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come in place. In such cases also geliffes of all colours, mixed with a variety in the representation of sundry flowers, herbs, trees, forms of beasts, fish, fowls, and fruits; and thereunto marchpane wrought with no small curiosity, tarts of divers hues and sundry denominations, conserves of old fruits, foreign and home-bred, suckets, codiniacs, marmilades, marchpane, sugarbread, gingerbread, florentines, wild fowl, venison of all sorts, and sundry outlandish confections, altogether seasoned with sugar, (which Pliny calleth Mel ex arundinibus, a device not common nor greatly used in old time at the table, but only in medicine, although it grew in Arabia, India, and Sicilia,) do generally bear the sway, besides infinite devices of our own not possible for me to remember. Of the potatoe and such vencrous roots brought out of Spain, Portingale, and the Indies, to furnish up our banquets, I speak not, wherein our Mures of no- less force, and to be had about Crosby Ravenswath, do now begin to have place. But
among all these, the kind of meat which is obtained with most difficulty and cost, is commonly taken for the most delicate, and thereupon each guest will soonest desire to feed. And as all estates do exceed herein, I mean for strangeness and number of costly dishes, so these forget not to use the like excess in wine, insomuch as there is no kind to be had, (neither any where more store of all
sorts than in England, although we have none growing with us, but yearly to the proportion of 20,000 or 30,000 tun and upwards, notwithstanding the daily restraints of the same, brought over unto us) whereof at great meetings there is not some store to be had. Neither do I mean this of small wines only, as claret, white, red, French, &c. which amount to about fifty-six sorts, according to the number of regions from whence they come: but also of the thirty kinds of Italian, Grecian, Spanish, Canarian, &c. whereof Veruage, Cate pument, Raspis, Muscadell, Romnie, Bastard Tire, Osey, Caprike, Claret, and Malmsey, are not least of all accounted of, because of their strength and valure. For as I have said in meat; so the stronger the wine is, the more it is desired; by means whereof in old time, the best was called Theologicum, because it was had from the clergy and religious men, unto whose houses many of the laity would often send for bottles filled with the same, being sure that they would neither drink nor be served of the worst, or such as was any ways mingled or brewed by the vintner; nay, the merchant would have thought that his soul should have gone straitway to the devil, if he should have served them with other than the best. Furthermore, when these have had their course which nature yieldeth, sundry sorts of artificial stuff, as ypocras and wormwood wine, must in like manner succeed in their
turns; beside stale ale and strong beer, which novertheless bear the greatest brunt in drinking; and are of so many sorts and ages as it pleaseth the brewer to make them.
The artificer and husbandman make greatest account of such meat as they may soonest come by, and have it quickliest ready. Their food also consisteth principally in beef, and such meat as the butcher selleth; that is to say, mutton, veal, lamb, pork, &c, whereof the artificer findeth great store in the markets adjoining; beside souse, brawn, bacon, fruit, pies of fruit, fowls of sundry sorts, cheese, butter, eggs, &c. as the other wanteth it not at home, by his own provision, which is at the best hand, and commonly least charge.
In feasting also, this latter sort do exceed after their manner; especially at bridals, purifications of women, and such like odd meetings, where it is incredible to tell what meat is consumed and sp t, each one bringing such a dish, or so many as his wife and he do consult upon; but always with this consideration, that the lecfer friend shall have the best entertainment. This also is commonly seen at these banquets, that the good man of the house is not charged with any thing, saving bread, drink, house-room, and fire. But the artificers in cities and good towns do deal far otherwise: for als
i leef, willing, liberal.
beit, that some of them do suffer their jaws to go oft before their claws, and divers of them by making good cheer, do hinder themselves and other men; yet the wiser sort can handle the matter well enouglı in these junkettings; and therefore their frugality deserveth commendation. To conclude, both the artificer and the husbandman are sufficiently liberal, and very friendly at their tables; and when they meet, they are so merry without malice, and plain without inward craft and subtlety, that it would do a man good to be in company among them. Herein only are the inferior sort to be blamed, that being thus assembled, their talk is now and then such as savoureth of scurrility and ribaldry, a thing naturally incident to carters and clowns, who think themselves not to be merry and welcome, if their foolish veins in this behalf, be never so little restrained. This is moreover to be added in these assemblies, that if they happen to stumble upon a piece of venison and a cup of wine, or very strong beer or ale, which latter they commonly provide against their appointed days, they think their cheer so great, and themselves to have fared so well as the lord mayor of London, with whom, when their bellies be full, they will often make comparison.
Hitherto of the diet of my countrymen, and somewhat more at large, peradventure, than many men will like of; wherefore, I think good now to finish this chapter; and so will I when I have added a few other things incident unto that which goeth before, whereby the whole process of the same shall fully be delivered, and my promise to my friend in this behalf performed. Heretofore there hath been much more time spent in eating and drinking than commonly is in these days: for whereas of old we had breakfasts in the forenoons, beverages or nuntions after dinner; and thereto rere-suppers generally when it was time to go to rest, (a toy brought in by Hard Canutus,) now these odd repasts, thanked be God, are very well left, and each one in manner (except here and there some •young hungry stomach that cannot fast till dinner-time,) contenteth himself with dinner and supper only. The Normans, disliking the gormandize of Canutus, ordained after their arrival, that no table should be covered above once in the day, which Huntingdon imputeth to their avarice; but in the end, either wexing weary of their own frugality, or suffering the cockle of old custom to overgrow the good corn of their new constitution, they fell to such liberty, that in often feeding, they surmounted Canutus, surnamed the Hardy. For whereas he covered his table but three or four times in the day, they spread their cloths five or six times, and in şuch wise as I before rehearsed. They brought in also the custom of long and stately sitting at meat,