The Borlase manuscript is a kind of miscellany. Included are recipes not only for all kinds of foods but also for distilled waters, remedies, dyes, soaps, and perfumes. A housewife of that period was responsible for keeping her family healthy and her house clean and sweet-smelling, and so the manuscript features directions for preparing medicinal "oyles, " waters, "glysters, " powders, "ballsoms, " a "true Majistery, " and a julep, with healing powers for a number of ailments from apoplexy and gout to cance and the plague. David Schoonover's informative introduction places the Borlase manuscript in its historical context with special attention to the economic and social changes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which brought about a new emphasis on housewifery and the management of households. He also provides a summary of the Borlase family history - born in 1621, Alice Bankes, Lady Borlase, died in 1683 at the age of sixty-two - and a description of their home at Bockmer Manor at Medmenham, Buckinghamshire.
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