May.   Robert     - An important 17th century cookery book
THe Accomplisht Cook,
OR THE Art and Mystery OF COOKERY Wherein the whole ART is revealed in a more easie and perfect Method, than hath been publisht in any language. Expert and ready Ways for the Dressing of all sorts of FLESH, FOWL, and FISH, with variety of SAUCES proper for each of them; and how to raise all manner of Pastes; the best Directions for all sorts of Kickshaws, also the Terms of CARVING and SEWING. An exact of all Dishes for all Seasons of the Year, with other Al-a-Mode Curiosities. The Fourth Edition, with large Additions throughout the whole work: besides two hundred Figures of several Forms for all manner of bak'd Meats, (either Flesh or Fish) as Pyes, Tarts, Custards, Cheesecakes and Florentines, placed in Tables, and directed to the Pages yhey pertain to. Approved by the Fifty Five years Experience and Industry of ROBERT MAY, in his Attendance of several parsons of great Honour. London, Printed for Obadiah Blagrave at the Bear in St. Pauls Church-Yard, near the Little North Door. 1678.
8vo. 1fep. [1] Frontispiece. Title page with single line border. 2pp. The Epistle Dedicatory. 4pp. The Preface. 3pp. Authors Life. 5pp. Triumphs and Trophies. 8pp. Of Carving and Sewing. 6pp. Bills of Fare. 1-461. 10pp. The Table. 1p. Books Printed. 1fep. The four plates are present; 2 have been expertly repaired without loss but with some browning at the folds. Internally very clean with numerous woodcut illustrations in the text. Contemporary full dark brown calf boards with nice patina. Sometime very sympathetically re-backed spine with raised bands, blind tooling and gilt lettering. A very nice copy and extremely scarce in the complete state.
- Other Editions are; 1660 (1st) 1665 (2nd) 1671 (3rd) of which there are 2 imprints. 1678 (3rd & 4th) 1685 (5th) As a Frontis there is a portrait of May with 'AEatis Suae 71, 1660' in the background and beneath are the lines "What! wouldst thou view but in one face -- all hospitalitie the race -- of those for the Gusto stand, -- whose tables a whole Ark comand -- of Nature's plentie, wouldst thou see -- this sight, peruse May's booke, tis hee. -- Ja. Parry. For Nathaniell Brooke, at the Angell in Cornhill: There are two poems at the beginning in May's honour, and a story of his life which mentions that he was the son of a cook and he was trained in France. This training accounts for his giving nine recipes for preparing snails and one for baking Frogs. In the Preface May says that "God and my own conscience would not permit me to bury these my experiences in the Grave" and that 'The Queens Closet Opened' was the only book comparable to his own. May's "Accomplisht Cook' is one of the great 17th century cookery books and one of the cornerstones of a good comprehensive cookery book collection. It is the record of a professional cook of that time. It is a well laid out book covering all aspects of the contemporary kitchen. In some editions there are two very large plates which unfold. This edition (and most others I have seen) has the two large plates separated into four. The great Stuart Classic.

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Antiquarian category
ref number: 10965