The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


From the frontispiece of Hannah Wolley’s The Queen-Like Closet, or Rich Cabinet

Now that we are traveling less, I have been seeing less need to maintain an ebook library – which I was keeping more from laziness than because I prefer the format. So I am trying to decide which books to let go because I have read them (or because I won’t read them) and which books I would like to find a copy to have on hand for reference. This fits in nicely with working on a catalogue of the personal library, which I suppose would save time, if that happened to be a concern.

There are, of course, books it is not convenient to find in person. Hannah Wolley’s The Queen-Like Closet is one such text.1 I don’t quite recall when I read it (or when I read most of it, for I see by my reading lists that I never finished it), but it must have been around the time we left Armenia. I can tell by the recipes I chose to mark out – the instructions for preserving green walnuts, or how to make a marmalade of cornelions – all of which are in some way associated with the time spent there.

The recipes are not the sort that most modern cooks would be comfortable with making, even if they wanted to, and sit cheek by jowl with dubious medicinal concoctions and household miscellanies – pickled purslane, stretched sheep’s guts, and sweetmeats in cream, all in a row. The recipes are all so helpful, though, so matter of fact, that the book is a pleasure to read – a curiosity worth remembering.

  1. Although it is in the public domain, and it would doubtless be feasible to find a print-on-demand version, it doesn’t seem suitable, somehow, in that format. Why a free ebook is different, I’m not quite certain, but it is. []


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