OAK OF JERUSALEM: Chenopodium botrys. (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

OATS, DECOTICATED, 68: decorticated (husked) oats. Ann Cook (1754) described them as ‘half-shelled oats . . . which will give those with a sore throat a great pain’: this as part of her campaign to bring Hannah Glasse’s recipes into disrepute.(Glasse, 1747)

OLIO PODRIDA, 1. The Latin word olla, meaning cooking pot, passed into Spanish unchanged (and into Portuguese as olha), and gave rise to the Spanish term ‘olla podrida’, meaning a spiced stew of various meats and vegetables. In England, changed to olio, this became an accepted culinary term during the 17th century. An olio always had a large range of ingredients, and sometimes a very large range indeed; see May’s Olio Royal, 5, and Olio of Sturgeon, 380, and the remarkable olio given by Nott (1726), which Elizabeth David (1980) termed ‘a real Noah’s Ark mixture’. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

OLIO, oglio: a generic term for a stew, derived from the Spanish olla (podrida), a spiced stew of various meats and vegetables. Note the remarks on olios in The Compleat Cook (pp.92–3): ‘I am utterly against those confused Olios, into which men put almost all kinds of meats and Roots’. (John Evelyn, Cook, C17)

OLIO: From the Spanish olla podrida, a compound dish of meats, sausage, beans, chick peas and so on. The name came from the olla, the pot in which the mixture was cooked. Nott’s olio is a real Noah’s Ark mixture. (John Nott, 1726)

OLIVES/OLINES. The familiar fruit, the olive, appears as a salad ingredient, 158. But May used the word more often in a sense similar to that of the modem ‘beef olives’, referring to a thin slice of meat rolled up round a stuffing; thus olives of veal, 142. Such ‘olives’ could be made into an Olive Pye, 225. The ‘olines’ (olives) of sturgeon, 372, are more unusual.

Olive could also mean a kind of bird, an oystercatcher, as at 216, 261, 460. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

ONIONS, onyons: although the usual form of onion is the one most often referred to, there are also ‘green onions’, presumably spring onions, young onions, or scallions. Receipt 183 talks of using the blades of young onions, as we would use the tops of spring onions. There is also one reference to ‘small green skallions’, and a handful to shallots. It may be significant that three of the four uses of shallot are found in recipes of decidedly French influence. (John Evelyn, Cook, C17)

ONION: ‘a root more generally used in the kitchen than any other: Of this there are two kinds worth the Gardener’s Care; the first is the Spanish Onion, which affords a large sweet-tasted Root; and the other the Strasbourg Onion, which is more biting, and lasts good much longer than the former…’ (New Improvements of Planting and Gardening, part III, 1718, p. 133.) (Richard Bradley, 1736)

ORANGADO, 158: candied orange peel, a familiar ingredient of the time and still current in the 18th century. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

ORANGEADO: Candied orange peel. Also orange syrup. (John Nott, 1726)

ORANGEADO. Candied orange peel. An orangeado pye and orangeado syrup are both referred to, 114.(Glasse, 1747)

ORANGES. Seville (bitter) oranges and Bermudas are both referred to, 152. The former were often mentioned in 17th and 18th century books, the latter rarely. The best passage occurs in The Garden Book of Sir Thomas Hanmer Bart (see under Rohde), as follows. ‘. . . The best kinds wee know here in England are the China Orenge, a sort lately had from Portugall, whither it came not many yeares since from China. This hath the rind soe pleasant and free from bitterness that it may bee eaten as well as the meate which is sweete, and ‘tis the best to preserve whole. The Sevill Orenge, which is of two sorts, sweete and sharpe, and comes from Spain, and the Bermuda Orenge which is brought from the Island soe called in the West Indies, and is the greatest and best, I thinke, of Orenges.’(Glasse, 1747)

ORANGE WHEY, 144. An interesting item, since there seems to be no other contemporary recipe for this beverage. Anne Wilson (1973) remarks that whey became a fashionable drink in the 17th century, when whey- houses were opened for its consumption; and that herb juices were sometimes added to it for home consumption as a healthful drink, especially in the spring.(Glasse, 1747)

ORDINGAL PEPPER, 131, see PEPPER.(Glasse, 1747)

ORGAN: oregano. (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

ORRIS-POWDER, 271. This was prepared from the root of the iris. It gave a fragrant scent, not unlike that of violets, to confections with which it was prepared. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

ORRIS-ROOT: orris, edible iris, Iris florentina. (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

ORRIS ROOT: Orris is the blue iris. The dried powdered root was used to give the scent of violet to sweet confections, syrups and perfumes. Florence orris was the most prized. (John Nott, 1726)

ORT is a word to describe scraps or left-overs, be they for humans or for animals. Ellis is advising his housewife on the true economy of the kitchen. (William Ellis, 1750)

ORTOLAN: a small, delicately flavoured bird, Emberiza hortulana, known in England as the garden bunting and greatly esteemed in France and Italy as a table delicacy. (Richard Bradley, 1736)

ORZAT, ORGEAT: An almond drink. See O 68. (John Nott, 1726)

OSEILLE: sorrel (French). (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

OUTWORKS: Anglicised version of hors d’oeuvre but served as small dishes outside the main part of each service, not at the beginning of the meal as now. LE 41, to farce lettuce, is a good example of such dishes, but the ‘outworks’ could also contain sweet things such as custards and creams. They were left on the table while the main dishes were served. (John Nott, 1726)

OVEN: the ovens in this text are brick or stone, where the fuel is burnt on the oven floor to heat the fabric, the ashes are raked out, the food substituted for the fire, and cooked with a door tight closed. There are many references to the desired heat of the oven: ‘for bread’, ‘for manchet’, ‘for pigeon pye’, and so forth. In Receipt 172 there is a recommendation that the oven should be heated with one faggot only (the usual, but not inevitable fuel), with some directions about the length of time a faggot takes to burn; in another, there is instruction on how to tell the correct temperature of the oven. The ovens were used for much more than just bread, but it was always slightly trial and error to attain the right heat: experience would be the steadiest guide. See Tom Jaine, Building a Wood-fired Oven for Bread and Pizza (1996) for more information. (John Evelyn, Cook, C17)

OVEN LID: Cloche-shaped cover with a flattened top. The lid fitted over pie and cake pans and other fairly shallow dishes and coals would be piled on top and round the sides. It was an excellent method of cooking. Heat from above and below meant that whatever was under the ‘oven lid’ cooked from the top as well as from below; pies, creams, custards and so on would acquire a good brown glaze without the risk of overheating or curdling. The term ‘oven lid’ also sometimes means the door of the brick oven, which was taken down when it was required to bake something which needed to be watched, such as Naples biscuits or sponge fingers, meringues and other delicate confections. (John Nott, 1726)

OVEN PEEL, 440: a broad flat blade of wood or iron, on the end of a pole, which was used for putting loaves of bread in and out of the oven. In this instance, as it had to be red hot, it must have been of the iron kind. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

OVEN PEEL: The long-handled wooden implement with a spade-like head used for loading bread and pies into the oven. There were also peels with iron heads. See E 28, ‘to broil eggs on an oven peel’ for a tricky use of one of the latter. (John Nott, 1726)

OVERTHWART, e g at 344: from side to side, crosswise, transversely. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

OXE-EYS, 216: small hedge-birds, such as the great tit. (Robert May, 1660/1685)

OX PALATE S. Small pieces of the palate (roof of mouth) of an ox were used as garnish.(Glasse, 1747)

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