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Early modern life

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Love-in-idleness, Part One: Adapting an early modern recipe for heartsease cordial
purple pansy floating in pink cocktail
Shakespeare and Beyond

Love-in-idleness, Part One: Adapting an early modern recipe for heartsease cordial

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Author
Marissa Nicosia

Marissa Nicosia adapts an early modern recipe for heartsease cordial. This purple pansy syrup was used to “clear the heart” – to treat the chest and lungs or to reduce fever – but also for healing heartaches.

Glimpses of women athletes in 18th-century England
Shakespeare and Beyond

Glimpses of women athletes in 18th-century England

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Author
Peter Radford

A Folger fellow and former Olympian shares images and stories of 18th-century women athletes in England who competed in races, fights, cricket matches, and more.

Eating plants in the early modern world
Shakespeare and Beyond

Eating plants in the early modern world

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Author
Julia Fine

Explore turmeric, cinnamon, mint, and sugar to learn more about plants as food, and what they reveal about the early modern age and today.

Richard III: My kingdom for a horse
Shakespeare and Beyond

Richard III: My kingdom for a horse

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Author
Shakespeare & Beyond

“My kingdom for a horse!” A titanic villain in Shakespeare’s history plays, Richard III departs the stage and this life at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Mark the battle’s anniversary with these posts and podcast episodes.

A closer look at pregnancy, midwifery, and breastfeeding in the Tudor period
The expert midwife
Shakespeare and Beyond

A closer look at pregnancy, midwifery, and breastfeeding in the Tudor period

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Author
Shakespeare & Beyond

Jakob Rüff. The expert midwife, 1637. Folger STC 21442 What was everyday life like for women throughout Tudor society? Elizabeth Norton, a historian of the queens of England and the Tudor period, shares stories on the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast…

Recipe: A 17th-century potato pie with marrow and dates
potato pie
Shakespeare and Beyond

Recipe: A 17th-century potato pie with marrow and dates

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Author
Elizabeth DeBold

Sweet potato pies, a beloved staple of North American fall and winter cooking, are baked out of mashed or blended sweet potatoes mixed with condensed milk, eggs, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace, and allspice. Few Americans and…

Early modern sleep care: Recipes for restful sleep
Shakespeare and Beyond

Early modern sleep care: Recipes for restful sleep

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Author
Sasha Handley

Thomas Sheppey devoted several densely written pages of his 17th-century manuscript to the topic of sleep — how to trigger it, how to interrupt it, how to influence its depth and length, and even how to stop people talking in…

The turkey’s journey from the Atlantic to the early modern Islamic world
Shakespeare and Beyond

The turkey’s journey from the Atlantic to the early modern Islamic world

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Author
Neha Vermani

Follow the turkey on its fascinating journey from America to Europe to the Mughal and Ottoman empires, through early modern trade networks.

The early modern precursor to turducken: Adapting an old recipe to make mini pies
Shakespeare and Beyond

The early modern precursor to turducken: Adapting an old recipe to make mini pies

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Author
Michael Walkden

Learn about the early modern precursor to turducken (a huge turkey pie with duck but no chicken) and make your own mini pies using this adapted recipe.

Before the Thanksgiving turkey came the banquet peacock
Shakespeare and Beyond

Before the Thanksgiving turkey came the banquet peacock

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Author
Elisa Tersigni

Lavish dinners—and the cookbooks and instruction manuals for how to execute them—were popular during the Renaissance, and they emphasized the art of food, in addition to—and at times, over—its taste. Peacocks were thus an ideal banquet food because their colorful…

Hating on star-gazing: Early modern astrology and its critics
Shakespeare and Beyond

Hating on star-gazing: Early modern astrology and its critics

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Author
Katherine Walker

Where do you turn for answers to pressing questions? You might glance at a weather forecast, the latest political polls, a book of theology or philosophy—or flip a coin. People living in the early modern period likewise had their ways…

Eggs in moonshine and spinach toasts: Two early modern recipes for a sweet breakfast
Shakespeare and Beyond

Eggs in moonshine and spinach toasts: Two early modern recipes for a sweet breakfast

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Author
Michael Walkden

Even though the combination of eggs and sugar along with butter and flour forms the cornerstone of baking, the idea of poaching eggs in sweet wine, or adding sugar to your scrambled eggs, might seem heretical to many. But this…

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