Today, May 18, is the Feast of Saint Elias Ashmole, who died in 1692. Born May 23, 1617, Elias Ashmole was a celebrated English antiquary, politician, officer of arms, astrologer and student of alchemy. According to the Invisible Basilica, “Ashmole was a late but ardent student of John Dee, whose manuscripts he possessed, and an apologist for Rosicrucianism. Some historians believe that Ashmole was the actual founder of Speculative Freemasonry, and that he based the fraternity on ideas from Francis Bacon’s ‘New Atlantis.’”
In 1660, Charles II granted Ashmole the offices of comptroller of the excise and Windsor herald. That same year, The Accomplisht Cook was published by Robert May. The book contains recommended bills of fare for holidays as well as monthly suggested menus. Here’s one for the month of May.
A Bill of Fare for May.
- Scotch Pottage or Skink.
- Scotch collops of mutton.
- A Loin of Veal.
- An oline, or a Pallat pye.
- Three Capons, 1 larded.
Take a leg of mutton, and take out the bone, leave the leg whole, and cut large collops round the leg as thin as a half-crown piece; hack them, then salt and broil them on a clear charcoal fire, broil them up quick, and the blood will rise on the upper side; then take them up plum off the fire, and turn the gravy into a dish, this done, broil the other side, but have a care you broil them not too dry; then make sauce with the gravy, a little claret wine, and nutmeg; give the collops a turn or two in the gravy, and dish them one by one, or two, one upon another; then run them over with the juyce of orange or lemon.
To make an excellent Pottage called Skinke.
Take a leg of beef, and chop it into three pieces, then boil it in a pot with three pottles of spring-water, a few cloves, mace, and whole pepper: after the pot is scum’d put in a bundle of sweet morjoram, rosemary, tyme, winter-savory, sage, and parsley bound up hard, some salt, and two or three great onions whole, then about an hour before dinner put in three marrow bones and thicken it with some strained oatmeal, or manchet slic’t and steeped with some gravy, strong broth, or some of the pottage; then a little before you dish up the Skinke, put into it a little fine powder of saffron, and give it a warm or two: dish it on large slices of French Bread, and dish the marrow bones on them in a fine clean large dish; then have two or three manchets cut into toasts, and being finely toasted, lay on the knuckle of beef in the middle of the dish, the marrow bones round about it, and the toasts round about the dish brim, serve it hot.
Learn more about Saint Elias Ashmole: