A Recipe Book For Your Wife

A Recipe Book For Your Wife

The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt. Opened

These days, with all the diet hype and fads, your stomach kind of hurts. Try to pitch this one, “The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt. Opened”

The title says he is eminently learned, and of course, he was knighted. A little background of Sir Digbie is definitely in order. Sir Digbie was a world traveler, a pirate, and multiple other “honorable” professions. So why would he write a recipe book or, to be correct, keep enough notes to have one published after his death in his honor?

In the words of famed Chef, Clarissa Dickson Wright,” Sir Digbie was the first “foodie” he had to, out of an absolute passion for food, always keep notes.” I can add that more than just a foodie, Sir Digbie was a genuine and passionate man of the bottle. With the recipe book being more than a third alcohol recipe, from cider to ale and whiskey, you see a man that understood more than the stupor of drinking alcohol but a genuine appreciation and love for the art.

Digby our first true “foodie,” is considered the father of the modern wine bottle. During the 1630s, Digby owned glassworks and manufactured wine bottles that were globular in shape with a high, tapered neck, a collar, and a punt. His manufacturing technique involved a coal furnace, made hotter than usual by the inclusion of a wind tunnel, and a higher ratio of sand to potash and lime than was customary.

Digby’s technique produced wine bottles that were stronger and more stable than most of their day and which, and due to their translucent green or brown color, protected the contents from light. This preserved the taste, something our knight seems to have been quite particular about.

During his exile and prison term, others claimed his technique as their own, but in 1662 Parliament recognized his claim to the invention as valid. 

Oh, and why was he knighted? Digby was brought up as a Catholic, obviously helpful if going to Spain on a diplomatic mission from Protestant England. In 1617 he accompanied his uncle John Digby (later the first Earl of Bristol) on a diplomatic mission to Spain.

After attending Oxford, mainly under Thomas Allen, mathematician, and astronomer, from 1618 to 1620, he set off on a tour of Europe, France (where he attracted the attention of Marie de Medici), Italy, and Spain. On his return in 1623, Digbie was knighted, for his share, while in Spain, in entertaining Prince Charles and the duke of Buckingham.

So there you have it A genuine salute to Sir Digibie, and a huge thank you for the glass improvements. For further reading, click this link.

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