Cooking in the Archives

It’s high time that we talk about jumballs. We were initially mystified by the moniker, but jumballs are a classic early modern treat: A rich, satisfying, highly-spiced, shortbread cookie. They are the single most delicious thing we’ve cooked from the archives to date.

Even a quick search to define the term revealed the jumball’s long-term popularity, from Gervase Markam’s classic English Housewife (1649) to the iconic Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1888), with examples on many other historical cookery sites like this one. The Oxford English Dictionary generalizes among the range of different spices and methods in these various recipes to define early modern jumballs as a « kind of fine sweet cake or biscuit, formerly often made up in the form of rings or rolls. »

In LJS 165 there are two recipes for jumballs back to back: « To Make Jumballs / My Mother Anges receipt » and « My Lady…

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