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Archive Collections at HHC: Recipe Books

Guide to material held at Hull History Centre, arranged by theme, creator and document type

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers”

Laurie Colwin 

Recipe Books

Research Themes Supported

Hull History Centre holds a small number of significant recipe books. Such records can aid research into:

  • Development of Medicines
  • Home Remedies
  • Diseases and Ailments
  • Weights and Measures
  • Eating Habits
  • Household Necessities
  • Cookery Methods
  • Common and Rare Ingredients
  • Superstitions
  • Inherited Knowledge

Key Information Content of Records

The following are common categories of information which feature in this record type:

  • Lists of ingredients
  • Methods for combing ingredients
  • Processes required, such as boiling or baking
  • Suggestions for use
  • Recommended applications

Where Record Type is Usually Found

This record type commonly survives in the following categories of archival collection:

  • Records created by landed families and estates
  • Local studies rare and special collections

Typical formats

Recipe books are found in various formats: bound volumes of single manuscript sheets; bundles of loose manuscript sheets; notebooks containing manuscript entries; printed and published books.


Additional Supporting Material

The following secondary literature provides contextual background and useful further information when trying to understand and use this record type:

  • Anne Stobart, Household Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England (2016)
  • Elaine Leong, Recipes and Everyday Knowledge – Medicine, Science, and the Household in Early Modern England (2018)
  • Michelle DiMeo, Sara Pennell, Reading and Writing Recipe Books, 1550-1800 (2013)

Downloadable list of material

The following PDF contains a list of key recipe books held at HHC.