when apricots were aprecocks

From 1635, A Book of Fruits & Flowers Shewing the Nature and Use of them either for Meat or Medicine.

aprecocksNot only is this e-book via Project Gutenberg of interest for the recipes and concoctions therein, it also provides some insight into the way the English language was spoken and written nearly 400 years ago.

Here are a few ‘translations’ of words appearing on the pictured title page via Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (second revised Centenary edition, 1981 – Cassell Ltd) and a recipe from the book for creating craknels of ‘whatever forme you will’.

caudel / caudle

Any sloppy mess, especially that sweet mixture of gruel and wine or spirits once given by nurses to recently confined women and their “gossips” who called to see the baby in the first month. The word means “something warm” (Lat. calidus)


The old name for the confection of almonds, sugar, etc., that we call marzipan, this being the German form of the original Ital. marzapane, which was adopted in the 19th century in preference to our well-established word because this confection was largely imported from Germany.

serecloath / cerecloth (via wordreference.com)

waxed waterproof cloth of a kind previously used as a shroud

To make Craknels.

Take five or six pints of the finest Wheat flower you can get, to which you must put in a spoonfull (and not above) of good Yest, then mingle it well with Butter, cream, Rose-water, and sugar, finely beaten, and working it well into paste, make it after what forme you will, and bake it.

A book of fruits and flowers

The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Book of Fruits and Flowers, by Anonymous

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