NAILS (of roses): the white junction of petal and flower. (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

NAPLES BISCUIT: a biscuit similar to a macaroon, but made with ground pine nut kernels rather than ground almonds. (Richard Bradley, 1736)

NAPLES BISKETS: Naples biscuits, sponge fingers. In Receipt 162, the compiler refers to ‘a role of napell bisket’ cut in thin slices. This may imply that ‘Naples biscuit’ sometimes described the sponge mixture, made into whatever shape was most convenient, rather than the fingers themselves as we now buy or make. Although A Queens Delight suggests that Naples biscuit is the same as macaroon mixture, with the addition of pineapple seeds, there is a recipe in John Nott that may fairly be said to represent the norm: ‘take a Pound and half of fine Flour, and as much double-refin’d Sugar, twelve Eggs, three Spoonfuls of Rose-water, and an Ounce and half of Carraway-seeds finely pownded, mix them all well together with Water; then put them into Tin-plates, and bake them in a moderate Oven, dissolve some Sugar in Water, and glaze them over.’ See also Receipts 244 and 332 for Evelyn’s own recipes. As support for the view of A Queens Delight, however, note the recommendation of Receipt 40, reiterated in Receipt 41, that the cook should ‘grate in two or three maqueroons or Naples biscuits without seeds’ when preparing a pudding of entrails. (John Evelyn, Cook, C17)

NAPLES BISKETS: The original sponge fingers, lady fingers. Sometimes also a small macaroon made with pine nuts. (John Nott, 1726)

NAPLES BISKETS. ‘The original sponge fingers, lady fingers. Sometimes also a small macaroon made with pine nuts.’ (Elizabeth David in Nott, 1980 reprint)(Glasse, 1747)

NAPLES-BISKETS are the original of sponge-fingers, sometimes also a small macaroon made with pine-nuts (E. David, glossing Nott, Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, 1726). (William Ellis, 1750)

NASTURTIUMS: Both leaves and flowers went into salads. The buds were pickled to resemble capers. (John Nott, 1726)

NASTURTIUM BUDS. These occur with remarkable frequency in 17th and 18th century cookery books. Both flower buds and young seed cases were pickled. Like Eliza Smith (1727), Hannah Glasse has ‘Buds’ in the title of her recipe but then calls for seeds in the instructions. Eliza Smith says: ‘gather your little knobs quickly after your blossoms are off.’ The purpose of this pickling was to provide a cheap substitute for capers.(Glasse, 1747)

NAVETS: turnips (French). (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

NEAT, now an archaic term for the domestic ox or cow. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

NEAT: ox. (John Evelyn, Cook, C17)

NEAT: Ox. Hence neat’s foot, tongue etc. (John Nott, 1726)

NEAT’S TONGUE: an ox-tongue. Bradley gives a recipe for potting neats-tongues in the north of England in The Gentleman and Farmer’s Guide, 1729, p. 181. (Richard Bradley, 1736)

NEATS TONGUES, ox tongues.(Glasse, 1747)

NECROMANCER. This unusual device, described by Hannah Glasse under ‘A Neck of Mutton, call’d, The hasty Dish’, 51, and apparently also used without being named in the curious note at the top of 21, presents a mystery which has been explored by Jennifer Stead (1983, Part I, 22-3). She concludes, inter alia, that the Hasty Dish was ‘an infamous example of a rogue recipe’ that crept into Hannah Glasse’s book; that it was rightly ridiculed by Ann Cook; and that the antecedents of the puzzling procedure can be traced back beyond the John Rich to whom Hannah Glasse gives credit for its invention, to Richard Bradley. It is interesting to compare what is said about the Necromancer with the measured judgment of Eliza Acton (drawn to our attention by Elizabeth David and here reproduced) on what appears to be its descendant, the Conjuror.(Glasse, 1747)

NECTARINES. The varieties listed, 165, are Primodial (July) and Muroy, Tawny, Red Roman, little Green Cluster and Yellow (August). Parkinson (t629) had listed Red Roman and Yellow, and the former was still prominent in the USA at the end of the 19th century. But new and larger varieties of this fruit have now ousted the old ones.(Glasse, 1747)

NEPE, 455: probably the same as nep, meaning catmint. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

NITRE: potassium nitrate, also known as saltpetre. (Richard Bradley, 1736)

NODDY PUDDING: Noddy probably meant shaking, quaking. See P242. A charming receipt. (John Nott, 1726)

NUTMEGS TO CANDY: The nutmeg we know is the inner kernel of an oval fruit about the size of a peach. In Malaysia the inner wall of the fruit is preserved as a sweetmeat. According to Burkill this nutmeg fruit candied or preserved in syrup was once exported to Europe in quantity, in the same way as ginger. This explains the occasional receipt to be found in English cookery books of the 17th century for candied nutmegs. Confectioners and cooks were attempting to reproduce the imported sweetmeat at home. If they were using nutmegs as we know them it is hard to imagine that the process would have worked or the nutmegs been edible, so some form of dried nutmeg fruit must have been imported. (John Nott, 1726)

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