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Patrick Lamb (c. 1650-1708)

Royal cookery, or, The complete court-cook. 1710

19.5 x 3.0 cm (book measurement (inventory)) | RCIN 1075247

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  • Published two-years after the author's death, this collection of recipes gives an insight into what was served at court at the end of the Stuart period. The text states it was printed "not to cook out an art of gluttony or to teach the rich to grow fatter by ranging epicurism under the several heads of jellies, soupes and pottages … but to represent the grandeur of the English court and nation". The book went through several editions from its first printing in 1710, reappearing in 1716, 1726 and 1731.

    Born around 1650, Patrick Lamb worked in the Royal kitchens from a young age, earning his first titled position as Youngest Child of the Pastry in 1662, before going on to become master-cook to Queen Catherine of Braganza, the consort of Charles II, in 1677. He finally became master-cook to King Charles II in 1683, a responsibility that required him to prepare not just daily meals for the monarch but also feasts for great royal occasions.

    Royal Cookery, or, the Complete Court-Cook
    includes recipes served at the great feasts held by the Stuart court and contains 34 plates illustrating how tables were set for different occasions. Feasts were the most extravagant part of Lamb's work; the coronation feast of William III & Mary II in 1689, for instance, cost £4931, equivalent to almost £500,000 today. Many of the recipes are still recognisable to a modern cook (pea soup, eggs Florentine and rice pudding), whereas others (calf's brain pâté and pigeons à la tartare), are less familiar.

    Lamb was famous in his own day for being one of only a few English cooks in a field dominated by French chefs. He died in 1708 or early 1709 and it appears, due to the great detail included, that the recipes and table layouts in this book came from his own notes. It may be possible however, as was believed by some contemporaries, that Lamb's name was simply added to the text as a marketing ploy to help increase sales and the recipes were not his own.

  • Measurements

    19.5 x 3.0 cm (book measurement (inventory))

  • Alternative title(s)

    Royal cookery; or, the complete court-cook : containing the choicest receipts in all the particular branches of cookery, now in use in the Queen's palaces of St James's, Kensington, Hampton-Court and Windsor. With near forty figures (curiously engraven on copper) od the magnificent entertainments at coronations, instalment, balls, weddings &c at court ; also receipts for making the soupes, jellies, bisques, ragoo's, pattys, tanzies, forc'd meats, cakes, puddings &c. / by Patrick Lamb, Esq ; near 50 years master-cook to their late Majesties King Charles II, King James II, King William and Queen Mary, and to Her Present Majesty Queen Anne. To which are added bills of fare for every season in the year.

    London, printed for Abel Roper, and sold by John Morphew, near Stationers-Hall. 1710.