Marjory Szurko has written an account of the recipes she found, her wonderful recreation of the sweet dishes at events she ran at Oriel College, Oxford, and the history of the recipes.
From Courtly Cuisine from the fourteenth century, through to Country House Confections in the early twentieth century, the reader will discover how to cook these rare sweets and recreate the past.
Illustrated with photographs of the sweets and full descriptions of their unique tastes using the rare spices from the times; this is a book like no other on historical cookery. The authentic recreations of sweet dishes from historical recipes will make your mouth water.
Marjory Szurko studied at the University of Manitoba in Canada, and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. After her degree in English Literature, she qualified as a librarian. I took up the post of Librarian at Oriel College in 2002.
There, she discovered a small recipe book amongst a special collection of books presented by an alumnus of the College called Stephen Furness. The book had been compiled and edited by Stephen and his sister Mary from the recipes of their mother and her guests over the years in their country house in Yorkshire.
The introduction read "We hope that the Recipes may be enjoyable to others but we hope too that they will, if only for a brief moment, bring back memories of days which now appear so golden - of Mother active and astir in the garden whilst we younger people were still getting up, of old friends and young friends seated around her table...so much fun and happiness of which she was the source and centre - these things still come back to us across the years."
Upon reading this, I thought it would be great fun to choose some of the sweet recipes for myself and other members of the College to bake and present as a College event, in order to recreate the kind of atmosphere described in the book. I obtained permission from the Furness family, and held my first 'Edible Exhibition'.