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A Recipe For Medicinal Sweets, Written 600 Years Ago
Recipe found in the back of the medieval mystic's self-history, has been has finally been worked out. (CCSS Level: Grade 10, Words: 215)
Feb 28, 2017 History
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The manuscript, which is the only surviving copy of a book written by a famous medieval mystic named Margery Kemp, thought to be the oldest autobiography by a woman in the English language, has proved controversial since it was rediscovered in the 1930's. It contains, near the end, a recipe.

Though the recipe, written in the final portfolio of the 1438 manuscript, has long been known to scholars, up until now it has proved impossible to read. Dr Angela Clarke, the British Library's resident expert in medieval and early modern manuscripts, put forward the idea of using modern imaging technology to reveal its secrets. Kalas Williams and two colleagues, Professor Eddie Jones and Professor Daniel Wakelin, were then able to work out the ingredients and at first thought that it was a cure for "flux", defined in the Medieval English Dictionary as "a pathological flowing of blood, excretions or discharges from any part of the body, or dysentery".

At first, the recipe was thought to be for a drink to cure the flux, but the thermal imaging revealed it to be "dragges" - herbal sweets used to refresh the palate and cure a range of different ills. The medicine was made from sugar, aniseed, fennel seed, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger - which were luxuries at the time.

Photograph: Board of the British Library, Dr Andrea Clarke and Christina Duffy

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an-i-seed

the sweet-smelling seed of anise


n.八角

au-to-bi-og-ra-phy

a history of a person’s life written or told by that person


n.自传

bi-o-gra-phy

an account of someone's life written by someone else


n.传记

col-league

a person with whom one works


n.同事

con-tro-ver-sial

giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement


adj.有争议

dif-fer-rent

not the same


adj.不同

dis-co-vered

found, uncovered


v.发现    

dys-en-ter-y

illness with diarrhoea


n.痢

fa-mous  

well known


adj.著名

im-pos-si-ble

not able to be done


adj.不可能

in-gre-di-ents

foods that are mixed to make a dish or meal,
parts or pieces used to make something


n.配料

league

placed in order by level or worth


v.盟约

man-u-script

any text not mass-printed


n.手稿

mys-tic

spiritual


adj.神秘

ol-dest

been around for the longest time


adj.最老的

path-o-log-i-cal

dealing with diseases


adj.病理

pro-fes-sor

teacher at a university


n.教授

re-veal

to make known


v.揭示

schol-ar

a specialist in a particular branch of study, especially the humanities


n.学者

tech-no-lo-gy

machinery developed from scientific knowledge


n.技术

thermal

clothing to keep in heat


n.保暖衣

wake

the wave behind a boat caused by the boat moving through the water


n.痕迹