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Big Buttes Book: Annotated Dyets Dry Dinner…

Big Buttes Book: Annotated Dyets Dry Dinner (1599), by Henry Buttes, with… (1599)

by Michelle Enzinas, Henry Buttes (Author)

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I got to page 185 of this and then something happened to the pdf, file where it would not allow me to get back into it.

First off, the pictures of the food are HORRIBLE! They are reminiscent of the off-colour photographs of the recipe books of the seventies, when everything was encase in Jell-o and made one want to gag just looking at them.

Secondly, some of the recipes sound like they might be good but the way they are listed is redundant. For example, each fruit is listed separately, but at least one recipe is the same except for that specific fruit being listed in it. The recipe could have just been listed once with "your choice of fruit" being listed as an ingredient. The same is true in other categories such as nuts (even though a nut is still technically a fruit), and meats.
I DO like that they have the modern interpretation.

Last, but not least, maybe it is just me but what it has pass for table conversation is not entertaining to me at all. I think I will stick to getting my Elizabethan recipes from Claire Ridgway. ( )
  TheCelticSelkie | Apr 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I love that the original recipes were included and not just the modern interpretations! While I can't actually interpret it myself, it's interesting to compare the new recipe and see its roots. The pictures are generally wonderful (although a few are dark/blurry) and the footnotes are informative. It's a unique cookbook good for recreating authentic medieval feasts or researching the era's foods, but probably doesn't have a place in every day cooking. ( )
  maggiewurzer | Feb 7, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
this was a fun book to read... really enjoyed the old cookbook... loved how everything has a "cure" and "ailment"... ( )
  dstawarz | Jan 31, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I like old cookbooks. 16th century recipes are not like modern ones, and need to be interpreted.

In this case, the modern author started with a 1599 book about food, supplemented it with other recipes of the time, and provided her modern interpretations. I didn't always agree with the interpretations, but that's fine because she has included the original, so I can always interpret it myself. The fascinating part of this is the amount of background information that Butte provided for each food.

For me the most interesting part was the herb and vegetable section, and that was hard to read in January, when I can't run out into the garden and try things out. (Butte's ideas of what to do with sorrel are quite similar to mine, so I'm sure I will enjoy trying them in a few months time.)

If this is the kind of thing you enjoy, you will enjoy it very much. If you just want to try a few Elizabethan recipes without caring about the background and theory, it will drive you crazy. ( )
1 vote MarthaJeanne | Jan 31, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pros: photos of many of the recipes, supplementary recipes, footnotes

Cons: some photos are dark or blurry

This is a translation of Dyets Dry Dinner (1599) by Mr. Henry Buttes, with a fair amount of added content by the author, Michelle Enzinas. Enzinas is a historical re-enactor and at the very end of the book gives a short description of the dinner party she threw following Buttes’ dinner plan. The introduction gives information about Buttes and why he wrote the book, the manuscript itself, the breakdown and organization of the recipes, humour theory, etc. Each menu item has 7 pieces of information: choice (how to pick good/ripe ones), use (it’s positive qualities), hurt (it’s negative qualities), preparation and correction (how to eat the item, which is sometimes the only ‘recipe’ given), degree (where it falls with regard to humour theory), season, age and constitution (when to eat the item and who benefits best from it), and finally story for table-talk (etymology, often with some sexual humour, designed to entertain the guests during the feast). At the bottom of most pages are the footnotes, with translation and vocabulary aids. At the back of the book are references, a glossary, and two appendixes, one with foods sorted by humour and degree, and one with supplementary pie crust recipes.

Buttes doesn’t always have many recipes included (or any in a few cases), and some of his ‘recipes’ are really just advice on cooking/preparation methods, rather than something we’d consider a recipe, so the author decided to supplement his recipes with some taken from eleven other cookbooks from the same period. It was a great decision and enhances the book.

I couldn’t find a photography credit, which leads me to believe that the author also did the photography. It was great seeing what a lot of the recipes look like and the photographer had an artistic bent. However, some of the photos are quite dark (like the lemony mutton steaks photo on pg 306), and some are blurry due to camera jiggle and low light conditions. It’s a real shame that this is the case, but on the whole the photographs are helpful.

I loved that there were some comfort food recipes, like warm milk & honey.

As with other historical cookbooks, there were a lot of … unique flavour combinations (note, these might taste great, but sound unusual to modern readers). Buttes also uses interesting categorizations: salt for example is categorized as a sauce, rather than a spice, and the herbs category includes vegetables.

While the author did a great job with the footnotes, giving translations and vocabulary definitions, there were a few instances when Latin was left untranslated (as with the first line of the prayer on pg 41).

I tried the stewed leeks in honey recipe and there are several others I wouldn’t mind attempting when the fruits or vegetables required are in season. On the whole though, the book is more of a historical curiosity than full of recipes I’d want to prepare and eat.

I’ve looked through a few historical cookbooks and thought this one was well put together. There are a good number of recipes included. If you’re interested in what people ate in Elizabethan England, this is a great volume. ( )
  Strider66 | Jan 27, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michelle Enzinasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Buttes, HenryAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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