Tuesday 13 November 1660

Early going to my Lord’s I met with Mr. Moore, who was going to my house, and indeed I found him to be a most careful, painful,1 and able man in business, and took him by water to the Wardrobe, and shewed him all the house; and indeed there is a great deal of room in it, but very ugly till my Lord hath bestowed great cost upon it.

So to the Exchequer, and there took Spicer and his fellow clerks to the Dog tavern, and did give them a peck of oysters, and so home to dinner, where I found my wife making of pies and tarts to try her oven with, which she has never yet done, but not knowing the nature of it, did heat it too hot, and so a little overbake her things, but knows how to do better another time.

At home all the afternoon. At night made up my accounts of my sea expenses in order to my clearing off my imprest bill of 30l. which I had in my hands at the beginning of my voyage; which I intend to shew to my Lord to-morrow. To bed.

11 Annotations

First Reading

john lauer  •  Link

There were no oven thermometers yet;
in fact no thermometers, for another 50+ years. [infoplease.com]

vincent  •  Link

Q. was the Oven in house or in the back yard?

Mary  •  Link

the oven

See notes to entry for 19th July, when there was discussion of Elizabeth's new range. An oven would have formed part of the range, which was most probably located in the kitchen.

Even today, with in-built thermostats and regulators, it takes a little while to get used to a new oven. Imagine how much more difficult when it was the state of the fire itself that had to be geared to the goods that were to be cooked. All other considerations apart, different fuels burn at different temperatures, as do different grades of coal.

Mary  •  Link

a peck of oysters

A peck is a unit of dry measure by volume, generally equivalent to 2 Imperial gallons or 9.1 litres. 4 pecks= 1 bushel

Carolina  •  Link

The way Sam talks about his wife, he seems to treat her more like a daughter than a wife. The more I read the more I think of him as an indulgent father to her.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

How did people back then judge the temperature of ovens back then? Was it simply measuring how much fuel to add to the fire?

Mary  •  Link

Judging oven temperature.

The state of the fire itself, and the extent to which it had been stoked or damped down, would have given one rough measure. A simple test (for example, using a piece of bread to show how quickly it toasted in the oven) would have given a little further guidance, but folk must have relied largely on experience.

Second Reading

Edith Lank  •  Link

When I was first married, we had a gas oven with no thermostat, and some cook books in those days talked about opening the oven door and judging by how many seconds you could hold your hand in there. Lamentably subjective of course.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

My grandmother had a coal stove. She said she could judge the approximate temperature by opening the oven door and feeling the heat on her face. She baked many loaves of bread and meals for a large family so she must have known what she was doing. I think one can learn to judge approximate temperatures the way my grandmother did with enough experience--and enough burnt meals.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

A. Of money: Lent, or paid in advance, advanced, esp. to soldiers, sailors, and public officials. Obs.
. . 1658 E. Phillips New World Eng. Words, Imprest Money, is money paid to Souldiers before hand.
1690 London Gaz. No. 2580/4, Some Seamen..having received Imprest Money or Wages..have Absconded.

. . B. n.1 . . c. Auditor of the Imprest (see quot. 1670). bill of imprest, an order authorizing a person to draw money in advance: cf. imprest-bill n. at Compounds.
1665 S. Pepys Diary 13 Dec. (1972) VI. 327, I did get a bill of imprest to Captain Cocke, to pay myselfe in part.
. . 1666 S. Pepys Diary 17 Oct. (1972) VII. 328 The clearing all my imprest bills . . ‘

‘Painful . . 4. b. Of a person: painstaking, assiduous, diligent. Now rare.
. . 1612 J. Smith Map of Virginia 22 The women be verie painefull and the men often idle.
. . 1741 T. C. Pagett Misc. Prose & Verse 359 The painful Student, spends his sleepless Nights, And fancies he's Immortal, if he writes . . ‘

‘Peck Etymology: Probably < Anglo-Norman pek, pec, pekke, pekk unit of capacity for dry goods (c1240), of uncertain origin . .
. . 2. a. A unit of capacity for dry goods equal to a quarter of a bushel, now equivalent (in Britain) to two imperial gallons (approx. 9.09 litres) or (in the U.S.) to eight quarts (approx. 8.81 litres) . .
c1405 (▸c1390) Chaucer Reeve's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 90 The Millere sholde noght stelen hem half a pekke Of corn by sleighte.
. . 1708 E. Arwaker Truth in Fiction iii. xx. 220 A Friend..Ask'd his old Neighbour how the Market went; What Rate a Peck of Wheat, or Rye, did bear?
1725 R. Bradley Chomel's Dictionaire Œconomique at Gallon, In Liquids two Pottles..make one Gallon..But in dry Measure, two Gallons, which is six Pottles, make one Peck . . ‘

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