Academic Journal of Modern Philology vol. 5 (2016)
University of Social Sciences, Warsaw
On the Development of the English Culinary Recipe
The earliest culinary recipes found in England were written in Anglo-Norman and they date back to the end of the 13th century (cf. Hieatt & Jones 1986). The first English instructions were mostly translated from these. It is the 14th and 15th centuries when the text type was thriving. Scully (1995: 5) calls the period “a hey-day for medieval cookery,” due to the greater availability of the culinary texts comparing to the earlier times. Thus, a discussion of the evolution of the English recipe should start from the 14th century. The majority of the available studies deal with the particular features of the culinary instruction, as for instance Culy (1996) who discusses the use of null objects.
The main focus of the present paper is to provide a brief comparison of some selected features of the culinary recipes at different stages of their development. The discussion will proceed from the earliest available English culinary material, i.e., the medieval recipe, through the early Modern English texts to the contemporary cooking instructions. The issues which will be taken into consideration are: (i) the general structure of the recipe, especially the components found in the earliest texts, i.e., the heading and the procedure; (ii) the function of the recipe in the particular periods; and (iii) the intended audience for whom the recipes were written down.
Keywords: culinary recipe, structure, function, audience.