4 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Dutch navy, which in the 16th century was becoming a formidable force, issued to each sailor a weekly ration of half a pound of cheese, half a pound of butter, and a five-pound loaf of bread.

Historian Simon Schama calculated that a Dutch ship with a crew of 100 in 1636 would need among their provisions 450 pounds of cheese and one and a quarter tons of butter.

For more information about the economics of cows and dairy in general, I recommend: https://www.atlasobscura.com/arti…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thomas Tryon was a 17th century vegetarian and "how to" book author.

"Butter affords good Nourishment; the best that is for the Stomach, is made from May to August it's very wholsom, if eaten moderately with Bread or with Herbs, Roots, or the like. Take good Butter and melt it thick, and put it to your H•rbs, as you do Oil, and it eats as well and pleasant, and can scarce be di∣stinguish'd from Oil: This (I believe) a great many may have cause to thank me for: All Butter ought to be well seasoned with Salt." -- Thomas Tryon (1634-1703) – in his “The Way to Live for Two-pence a Day”


For other foods and recipes, play around on this site.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Butter was kept in barrels -- how big were the barrels? I suspect families had smaller barrels, and institutions like palaces had larger ones.

"Some of the commonest archaeological finds in Ireland are barrels of ancient butter, buried in the bogs. The Norsemen, the Finns, the Icelanders, and the Scots had done the same: they flavored butter heavily with garlic, knuckled it into a wooden firkin, and buried it for years in the bogs -‑ for so long that people were known to plant trees to mark the butter's burial site. The longer it was left, the more delicious it became. A further advantage was doubtless the safety of supplies from robbers, or enemies in wartime. Most of the Irish archaeological specimens date from the 17th and early 18th centuries. Although some of our sources imply that bog butter turned red, the firkins in the Irish National Museum contain "a grayish cheese‑like substance, partially hardened, not much like butter, and quite free from putrefaction" because of the cool, antiseptic, anaerobic, and acidic properties of peat bogs.

"John Houghton, an Englishman, writing on dairying in 1695, speaks of the Irish as rotting their butter by burying it in bogs. This burying of butter in the peat bogs of Ireland may have been for the purpose of storing against a time of need, to hid it from invaders, or to ripen it for the purpose of developing flavor in a manner similar to cheese ripening.

"Archeologists found a deposit of butter buried in peat bogs found wrapped in a skin in County Leitrim, and another packed in a tub with perforated wooden handles in County Tyrone, Ireland. It is believed possible that the practice of burying butter in Ireland ceased about the end of the 18th century and that many of the specimens which have been found are of far greater antiquity (11th to 14th century). The large number of specimens found, some of which weighed over 100 lbs, suggests that the burying of butter must have been a widespread practice in Ireland. Similar deposits of buried butter were also discovered in Finland."

For more about every aspect of butter see

"Across the Atlantic, butter consumption started with the pilgrims, who packed several barrels for their journey on the Mayflower."

Butter became so important to the Irish economy that they opened a Butter Exchange in the 1800s.

From http://www.butterjournal.com/butt…
Sadly, no source information

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

How big were the barrels of butter?

Every kilderkin of butter shall contain 112 lbs., and every firkin 56 lbs. neat, or above; every pound containing 16 oz., besides the tare of the cask, of good and merchantable butter. -- A New and Complete Law-dictionary. T. Cunningham, 1764.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.




  • Aug