Restoring the Royal Household: Royalist Politics and the Commonwealth Recipe Book

Restoring the Royal Household:Royalist Politics and the Commonwealth Recipe Book

Bassnett, Madeline

Early English Studies, vol. 2 (2008)


Food discourse was a polemical tool used by both royalists and republicans during the English civil war. In the 1650s, however, it was the royalists who revived and claimed the recipe book—an important genre of food writing—for themselves. While The Queens Closet Opened (1655) has been previously established as royalist, this paper suggests that Commonwealth recipe books as a whole aligned themselves with the longing for royal restoration. Not only were these books overwhelmingly connected to royalty or aristocracy, but they also consistently recalled royalist networks, court practices, and the cabinet discourse associated with The Kings Cabinet Opened and Charles I’s Eikon Basilike. Popular and affordable, recipe books helped to sustain royalist visibility under the Protectorate while linking good domestic management to the return of the Stuart monarchy to the head of the national household.

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