Heritage recipes from the Warwickshire archives shared as #homecooking is on the rise

With an increasing number of people enjoying cooking at home, Warwickshire County Council’s Heritage and Culture service have begun sharing an interesting selection of heritage recipes from the county’s archives on social media.

From an 18th Century almond cheesecake recipe found in the records of the Wise family, who owned Warwick Priory, to a ‘cucumber catchup’ from the 19th/20th Century attributed to a Mrs Bunny of Baginton, the recipes that will be shared over the next few weeks are just a sample of the vast array of the culinary records in the Warwickshire County Record Office archive.

Others heritage recipes that will be shared include a chocolate fruit fudge, seed cake, taffaty tarts and apple pasties.

The recipes are also available on the ‘Our Warwickshire’ website (www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk), where the Heritage and Culture team have shared their experiences of tackling the recipes (prior to Covid-19) ~ including trying to get to grips with strange quantities like pecks and gills and, in many cases, no quantities whatsoever!

As part of their ‘Heritage Cooking Challenge’, just reading the recipe was the first difficulty with some of the older recipes, with the language and terminology used being markedly different with unfamiliar spellings ~ and some very elaborate handwriting.

The sharing of the heritage recipes on social media follows a positive response to Warwickshire County Council’s sharing of a school lunch recipe every day from Warwickshire-based school caterers, Educaterers.

The first heritage recipe to be deciphered and shared on social media is for a ‘creame with aples’ ~ not dissimilar to an apple and custard tart ~ from the 17th/18th century.

Councillor Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment and Heritage & Culture, said: “While Warwickshire’s museum and archive buildings have been temporarily closed, our Heritage & Culture teams have continued to work behind the scenes and develop virtual activities that residents can enjoy at home.

“These heritage recipes provide a fascinating insight into Warwickshire’s culinary history and demonstrate the range of historical records and information that is preserved in the Warwickshire County Record Office archives and that the public can access on the ‘Our Warwickshire’ website.”

For those wanting to try out the recipes at home, you may find they are a little unusual for modern day tastes. Some of the ingredients may be beyond our modern palettes and you may find it difficult to adapt old-time techniques with today’s cooking tools and equipment.

But, as demonstrated by the Heritage and Culture team, it is an interesting process and gives a fascinating insight into the culinary history of Warwickshire.

The ‘Our Warwickshire’ website contains thousands of archive photos, stories, memories and maps documenting the history, heritage and natural environment of Warwickshire, which have been uploaded by local people, museums and archives.

Follow the ‘Our Warwickshire’ Twitter account @OurWarwickshire and Warwickshire County Council Twitter account @warwickshire_cc and look out for the weekly recipe posts with the hashtags #homecooking and #HeritageRecipe.

Alternatively visit the ‘Our Warwickshire’ website at https://www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk/content/article/heritage-recipes-with-a-warwickshire-twist to read about the ‘Heritage Cooking Challenge’.

Numerous activities that individuals and families can get involved in at home, while Warwickshire’s archives and museum buildings remain temporarily closed, have been developed by staff from Heritage and Culture.

Younger family members can take part in a new Arty Tots from Home every Monday. Join in songs, crafts and games you can play easily at home with your under 5s. Visit http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/arty-tots-at-home/.

On Tuesdays, find out what the Heritage and Culture Warwickshire team are working on from home on their website at http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/workingfromhome/. Every week, a different team member is sharing information on what they are working on while the archives and museums buildings are temporarily closed.

On Wednesdays, ‘Warwickshire Museum in your Home’ brings you a sample of the events they would normally hold in their museums. Find out about the historical artefacts in the museum collections and get crafty with some artistic activity ideas to do at home. Visit http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/warwickshire-museum-in-your-home/.

On Thursdays, you can ‘meet’ the Heritage and Culture Warwickshire team at home! Every week, get to know a Heritage and Culture team member and find out more about their job role, their favourite archive or article, and more fascinating facts! Go to http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/meet-the-hcw-team/.

On Fridays, take part an online ‘Show and Tell’, as curators and archivists from Heritage and Culture share a ‘Tales from the Collection’ talk on YouTube. Explore the Warwickshire museum and archives collections from home by visiting http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/show-and-tell-from-home/.

On Saturdays, explore the stories of ‘Our Warwickshire’ with a digital quiz, where your family can answer questions about heritage, history and the natural environment by delving through the pages of the ‘Our Warwickshire’ website. Go to http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/our-warwickshire-quiz-from-home/.

Finally, on Sundays, it’s the ‘Where in Warwickshire?’ challenge! Follow the clues on social media to a Warwickshire landmark or place, which will be shared on the Warwickshire Archive Twitter account @Chambearlin.