Evelyn.   John     - The first book about Salads
A DISCOURSE OF SALLETS. By J.E. S.R.S. Author of the Kalendarium. [A quotation in Greek from the Greek dramatist, Cratinus] 'It is in every man's power to season well' LONDON, Printed for B. Tooke at the Middle-Temple Gate in Fleetstreet, 1699.
FIRST EDITION. 1fep. Title Page with double lined border. 20pp.Dedication. 10pp.Preface 6pp.The Plan of a Royal Garden. 1-192. 2pp. 2 Folding Tables between 108-109. The table facing p108 has been neatly repaired on the fold. 35pp.Appendix. 13pp.Table. 1pp.Errata. [1] 1fep. All pages uniformly browned as is usual with this paper. Title page and first page of the dedication backed with clear page tape without visual loss of text. Very nice early full mottled calf binding, raised bands with gilt lines, dark orange label with gilt lettering. With a nice aged patina. Very scarce to rare.
- John Evelyn (1620-1706) was a prolific writer and translator, touching on politics, manners, and religion as well as the more practical arts of architecture, painting and engraving, sculpture, numismatics, and perhaps what he is best known for (besides his diary) gardening and forestry. His most important original contributions are perhaps 'Sylva' which he composed at the behest of the Royal Society in 1664. Acetaria is but a chapter in 'Sylva' subtitled 'A Discourse of Sallets'. Part of Evelyn's literary knowledge of the garden were his translations of the French horticultural manual by Nicolas de Bonnefons and the garden poem (in Latin) by Renatus Rapinaus. Acetaria is certainly full of observations of how the English ways, either in the garden or at table, differed from French, Italian and Spanish - with occasional reference to India, Germany, Holland, Africa and America for good measure. The text also underscores the relative novelty of some aspects of the art of kitchen-gardening in England: we had much to learn by way of cultural techniques from the Dutch and the French, as well as plants that were of recent introduction, for example the Dutch cabbages brought over by Sir Anthony Ashley. His recipes for dressing salads is knowledgeable and interestingly not changed much in UK and Europe. Quite what Evelyn in his time, would have made of the myriad concoctions assembled to dress salads in America, and particularly in health obsessed California, one wonders. Due to the relative preparation of salads, where cooking is at a minimum, this book is quite ageless compared to other cookery books that mirror changing times.

click on image to enlarge

Antiquarian category
ref number: 10946