A cookbook from 1747 containing the first-ever English recipes for curry is set to fetch up to $5,000 at auction.
It calls for rabbit or “fowl” and involves onions, peppercorns, rice, and roasted coriander seeds, but no ginger, garlic or chili peppers.
Another recipe for “pellow” — now called “pilau” — has pickled pork, fowls, cloves, white pepper, onions, rice and is finished with hard-boiled eggs.
The historic culinary gems are found in a recipe book called The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, which was bought in a London china shop 275 years ago.
The recipe for what would become one of Britain’s most popular dishes, called “Currey the India Way,” was written by Hannah Glasse under the pseudonym “A lady.”
At one time the book belonged to former soldier John Le Mesurier (1781-1843), who became the last hereditary governor of Alderney in the Channel Islands.
The recipe is just one of many in a collection that also includes some of the earliest examples of French cooking and even a doctor warning people about the dangers of tea and coffee.
The collection was carefully curated over 40 years by the late Caroline Crisford, who was a passionate collector of top cookbooks.
It offers unique insights into cooking and charts its progression in Europe.
The whole collection, which will be auctioned online by London-based Forum Auctions on Thursday, could fetch up to $100,000.
Another rare gem in the collection is called The French Cook, written by the founding father of French cuisine, François Pierre La Varenne (1615-1678).
He transformed Medieval and Renaissance French cooking into something altogether more exciting.
The pioneering chef bought bisque, bechamel, and mille-feuille to our tables and introduced the use of bouquet garni in cooking for the first time.
The book, written in 1651, is considered to be one of the most influential cookbooks in early French cuisine and was in use right up until the 1789 revolution.
A rare Italian second edition copy of the book is expected to fetch up to $3,600 at auction.
Another highlight of the collection is a rare first edition book by well-known 17th century physician Daniel Duncan, which warned people about the “abuse” of hot drinks such as tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.
The book, called Wholesome Advice Against the Abuse of Hot Liquors, Particularly of Coffee, Chocolate, Tea, Brandy and Strong-Waters, could garner nearly $1,000.
When the beverages first arrived in Britain in the mid-17th century, they caused bafflement among many.
With tea coming from China, coffee from North Africa, and chocolate (initially in liquid form until the 18th century) originating from the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, they were seen as highly exotic by the public and therefore very desirable.
Their arrival and consumption left many medics, such as Duncan, very concerned the new “substances” could be damaging the nation’s health.
He believed the body was comprised of four distinct substances or “humors” that needed to be in balance: blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile.
Their imbalance was thought to threaten well-being and trigger disease, which Duncan believed was instigated by the effects of caffeine and alcohol.
When they arrived in Britain, coffee, tea, chocolate, and brandy were officially classified as drugs rather than food by doctors that saw them as health-inducing.
Recommended dosages were prescribed only by physicians and chemists.
Tea was considered a decongestant while coffee was believed to help stop headaches and make digestion easier.
Chocolate was thought to help with childbirth and to also make people more beautiful, which led women to start drinking chocolate across the country.
Brandy had been introduced in the 16th century and was also first used as a medicine for its antiseptic qualities.
A third cookbook called Le Cuisinier Gascon, which dates from 1740, was written by Louis XIV’s grandson and is expected to fetch up to $2,400.
Louis-Auguste II de Bourbon, Prince de Dombes (1700-1755) was a highly accomplished amateur cook and the book contained many original recipes that were much admired because they were easy to follow yet impressive and delectable.
His culinary skills were most likely to have been developed via small intimate dinner parties held for other members of the aristocracy.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.