14-25; Laura Lunger Knoppers, “Opening the Queen’s Closet: Henrietta Maria, Elizabeth Cromwell, and the Politics of Cookery” Renaissance Quarterly 60, no. 2 (2007): 464-99; Edith Snook, “‘Soveraigne Receipts’ and the Politics of Beauty in The Queens Closet OpenedEarly Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 15 (2007): 1-19.

3. The eight books allied with royalty are: Joseph Cooper, The Art of Cookery Refin’d and Augmented. Containing an Abstract of some rare and rich unpublished Receipts of Cookery: Collected from the practise of that incomparable Master of these Arts, Mr. Jos. Cooper, chiefe Cook to the Late King (London: J.G. for R. Lowndes, 1654); Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, A Choice Manval of Rare and Select Secrets In Physick and Chyrurgery; Collected and Practised by the Right Honorable, the Countesse of Kent, late deceased. As also most Exquisite ways of Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c (London: Gertrude Dawson, 1653); Elizabeth Grey, A True Gentlewoman’s Delight. Wherein is contained all manner of Cookery: Together with Preserving, Conserving, Drying and Candying, Very necessary for all Ladies and Gentlewomen (London: Gertrude Dawson, 1653); W.M., The Queens Closet; W.M., The Compleat Cook. Expertly prescribing the most ready wayes, Whether, Italian, Spanish, or French. For dressing of Flesh, and Fish, Ordering of Sauces, or making of Pastry (London: Nathaniel Brook, 1655); Theodore Mayerne, Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus: Or, Excellent & Approved Receipts and Experiments in Cookery. Together with the best way of Preserving. As also, Rare Formes of Sugar-Works: According to the French Mode, and English Manner. Copied from a choice Manuscript of Sir Theodore Mayerne, Knight, Physician to the late K. Charles (London: G. Bedell and T. Collins, 1658); Lord Ruthven, The Ladies Cabinet Enlarged and Opened: Containing Many Rare Secrets, and Rich Ornaments of several kindes, and different uses (London: Printed by T.M. for M.M. G. Bedell and T. Collins, 1654); Alathea Talbot, Countess of Arundel, Natura Exenterata: Or Nature Unbowelled By the most Exquisite Anatomizers of Her. Wherein are contained, Her choicest Secrets digested into Receipts, fitted for the Cure of all sorts of Infirmities, whether Internal or External, Acute or Chronical, that are Incident to the Body of Man (London: H. Twiford, G. Bedell, N. Ekins, 1655). The other two books were published anonymously and provide fewer indications of political association. A Book of Fruits & Flowers. Shewing the Nature and Use of them, either for Meat or Medicine (London: M.S. for Thomas Jenner, 1653), is a 49-page quarto handsomely illustrated with pictures of fruit, and The Ladies Companion (London: W. Bentley, 1653) is an 89-page duodecimo. Both books include a typical mix of recipes for cookery, dessert making, and medicine. The latter text, however, does appear to recall royalist figures and traditional hierarchies, a prevalent practice in The Queens Closet and other books of the period. Its title-page advertises receipts by “Persons of quality whose names are mentioned,” including “Lady Gray,” probably Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, an attendant to Henrietta Maria, who is named as the originator of five different receipts. While recipes are more frequently attributed to Mrs Medgate, Mrs Atkinson, and Mrs Heydon, the Ladies Goring, Butler, and Throckmorton make periodic appearances. This book also includes instructions for sugar-work, which is typically associated with the creative skills of the noblewoman.

4. Anon, The Court & Kitchin of Elizabeth, Commonly called Joan Cromwel, The Wife of the late Usurper (London: Thomas Milbourn for Randal Taylor, 1664). For more substantial discussions of this book, see in particular Knoppers, and also Katharine Gillespie, “Elizabeth Cromwell’s Kitchen Court: Republicanism and the Consort” Genders 33 (2001): unpaginated.

5. Food and literary historians have written about the printed receipt book in relation to women, authorship, knowledge, and rhetoric. These include: Lynette Hunter, “Books for daily life: household, husbandry, behavior,” in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Vol. IV: 1557-1695, ed. John Barnard and D.F. McKenzie with Maureen Bell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 514-32; Hunter, “Cookery Books: A Cabinet of Rare Devices and Conceits” Petits Propos Culinaires 5 (1980): 19-34; Hunter, “Women and Domestic Medicine: Lady Experimenters, 1570-1620,” in Women, Science and Medicine 1500-1700: Mothers and Sisters of the Royal Society, ed. Lynette Hunter and Sarah Hutton (Phoenix Mill: Sutton, 1997), 89-107; Hunter, “‘Sweet Secrets’ from Occasional Receipt to Specialised Books: The Growth of a Genre,” in “Banquetting Stuffe”: The fare and social background of the Tudor and Stuart banquet, ed. C. Anne Wilson (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), 36-59; Wendy Wall, Staging Domesticity: Household Work and English Identity in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Kim F. Hall, “Culinary spaces, colonial spaces: the gendering of sugar in the seventeenth century,” in Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture: Emerging Subjects, ed. Valerie Traub, M. Lindsay Kaplan, and Dympna Callaghan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 168-90; Malcolm Thick, “A Close Look at the Composition of Sir Hugh Plat’s Delightes for Ladies,” in The English Cookery Book: Historical Essays: Leeds Symposium on Food History “Food and Society” Series, ed. Eileen White (Totnes, Devon: Prospect, 2004), 55-71; Robert Appelbaum, “Rhetoric and Epistemology in Early Printed Recipe Collections” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 3, no. 2 (2003): 1-35; Appelbaum, Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections: Literature, Culture, and Food Among the Early Moderns (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2006); Elizabeth Tebeaux, “Women and Technical Writing, 1475-1700: Technology, Literacy and Development of a Genre,” in Women, Science and Medicine 1500-1700, ed. Hunter and Hutton (Phoenix Mill: Sutton, 1997), 29-62; Elizabeth David, “A True Gentlewoman’s Delight” Petits Propos Culinaires 1 (1979): 43-53; Eileen White, “Domestic English Cookery and Cookery Books, 1575-1675,” in The English Cookery Book, ed. White (Totnes, Devon: Prospect, 2004), 72-97; Elaine Hobby, “A woman’s best setting out is silence: the writings of Hannah Wolley,” in Culture and Society in the Stuart Restoration: Literature, Drama, History, ed. Gerald MacLean (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 179-200; and David B. Goldstein, “Recipes for Authorship: Indigestion and the Making of Originality in Early Modern England” (Ph.D. Diss. Stanford University, 2005), who discusses the books of May, Rabisha, Plat, Woolley, and the manuscript book belonging to Ann Fanshawe, 89-179. Further discussions of manuscript recipe books, female knowledge and subjectivity can be found in Sara Pennell, “Perfecting Practice? Women, Manuscript Recipes and Knowledge in Early Modern England,” in Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Writing: Selected Papers from the Trinity/Trent Colloquium, ed. Victoria E. Burke and Jonathan Gibson (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 237-55; and Catherine Field, “‘Many hands hands’: Writing the Self in Early Modern Women’s Recipe Books,” in Genre and Women’s Life Writing in Early Modern England, ed. Michelle M. Dowd and Julie A. Eckerle (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 49-63.

6. The only exception appears to be the 1649 publication of the short medicinal and household manual A Pretious Treasury: Or a New Dispensatory (London: Thomas Harper for Richard Harper, 1649), authored by Salvator Winter and Signieur Francisco Dickinson, “expert Operators.” Intriguingly, the title-page woodcut depicts two quacks on a raised platform, apparently playing to a crowd of gullible Puritans, although the recipes seem to offer reasonably standard medicinal and domestic advice.

7. Hunter, “‘Sweet Secrets,’” 51.

8. Hobby, 197. In particular she cites The Queens Closet, Robert May’s The Accomplisht Cook, Or The Art and Mystery of Cookery (London: Nathaniel Brook, 1660), and The Court & Kitchin of Elizabeth.

9. For the purposes of this article, I focus primarily on the manuals’ rich prefatory material, and provide some initial suggestions for royalist readings of recipes. Recipes are frequently borrowed from earlier works, and “compiled,” rather than “authored,” is often a more accurate term to describe how these books were created. See Robert Appelbaum, “Rhetoric and Epistemology,” who discusses, in part, the importance of analyzing the “contextual apparatuses of recipe collections” to understand the cultural, social, and political import of the manuals, 15-20. He does, as well, provide a good example of an anti-Cromwellian recipe printed in The Court & Kitchin, 20-1.

10. Nigel Smith, Literature and Revolution in England 1640-1660 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994), 328-30; Steven N. Zwicker, Lines of Authority: Politics and English Literary Culture 1649-1689 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993), 60-75. Walton’s manual was later published in the even less-expensive duodecimo format.

11. Izaak Walton, The Complete Angler and The Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert & Sanderson (London: Macmillan, 1906), 63. He includes recipes for the chub (47-8), the pike (111-12), the carp (119), and the eel (135). Except for the chub, all the recipes are attributed; for example, the initials “M.B.” follow the pike recipe.

12. Ibid., 105.

13. Zwicker, 73.

14. These implicit suggestions would be taken up overtly in the Restoration. Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook, William Rabisha, The whole Body of Cookery Dissected (London: R.W. for Giles Calvert, 1661), and The Court & Kitchin, all associate Cromwell’s allegedly bad governance with lack of hospitality, neglectful household management, and the absence of good dining. See Kevin Sharpe, “‘An Image Doting Rabble’: The Failure of Republican Culture in Seventeenth-Century England,” in Refiguring Revolutions: Aesthetics and Politics from the English Revolution to the Romantic Revolution, ed. Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zwicker (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), 45-51, for a discussion of Cromwell’s adoption of regal behaviors.

15. Lynette Hunter has identified the recipe books’ broad appeal, observing that they “tended to be relatively cheap, small-format books for the non-specialist” and noting “the vast numbers sold … their extended life and many editions,” “Books for daily life,” 515. Almost all the books I discuss were published in inexpensive duodecimo editions. The only exception is Alathea Talbot’s Natura Exenterata, which was published as an octavo. Elizabeth Sauer, “Paper-Contestations” and Textual Communities in England, 1640-1675 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 7.

16. Lois Potter, Secret rites and secret writing; Annabel Patterson, Censorship and Interpretation: The Conditions of Writing and Reading in Early Modern England (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984); Nigel Smith, Literature and Revolution in England; Steven N. Zwicker, Lines of Authority; Elizabeth Sauer, “Paper-Contestations”; Kevin Sharpe, “‘An Image Doting Rabble,’” 25-56.

17. Sharpe, 43. The book to which he refers is the 1653 The Card of Courtship, or The Language of Love.

18. Potter, 80.

19. Patterson, 168, 170-1.

20. John Partridge, The Treasury of commodious Conceits, and hidden Secrets, Commonly called The good Huswiues Closet of prouision, for the health of hir housholde 1573 (London: Henry Car, 1584), A1v.

21. Patterson, 7-8, 180-5.

22. See William Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994) for a detailed analysis of the relationship between early modern recipe books and medieval books of secrets.

23. Hunter, “Cookery Books,” 23.

24. Eamon, 306.

25. Hunter, “Cookery Books,” 23; Charles I, Eikon Basilike: The Portraiture of His Sacred Majesty in His Solitudes and Sufferings, ed. Philip A. Knachel (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966), 53. Charles reiterates this concept later on: “I shall never think myself less than myself while I am able thus to preserve the integrity of my conscience, the only jewel now left me which is worth keeping,” 136.

26. Anon., The Kings Cabinet opened: Or, Certain Packets of Secret Letters & Papers Written with the Kings own Hand, and taken in his Cabinet at Nasby-field, June 14. 1645 (London: Robert Bostock, 1645). For further discussion of The Kings Cabinet see Potter 59-64; Diane Purkiss, Literature, Gender and Politics During the English Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 71-85; Derek Hirst, “Reading the Royal Romance: Or, Intimacy in a King’s Cabinet” The Seventeenth Century 18 (2003): 211-29. Purkiss provides a particularly good analysis of the feminization of Charles I.

27. Thomas Browne, A Key To The Kings Cabinet; or Animadversions upon the three Printed Speeches, of Mr Lisle, Mr Tate, and Mr Browne, spoken at a Common Hall in London, 3 July, 1645. Detecting the Malice and Falshood of their Blasphemous Observations made upon the King and Qveenes Letters (Oxford: Leonard Lichfield, 1645), 51. Other royalist defenses include: Anon., A Letter, In Which The Arguments Of The Annotator, And three other speeches Vpon their Majestie’s Letters Published at London, are Examined and Answered (Printed in the yeare 1645); Edward Symmons, A Vindication Of King Charles: Or A Loyal Subjects Duty (Printed in the Yeere, 1647); Anon., Some Observations Upon Occasion of the Publishing their Majesties Letters (Oxford: Leonard Lichfield, 1645); Martin Lluelyn, A Satyr, Occasioned By The Author’s Survey Of a Scandalous Pamphlet Intituled, The King’s Cabanet Opened (Oxford: Leonard Lichfield, 1645).

28. Charles I, 129-30.

29. Philip A. Knachel, “Introduction,” Eikon Basilike, xiv-xv.

30. John Gauden’s letter, 21 Jan. 1660/61, quoted in Sauer, 58.

31. Zwicker, 40. For discussions of the impact of the Eikon on the popular imagination, see Sharpe, 33-44; Sauer, 58-76; Zwicker, 37-45; and Todd Butler, Imagination and Politics in Seventeenth-Century England (Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008), 123-35.

32. Sharpe, 35, 45-51.

33. Abraham Wright, Parnassus Biceps, Or Severall Choice Pieces of Poetry, Composed by the best Wits that were in both the Universities Before Their Dissolution (London: George Eversden, 1656), 54-5. See also Lois Potter’s discussion of the poem, 175-6.

34. Archer, 20-4.

35. Hugh Trevor-Roper, “Mayerne, Sir Theodore Turquet de (1573-1655),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Online edition Jan. 2008). The recipes attributed to Mayerne are: “A Cordial water in the time of Infection” and “A Purge by Dr. Mayhern,” in The Queens Closet, 33, 180.

36. Hunter, “Women and Domestic Medicine,” 90.

37. Although Natura Exenterata is not directly attributed to Talbot, the title-page is accompanied by a detailed frontispiece engraving of the Countess. Talbot’s publishers also list her as the author in their catalogue at the end of Archimagirus, which adds to the evidence for her authorship, Mayerne, G4r. Hunter, “Women and Domestic Medicine,” discusses Talbot’s authorship in detail as part of an analysis of early modern women’s contributions (specifically by Talbot, Elizabeth Grey, and Henrietta Maria) to science and medicine, 90-5, 101-4, 107 n. 60.

38. The Ladies Cabinet Enlarged and Opened is commonly thought to be an improved version of the anonymous Ladies Cabinet Opened (London: M. Parsons for Richard Meighen, 1639), and both tend to be attributed to the same author. The later edition cites “the late Right Honorable and Learned Chymist, The Lord Ruthuen” as the author on its title-page, and most frequently, this is assumed to refer to the royalist military general, the Earl of Forth and Brentford (1573?-1651), which is the attribution given by the ESTC. Joan Thirsk suggests that the author is Lord Ruthin, or Henry Grey (c.1583-1639), husband of Elizabeth Grey; it is compelling to see their books as companion volumes, but few seem to share Thirsk’s opinion. See Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads, Fashions 1500-1760 (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), 104-6. A third possibility is Lord Patrick Ruthven, Earl of Gowrie (1584-1652), who was an alchemist and physician, but was less well-known than his namesake. As he is the only contender to fit the title of “Learned Chymist,” I am tempted to agree with John Bruce who argues for Gowrie’s authorship in Notes and Queries 3rd ser., 5, no. 117 (March 26, 1864): 270. However, it might be that Ruthven is an amalgam that alludes to and includes both of the recently deceased Earls, one, who exists in the popular imagination, and the other, who might conceivably have compiled his own book of secrets.

39. Anna Trapnel, The Cry of a Stone. Or A Relation of Something spoken in Whitehall (London, 1654), 53-5. Trapnel continues to berate Cromwell for his consumption of food in the final pages of her tract, 68-70.

40. Ruthven, L1r-v. The first list of books is printed for Bedell, William Lee, and D. Pakeman, L1r-L2v.

41. Ibid., L3r (mispaginated as K3r), L4r, L5v.

42. Gordon Campbell, “Phillips, John (1631-1706?),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Online edition, May 2006).

43. Cooper, A2v.

44. Snook, para. 3.

45. The Queens Closet went through four editions in the following five years, and at least eighteen by the end of the century. For a brief discussion of publication history see Archer, 15.

46. See Knoppers’s discussion of the frontispiece, 468-72.

47. Ibid., 472 n. 14.

48. Ibid., 468.

49. Archer, 24; Knoppers, 477-80. Although Diane Purkiss, 77-8, suggests that The Queens Closet continues the anti-royalist satire contained in The Kings Cabinet, I agree with Knoppers, 480 n. 53, that there is significantly more evidence to the contrary, particularly as royalists were actively engaged in the work of reinterpreting and re-claiming the symbolism of the cabinet/closet.

50. W.M., Queens, A4v.

51. Ibid., A3v.

52. Ibid., A4r-v.

53. Ibid., A6r.

54. W.M., The Queens Closet Opened. Incomparable Secrets in Physick, Chyrurgery, Preserving and Candying, &c. (London: Nathaniel Brook, 1659), A1r-A2r.

55. Archer, 18-19; Knoppers, 480-4.

56. As Snook states, “their dispensation seeks to effect a powerful cure, the restoration of the monarchy,” para. 19. See para. 12-19 for a more complete discussion.

57. W.M., Queens (1655), 25-6.

58. Nancy Pollard Brown, “Howard [Dacre], Anne, countess of Arundel (1557–1630),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept. 2004. Online edition Jan. 2008). Brown states that particularly in later years, “She oversaw the preparation of medicines and dressings, and many came to her seeking treatment.”

59. W.M., Queens (1655), 272; 274, 290-1. The recipe assigned to the unspecified King Edward is remarkably similar to the recipe that Alathea Talbot’s Natura Exenterata attributes to Henrietta Maria, 460.

60. Ibid., 274.

61. As Snook explains, the “beauty and fairness” that the beauty recipes aspire towards are “signs of a vital constitution and natural power,” thus symbolically contributing to “balance and order, in the body and in the nation,” para. 3.

62. W.M.’s initials do not appear on the title-page, and the ESTC notes that authorship is attributed to him by Wing, which suggests that his authorship is assumed only because of the manual’s association with The Queens Closet. There also does not appear to be any evidence that The Compleat Cook was based on recipes by Henrietta Maria, and the decision to unite the two was likely that of the publisher, White, “Domestic,” 74. The manual does, however, neatly provide the third of the three traditional receipt-book divisions (medical, household, cookery) observed by Lynette Hunter, “Cookery Books,” 24.

63. W.M., Compleat, 21-2.

64. Ibid., 3.

65. Ibid., 99, 109-11.

66. Ibid., 99.

67. James Knowles, “Conway, Edward, second Viscount Conway and second Viscount Killutagh (bap. 1594, d. 1655),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept. 2004. Online edition Jan. 2008).

68. W.M., Compleat, 109-10.

69. Jan Broadway, “Manners, John, eighth earl of Rutland (1604-1679),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept. 2004, Online edition Jan. 2008).

70. A Choice Manuall and A True Gentlewoman’s Delight were consistently published as part of the same volume, with A Choice Manuall comprising the first part. Elizabeth David has suggested that it is only A Choice Manuall and its medical receipts that can be attributed to Elizabeth Grey, and that the cookery receipts of A True Gentlewoman's Delight appear to be written by another. Indeed, only the Choice Manuall is directly attributed to Elizabeth Grey on the title-page. As David suggests, the two volumes might have been printed together for cost purposes and to raise sales, and certainly the implication of relationship might have increased the number of interested readers, 48-51. Their publication could have inspired the later association between The Queens Closet Opened and The Compleat Cook.

71. Hunter, “Books for daily life,” 529.

72. A Choice Manuall, Or Rare and Select Secrets in Physick and Chyrurgery: Collected, and practised by the Right Honourable, the Countesse of Kent, late deceased. Whereto are added several Experiments of the Virtues of Gascon pouder, and Lapis contra Yarvam, by a Professor of Physick. As also most Exquisite waies of Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c. The Second Edition (London: Gertrude Dawson, 1653). The dedication to Letitia Popham is located on A3r-v, following A True Gentlewomans Delight title-page. For this second edition, Jarvis adds an epistle to A Choice Manuall. This epistle is inserted between pages 190 and 191, and it informs the reader that the ensuing recipes originated with Walter Raleigh, who allegedly developed them during his imprisonment in the Tower.

73. Grey, B1r. In context, Jarvis rejects responsibility for misuse of these rich, sovereign receipts.

74. Browne, 6.

75. OED Online, “cheat,” n.1 2., 4.

76. Cooper, A2r.

77. Browne, 2-3.

78. Cooper, A2v.

79.Ruthven, A1r.

80. Ibid., A1v.

81. Thirsk, 106. There is also an emphasis on sugar-work in A True Gentlewomans Delight, with recipes such as “To make paste Royall white, that you may make Court Bouls, or Caps, or Gloves, Shooes, or any pretty thing Printed in Moulds,” and “To candie all kind of Floures in wayes of the Spanish Candie,” 54-5, 64-5. For consideration of the relationship between women and edible luxuries such as sugar, see in particular Wendy Wall, Staging Domesticity, 42-53; and Kim F. Hall, “Culinary spaces.”

82. Ruthven, 23-4.

83. Ibid., 3-4.

84. This recipe uses the term “Manus Christi” specifically in reference to boiling sugar. Alan Davidson notes that the candying term does not correspond to the type of boiled sugar required for the sweetmeat Manus Christi, but that the name might instead allude to “a gesture made in testing sugar syrup [that] was thought to resemble that made in the blessing of the host and the chalice,” The Penguin Companion to Food (New York and London: Penguin, 2002), 572. The Manus Christi itself appears to have been made in the form of tiny cakes or as sugar candy, and commonly included sugar, rosewater, flour, and other ingredients (pearl, gold-leaf), often depending on its particular medicinal purpose. Manus Christi recipes appear to have been more common in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century cookbooks. See, for example, Hugh Plat’s recipe for a “Wholesome and comfortable Manus Christi, for such as haue weake stomaches,” which includes the oils of “Cynamon, Cloues, mace, nutmegs” to “warme and comfort your stomach exceedingly,” in the fourth part of The Jewell House of Art and Nature (London: Peter Short, 1594), 13-14. John Partridge’s The Treasury of commodious Conceits, and hidden Secrets, Biiiv-Bivr, and Thomas Dawson’s The good huswifes Iewell (London: John Wolfe for Edward White, 1587), 23r-v, offer Manus Christi recipes that might be used equally for both the pleasure-giving and traditionally medicinal qualities of sugar.

85. Thanks to Randall Martin for making the link between the beads and the act of unbowelling.

86. Talbot, 10, 61.

87. Ibid., A4r-v. Very few of the contributors listed in Natura Exenterata appear to overlap with those identified in The Queens Closet.

88. Ibid., 299.

89. Ibid., 398.

90. Ibid., 460.

91. Earlier books were reprinted at this time: The Queens Closet and The Compleat Cook (1658 and 1659), A Choice Manuall and A True Gentlewomans Delight (1659), and The Ladies Cabinet Enlarged and Opened (1658).

92. Archer, 17 n. 11; Knoppers, 483 and n. 71.

93. Potter, 209.

94. Mayerne, A2v.

95. Potter discusses the tendency of both royalists and Levellers during the civil war to satirize each other as cannibalistic gluttons, 31-2.

96. Mayerne, A2v.

97. Ibid., A3r.

98. For discussion of May’s Catholic connections, see Tom Jaine, “May, Robert (b. 1588?, d. in or after 1664),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Online edition). May’s dedicatees include the Lords Lumley, Lovelace, and Paston, and Knights Kenelm Digby and Frederick Cornwallis, A3r.

99. Rabisha, A3v. Rabisha dedicates his book to the Duchess Dowager of Richmond and Lennox, the Duchess of Buckingham, Lady Jane Lane, Lady Mary Tufton, and Lady Agnes Walker, A2r. His biographer, John Considine, identifies all of these women as having “royalist connections.” “Rabisha, William (fl.1625-1661),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Online edition).