About a week ago I drifted into a conversation on Twitter about the use of pewter vessels for cooking in rather than serving in…the question being asked was, did anyone know of any medieval or early modern recipes that used pewter vessels as cooking pots. As it happened, I’d been scanning through recipes planning the Christmas week of cookery at Hampton Court so some pertinent recipes were fresh in my mind, such as How to make buttered Beere from The Good Huswives Handmaid for cookerie in her Kitchin 1597…
as well as a smattering of early seventeenth century examples and a nice recipe from the eighteenth century telling you how to use a pewter plate in your cooking pot to turn stewed pears purple, but to be wary that you don’t get the plate too hot and melt it (when we’ve tried this in the past that’s one of the two outcomes we got from following the recipe, the other being stewed pears that weren’t purple and a hot plate in the cooking pot!)
Anyway, I was asked to visit the original discussion which had started the whole thing off here and long story short, as I was planning on having the ingredients for the buttered beere recipe in stock for the Christmas cooking week, I thought we might as well kill two birds with the one stone and changed the plans for buttered beere from “if we get time” to “make time to do this”…all I have to do is find a suitable pewter pot that we don’t mind sacrificing to the greater cause of experimental history!
So add that to the list of what’s on next week in the Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace and keep an eye out for photos of melted pots and spilled beer on Twitter!