To the Right Honourable my Lord Montague, My Lord Lumley, and my Lord Dormer; and to the Right worshipful Sir Kenelme Digby, so well known to this Nation for their Admired Hospitalities. Right Honourable, and Right Worshipful,
HE is an Alien, a meer Stranger in England, that hath not been acquainted with your generous House-keepings; for my own part my more particular tyes of service to you my Honoured Lords, have built me up to the height of this Experience, for which this Book now at last dares appear to the World; those times which I tended upon your Honours were those Golden Days of Peace and Hospitality when you enjoyed your own, so as to entertain and releive others.
Right Honourable, and Right Worshipful, I have not only been an eye-witness, but interested by my attendance; so as that I may justly acknowledge those Triumphs and magnificent Trophies of Cookery that have adorned your Tables; nor can I but confess to the world, except I should be Guilty of the highest Ingratitude, that the only structure of this my Art and knowledge, I owed to your costs, generous and inimitable Epences; thus not only I have derived my experience, but your Country hath reapt the Plenty of your Humanity and charitable Bounties.
Right Honourable, and Right Worshipful, Hospitality which was once a Relique of the Gentry, and a known Cognizance to all ancient Houses, hath lost her Title through the unhappy and Cruel Disturbances of these Times, she is now reposing of her lately so alarmed Head on your beds of Honour: In the mean space that our English World may know the Mecæna’s and Patrons of this Generous Art, I have exposed this Volume to the Publick, under the Tuition of your Names; at whose Feet I prostrate these Endeavours, and shall for ever remain
Your most humbledevoted Servant.ROBERT MAY.
From Soleby inLeicestershire,September 29. 1684.
To the Master Cooks, and to such young Practitioners of the Art of Cookery, to whom this Book may be useful.
TO you first, most worthy Artists, I acknowledg one of the chief Motives that made me to adventure this Volume to your Censures, hath been to testifie my gratitude to your experienced Society; nor could I omit to direct it to you, as it hath been my ambition, that you should be sensible of my Proficiency of Endeavours in this Art. To all honest well intending Men of our Profession, or others, this Book cannot but be acceptable, as it plainly and profitably discovers the Mystery of the whole Art; for which, though I may be envied by some that only value their private Interests above Posterity, and the publick good, yet God and my own Conscience would not permit me to bury these my Experiences with my Silver Hairs in the Grave: and that more especially, as the advantages of my Education hath raised me above the Ambitions of others, in the converse I have had with other Nations, who in this Art fall short of what I have known experimented by you my worthy Country men. Howsoever, the French by their Insinuations, not without enough of Ignorance, have bewitcht some of the Gallants of our Nation with Epigram Dishes, smoakt rather than drest, so strangely to captivate the Gusto, their Mushroom’d Experiences for Sauce rather than Diet, for the generality howsoever called A-la-mode, not worthy of being taken notice on....