Author: jenshermanroberts

“Stone Soup”: Reflections on Community Conversations

Editorial: This is the final of a series of reflection posts from Recipe Project contributors and editors. By Jennifer Sherman Roberts Recipes form communities. Readers of The Recipes Project know this to be true. Scholars from diverse backgrounds meet in this forum to exchange ideas, thoughts, insights, experiments, and discoveries, brought together…

Mucus Cure-Alls: Snail Waters and Spa Treatments

By Jennifer Sherman Roberts In a world view that relied on correspondences between macrocosm and microcosm, and in a humoral medical system that utilized similarities between bodily functions and features of the natural world, one can imagine no more fitting emblem than the cold, mucousy snail. This slimy and gooey…

Stone Soup: A new project about recipes and community

By Jennifer Sherman Roberts There’s a beautiful moment in Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Gate A-4” in which travelers from all over the world come together—despite differences in language, experience, and culture–to commune over apple juice and cookies after helping a fellow passenger: She had pulled a sack of homemade   …

A Stitch in Thyme?: Why Are There So Few Knitting Patterns in Recipe Books?

by Jennifer Sherman Roberts When I first began researching early modern recipe books, I was struck by how they upended my expectations of the genre. Some of the recipes seemed to me, quite frankly, weird: the making of puppy water, the application of dung to a wound, the addition of…

Scratching “The Itch Infalable”: Johanna St. John’s Anti-Itch Cure

By Jennifer Sherman Roberts Physical or metaphorical, itches are funny things. Physical itches, as Atul Gawande points out, may well have been a response that evolved to alert us to insects and poisonous toxins. Previously thought to be triggered by … Continue reading →

Scratching “The Itch Infalable”: Johanna St. John’s Anti-Itch Cure

By Jennifer Sherman Roberts Physical or metaphorical, itches are funny things. Physical itches, as Atul Gawande points out, may well have been a response that evolved to alert us to insects and poisonous toxins. Previously thought to be triggered by … Continue reading →

Pigeon Blood Visine?: An Early Modern Eye Wash

By Jennifer Sherman Roberts Close your eyes and imagine a chicken. Now a duck. Now a turkey. Now a pigeon. If this little experiment has worked the way I envisioned, when you thought of a pigeon you didn’t just think … Continue reading →

Little Shop of Horrors, Early Modern Style

By Jennifer Sherman Roberts I like pretty words. Old, pretty words. The problem with old, pretty words is that they can be awfully deceptive. While (electronically) flipping through the recipe book of a Mrs. Corlyon from 1606 (Wellcome MS. 213), … Continue reading →