Rooms were furnished with chairs, tables, benches, chests, bedsteads, and, in some cases, tub-shaped baths. Carpets were to be found only in the houses of the very wealthy. The floors of ordinary houses, like those of churches, were covered with rushes and straw, among which it was the useful custom to scatter fragrant herbs. This rough carpet was pressed by the clogs of working people and the shoes of the fashionable. The spit was a much used cooking utensil. Table-cloths, knives, and spoons were in general use, but not the fork before the fifteenth century. At one time food was manipulated by the fingers. York was advanced in table manners, for it is known that a fork was used in the house of a citizen family here in 1443. The richer members of the middle class owned a large number of silver tankards, goblets, mazer-bowls, salt-cellars and similar utensils and ornaments of silver, for this was a common form in which they held their wealth.
Girl with a cake
Boy eating from a large bowl
The Parish Clerk sprinkling the Knight and Lady
Picture shows the costume and the holy water-pot and aspersoir, and to indicate how he went into all the rooms of the house now into the hall sprinkling the lord and lady who are at breakfast.
We ordered mountain chairs, and at eleven o'clock we started. These chairs are very light, and as we had four coolies each, we went at a very good pace. We passed quickly through the city, and on reaching the I-ling-16u, which is in the northern suburb, our chair-coolies stopped at a street restaurant to regale themselves before going into the open country. Henry and I got out of our chairs and sat under a wide-spreading banyan tree. We were much amused by watching many wayfarers, who were passing from or into the city, refreshing themselves at the street restaurant, either with tea and cakes, or boiled rice and fried fish, or with soups, fruits, etc.
Water-color by George Rochegrosse.
THe figure represents a groupe of the common peasantry of the country eating their rice. The particular employment of these, here designated, is that of tracking barges on the canals; the pieces of wood lying by them being those which they place across the chest to drag forward the vessels. It will be seen from the other prints, that the common mode of carrying burthens is that of swinging baskets from the two extremities of a bamboo, which is laid by the middle across the shoulders.
Among the peasantry and labouring people of China, all are cooks. A little earthen-ware stove and an iron pan is all that is required. Rice is their principal food, which is simply boiled, and then a little fat of pork or a salt fish put into the pan to mix with it and give it a relish; they drink little else besides water, which is usually carried about in a gourd slung on the back; and they require no table nor chairs. Each person has his bowl and his chop-sticks, and squatting down on his haunches before the pan, he makes a hearty and contented meal. It is quite gratifying to see a party of youngsters making their dinner in this way in the open air.
A family enjoying a meal, about 1650. Many of the eating and drinking vessels portrayed, together with much of the tableware, are types which have been excavated. (conjectural sketch by Sidney e. King.)
Interior of Italian Kitchen.
From the Book on Cookery of Christoforo di Messisburgo, "Banchetti compositioni di Vivende," 4to., Ferrara, 1549.
It was only in the course of the sixteenth century that the name of potage ceased to be applied to stews, whose number equalled their variety, for on a bill of fare of a banquet of that period we find more than fifty different sorts of potages mentioned.
Interior of a Kitchen of the Sixteenth Century.
Fac-simile from a Woodcut in the "Calendarium Romanum" of Jean Staéffler, folio, Tubingen, 1518.
State Banquet.--Serving the Peacock.--Fac-simile of a Woodcut in an edition of Virgil, folio, published at Lyons in 1517.
Hunting-Meal.--Fac-simile of a Miniature in the Manuscript of the "Livre du Roy Modus" (National Library of Paris)
Free Distribution of Bread, Meat, and Wine to the People.--Reduced Copy of a Woodcut of the Solemn Entry of Charles V and Pope Clement VII into Bologna, in 1530.
In these assemblies, where the King gathered together all his principal vassals once or twice a year, to hold personal communication with them, and to strengthen his power by ensuring their feudal services, large quantities of food and fermented liquors were publicly distributed among the people. The populace were always most enthusiastic spectators of military displays, of court ceremonies, and, above all, of the various amusements which royalty provided for them at great cost in those days: and it was on these state occasions that jugglers, tumblers, and minstrels displayed their talents.
Boyle your Quinces that you intend to keep, whole and unpared, in faire water, till they be soft, but not too violently for feare you break them, when they are soft take them out, and boyle some Quinces pared, quarter'd, and coar'd, and the parings of the Quinces with them in the same liquor, to make it strong, and when they have boyled a good time, enough to make the liquor of sufficient strength, take out the quartered Quinces and parings, and put the liquor into a pot big enough to receive all the Quinces, both whole and quartered, and put them into it, when the liquor is thorow cold, and so keep them for your use close covered.
A Tart of Straw-Berries.
Pick and wash your Straw-Berries clean, and put them in the past one by another, as thick as you can, then take Sugar, Cinamon, and a little Ginger finely beaten, and well mingled together, cast them upon the Straw Berries, and cover them with the lid finely cut into Lozenges, and so let them bake a quarter of an houre, then take it out, stewing it with a little Cinamon, and Sugar, and so serve it.
Recipe from the 1653 book (with original spelling)
Take Lemmons, rub them upon a Grate, to make their rinds smooth, cut them in halves, take out the meat of them, and boyle them in faire water a good while, changing the water once or twice in the boyling, to take away the bitternesse of them, when they are tender take them out and scrape away all the meat (if any be left) very cleane, then cut them as thin as you can (to make them hold) in a long string, or in reasonable short pieces, and lay them in your glasse, and boyling some of the best White-wine vineger with shugar, to a reasonable thin Syrupe, powre it upon them into your glasse, and keep them for your use.