Acetaria. A Discourse on Sallets.
Author: Evelyn, John
Publisher: London: Tooke 1699.
Description: ff, , 192pp,  including errata leaf. Bound in contemporary blindstamped calf re-backed with modern calf spine, modern black/gilt title label to spine, extremities a little worn, modern endpapers, first leaf of dedication bound backwards, leaf M4 in 18th C (?) manuscript, folding table sadly lacking, slight loss to lower corner of three leaves of index (barely affecting text), pages otherwise clean and fresh, a pleasant copy. First edition of this remarkable and renowned discourse on the virtues of the “herby-diet” – a landmark in the history of vegetarianism, also including material on landscape gardening, horticulture, and cooking. “Long dismissed as a virtuoso dabbler in the arts and sciences, Evelyn has now come to be recognized as a scholar and participant in the reception of the new science of the seventeenth century…His enthusiasm for horticulture in particular, both in his own garden at Sayes Court and in his correspondence and publications, translated continental ideas into England and laid the groundwork for the English landscape garden of the eighteenth century” (DNB). Eminently practical and accessible, the present work approaches its subject with the utmost seriousness. Evelyn apparently saw his work on salad simply as an extension of the movement towards Baconian natural histories espoused by contemporary men of science, as well as a celebration of the joys of gardening, noting that even the greatest men have often "chang'd their scepters for the spade, and their purple for the gardiner's apron". Evelyn's botanical command is impressive; he lists no fewer than 73 possible salad ingredients including a number of familiar varieties, and even includes forays into the use of the potato tuber and mushrooms – “rank and provocative excresences” to be boiled for at least an hour "to exhaust the malignity". His culinary sense, however, may not be to the modern taste; the consumption of the small green berries of the potato plant should be treated with suspicion, as should recipes such as “Pudding of Carrot”. John Evelyn (1620 – 1706) was a noted diarist and correspondent, and is viewed as a valuable source of information on many of his scientific contemporaries. He is also celebrated as one of the founding members of the Royal Society, although his ability as a scientist is not widely accepted: “His attitude to knowledge was essentially encyclopaedic rather than taxonomic, connotative rather than denotative” (DNB).
Order No: PIP 141510
This book has been catalogued with the following subject terms: Antiquarian, Cooking, Gardening, Philosophy, 17th Century
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