Global Recipes in the Early Modern World: Ingredients, Actors, Exotica

Global Recipes in the Early Modern World: Ingredients, Actors, Exotica

Lavinia Gambini, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge; Lucy Havard, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
United Kingdom
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Vom - Bis
29.05.2024 - 30.05.2024
Lavinia Gambini, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

ECR conference exploring the multiple ‘global dimensions’ of early modern recipe crafting, fashioning, and collecting.

Global Recipes in the Early Modern World: Ingredients, Actors, Exotica

This ECR conference explores the multiple ‘global dimensions’ of early modern recipe crafting, fashioning, and collecting. We will ask how global entanglements, transcultural encounters, and exoticizing fantasies shaped early modern recipe creation.

Early modern recipes were often co-produced by indigenous practitioners and deliberately incorporated exotic ingredients. Some recipes travelled across mercantile and diplomatic routes, while others were fashioned by ‘armchair’ practitioners to reflect the values and ideas of foreign lands. By asking how early modern recipes could be ‘global’, this conference proposes to shed new light on the influence of non-Western scientific knowledge, the roles of ‘forgotten’ actors, and the formation of Western ideas about non-European science and medicine.

For the full programme and registrations:

Contact: – X/Twitter: @GlobalRecipes24 – Bluesky:

The organisers thank the Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM), the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS), the Society for Renaissance Studies (SRS), and the George Macaulay Trevelyan Fund (Faculty of History, Cambridge) for their generous support.


Day 1: Spaces and Sources

9:00-9.30: Introduction and Greetings

Lavinia Gambini (Cambridge) and Lucy Havard (Cambridge)

9:30-11:00: Domestic Spaces
Chair: Mary Laven (Cambridge)

Olin Moctezuma-Burns (Cambridge) – Interwoven Scripts of Healing: Maya and European Textual Traditions in the Yucatec Household

Lucy Havard (Cambridge) – ‘To make Ginger bread’: Exotic Recipes in the Early Modern English Kitchen

11:30-13:00: Substances in the Microcosm
Chair: Joshua Nall (Cambridge)

Antonia Belli (UCL) – Dis-Assembling Recipes in the Giustiniani Medicine Chest

Amelia Hutchinson (Cambridge) – Philipp Hainhofer’s Networks of Medical Knowledge (c.1600-1630)

14:30-17:30: Writing and Transmitting Recipes
Chair: Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin (Cardiff)

Sheryl Wombell (Cambridge) – The Global and the Local in William Cavendish's 'booke of rare minerall receipts', c.1647-54

Chloe Fairbanks (Oxford/Warwick) – ‘Traffic and travel’ in Early Modern Culinary Writing

Leonie Rau (MPIWG Berlin) – Soaps, Salts, and Stains: Collecting Recipes for Stain Removal in the Pre- and Early Modern Arab Mediterranean

Giorgia Maffioli Brigatti (Cambridge) – Poetics and Politics of Perfumery: Ghāliya’s Global Relevance

17:30-18:30: Keynote
Dror Weil (Cambridge) – Moving an Episteme – Some Insights into Cross-cultural Movement of Recipes in Early Modern Eurasia

Respondents: Federica Gigante (Cambridge) and Gastón Javier Basile (I Tatti/MAP)

Day 2: Movements

10:00-12:00: Travelling Substances
Chair: Gastón Javier Basile (Harvard I Tatti/Medici Archive Project)

Serin Quinn (Warwick) – Transferring Tomatoes: Early Modern Spanish Recipes and the Incorporation of Indigenous American Knowledge and Practices

Gianamar Giovannetti-Singh (Cambridge) – Ginseng or Kanna? Cross-Contextualising Archives, Naturalising the Globe, and Globalising Natures

Francesca Richards (Kent) – The Transfer, Transformation, and Incorporation of Mediterranean Coral in early modern English Recipes

13:30-15:30: Travelling Recipes
Chair: Philippa Carter (Cambridge)

Bethan Davies (Roehampton) – Syrups, Salves, and Ships: A Domestic and Global Recipe

Barbara Di Gennaro Splendore (ISI, Florence/Bologna) – Recipes of Theriac as a Domestication Technology

Fikri Cicek (Minnesota) – Potable Gold for a Shared Disease: Transferring Chemical Medical Recipes from Renaissance Europe to the Ottoman Empire (on Zoom)

15:30-16:30: Final Remarks

Lucy Havard (Cambridge), Lavinia Gambini (Cambridge), Gastón Javier Basile (I Tatti/MAP)

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