Weird & Wonderful 17th Century Recipes

Explore some of the historic recipes of the 1600s

Our historic coaching inn dates to the 17th century, a time of war, fire plague and execution. However, it was also an experimental time for food and a period of ‘new wealth’ which led to a time of rich appetites.

17th century recipes contained a variety of weird and wonderful ingredients. There was a growing fascination for food from mainland Europe and a number of high profile people such as the Earl of Sandwich hired French chefs.

To find out some of the more weird and wonderful dishes that might have been served when The Old Bell Hotel was built we digged around and spoke to some of our chefs.

Viper Soup

As the name suggests this recipe used viper snakes. They were taken alive and had their heads removed before being cut into roughly 2-inch pieces and boiled with their hearts. Finally, it’s garnished with slices of lemon.

Cock Ale

A 17th century ale that’s flavoured with a skinned cockerel and various spices. Take a cockerel and boil them well, add 4lbs of raisins, nutmeg, mace flakes, dates and put in a barrel for 7 days. Apparently, it was good for getting rid of colds.

Roasted Cow’s Udder

Roasted cow’s udder isn’t a dish for the faint hearted. It started by boiling the udders, then covering it with cloves and left to chill. Once chilled it’s laid over a fire and basted with sweet butter. When roasted brown it’s then further boiled with white bread crumbs and sugar before being ready to serve.

Poisonous Purple Pears

Definitely don’t try this recipe. Pears are cooked in a saucepan with a pewter dish which cause a chemical reaction. The acid from the pears react with the lead in the pewter dish which slowly turn the pears purple. Unfortunately, whoever ate a lot of them died.

It’s not all bad…

Don’t worry it’s not all bad when it comes to recipes from the 17th century. It was also a time with a wealth of different cake recipes and traditional chophouses to experience large cuts of steak washed down with plenty of ale or wine.

One of the more interesting recipes we like is the 17th century wine cake. Using all the standard ingredients for a cake mixed with cocoa powder and Marsala wine.

Fortunately, the gruesome recipes above are no longer something we are subjected to and food has drastically changed since The Old Bell Hotel was built in 1650.

Just take a look at our current menu to find out more.

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