Female and Male Voices in Early Modern England: An Anthology of Renaissance Writing

By Betty S. Travitsky; Anne Lake Prescott | Go to book overview

9
Elizabeth Talbot Grey,
countess of Kent (1581–1651)
Hugh Platt (1552–c. 1611)

Elizabeth Talbot Grey, Countess of Kent, Compiles Recipes

The compilation of cooking recipes and medical “receipts” (remedies) commonly ascribed to Elizabeth Talbot Grey, countess of Kent (1581–1651), first appeared in print after her death. While her authorship has been questioned, we note that the countess, a granddaughter of Bess of Hardwick, came from a family boasting a number of women authors, including two women excerpted in this volume, Elizabeth Egerton and Margaret Cavendish. Reprinted sixteen times by 1683, A True Gentlewoman's Delight Wherein Is Contained All Manner of Cookery and A Choice Manual of Rare and Select Secrets in Physic and Surgery were printed together, with separate title pages, from the first edition (1653). Noblewomen had traditionally assumed responsibility for providing health care to their many dependents and for managing household affairs on often huge estates. The diary (1599–1605) of Lady Margaret Dakins Hoby (1571–1633) is filled with accounts of the well-intended but sometimes horrifying medical attention she bestowed on those in her neighborhood. Such women often kept manuscript collections of recipes and remedies; a portion of the copious papers of Lady Grace Mildmay (1552–1620) was published in 1993 under the title With Faith and Physic. Below are some excerpts from the 1653 edition of Grey's collection.

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