Florentine Rice (17th c.)

Recipe for Florentine rice from a 17th c. book on domestic cookery | See full image and item metadata

This recipe for Florentine rice calls for imported ingredients like rice, mace, cinnamon, sack wine, and sugar as well as locally-produced staples like water, milk, butter, cream, and eggs. In the early modern era, European makers obtained these ingredients via an elaborate, millennia-old network of intercontinental land and sea routes largely monopolized by powerful non-European empires. Europeans craved cinnamon particularly for its unique strength and depth of flavor and properties as a natural painkiller and paid exorbitantly to obtain small amounts of the spice, traded along these same highly-controlled land and sea routes.

These ingredients' matter-of-fact inclusion in this 17th century recipe testifies to the Mughal, Ottoman, and Chinese empires' sustained sphere of historical influence over European diets and markets, and drives home that even staple foods that could be cultivated in Europe depended on uninterrupted access to Asian, Middle Eastern, and Austronesian foodways.

For an expanded historical study of cinnamon, see Rohitha Dasanayaka, "Cinnamon: A Spice of an Indigenous Origin—Historical Study" in Akayana (July-December 2019). For more on the evolution of the market for rice in Europe, see Daniel C. Littlefield, Rice in the Atlantic World, Oxford Bibliographies (2017).

Boyle a pd of Rice fien in wattor then In Milk till well boyld. Take it of and stir into itt halfe a pd of buttor when tis cold mix into itt halfe a pd of Sugar a little mace and Cinam{?] add a glass of Sack a Little Sack A pints of Creams half a pound of Candied Sweetmeats. Shred halfe a pound of Currants Eight Eggs, Mix it all together put it in a Dish and Cover it with puff paste and Bake it. The Same for an Almonde Florentine only beat out the rice and butter, And make it with a pd of Almonds Blanched and beat very fine in Stone Motor With Orange flower water add Some Marrow and Cover it with paist Royall. 
Boil a pound of rice finely in water, then in milk until well-boiled. Take it off and stir into it half a pound of butter. When it is cold, mix into it half a pound of sugar, a little mace and cinnamon[?]. Add a glass of sack, a little sack, a pint of cream, half a pound of candied sweetmeats. Shred half a pound of currants, eight eggs, mix it all together, put it in a dish and cover it with puff pastry and bake it. The same for an almond florentine, only beat out the rice and butter, and make it with a pound of blanched almonds and beat very fine in stone mortar with orange, flour, water. Add some marrow and cover it with pastry royal.