Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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It refers to foodstuff generally, but in particular a staple like BREAD. 'Eatables' were distinguished from 'drinkables', in a quotation in the OED, dated 1694 under Consumption: 'The Excise, commonly called the Consumption; which is upon Tobacco, Wine, Salt, Grain, etc. and all Eatables and Drinkables brought into any town'. It was not a common term in the Dictionary Archive. In the singular, 'Eatable' was an alternative for 'Edible', as in 'Eatable hiccory' [Tradecards (n.d.)].
By analogy with 'Eating water', which was water fit to drink [Wright (1898-1905)], it was presumably an OIL of an agreeable taste and texture, as opposed to those that are only suitable for lighting and the like. W.H. Simmonds recognizes eating oils as a category, but does not define the term [Simmonds (1906)]. In one advertisement 'Finest Eating Oil' was offered at 18d the PINT, while 'second sweet oils' were priced at 5d to 11d the POUND [Newspapers (1782)], while in another it was listed along with FLORENCE OIL, GALLIPOLI OIL and GENOA OIL (all varieties of OLIVE OIL) and other oils mainly used for other purposes [Tradecards (18c.)]. These two suggest that eating oil may have been a grade of Olive oil, or possibly an oil from another vegetable source like OIL OF ALMONDS or WALNUT oil. It was unlikely to have been applied to RAPE OIL or the various forms of TRAIN OIL, both of which are edible, but unpalatable.
A term found only in one tradecard offering fashionable ware in the late eighteenth century. The one entry of 'Wine, Punch, and Eating Setts' [Tradecards (1794)] lies between 'Tea Setts of different Sizes', which implies CERAMICs and 'Punch Ladles'. This leaves the precise meaning uncertain, but the term could have been applied to ceramics other than TEA SET, or to KNIFE AND FORK and other CUTLERY.
Eau de canelle
Eau de cologne
A PERFUME consisting of alcohol and various ESSENTIAL OILs originally made at COLOGNE by its inventor, Jean Marie Farina. Much was still sold under his name, most of it spurious, in the mid-nineteenth century. Charles Tomlinson gave details of three published recipes, but declared he had 'no faith in any of them'. One at least of them contained ESSENTIAL OILs of CEDRAT and CITRON as well as the OIL of ORANGE FLOWER called NEROLI OIL [Tomlinson (1854)]. This accords with the instructions given by Lloyd's, who suggested it was scented with oils extracted from the flowers and rind or various species of citrus fruits. These should be blended so that 'no individual oil can be detected' [Lloyd (1895)].
Eau de jonquille
Literally WATER of jonquils. It is a toilet water derived from the jonquil, a species of Narcissus which has long linear leaves and spikes of fragrant white and yellow flowers. It has been noted in a list of PERFUMED WATERS [Tradecards (18c.)].
Eau de luce
Medicinal preparation of alcohol, ammonia, and oil of AMBER, used in India as an antidote to snake bites, and in England to treat wounds and sometimes as SMELLING SALTS. Probably not the same as EAU DE LYS, although the spelling of neither is reliable. For example, eau de luce has been noted among SOAPs, where eau de lys seems more probable [Tradecards (1794)].
Eau de lys
'Eau de Lys, or the Spanish Ladies Cosmetic' [Newspapers (1760)] may only be a variant spelling of EAU DE LUCE, but this seems unlikely given that it is clearly a PERFUMED WATER rather than a medicinal product. More probably, eau de lys was an article of TOILETRY, in which the scent was provided by ORRIS, otherwise known as Fleur de Lys or Lis, or Fleur de Luce.
Eau de miel
Eau de mille fleurs
Eau de ninon
A toilet preparation intended 'to clear the Skin' [Tradecards (1790s)]. The name was possibly a reference to 'Ninon de l'Enclos' (1620-1705), a noted French wit and beauty. If so, it is a typical attempt by English manufacturers to exploit all things French.
Eau de noyaux
Probably a RATAFIA in which the alcohol is flavoured with stones from fruits like the CHERRY. Larousse Gastronomique gives a recipe for 'Ratafia de noyaux de cerises', which is probably similar to, or identical with, what was advertised for sale in the eighteenth century [Tradecards (1800)]; [Froud and Turgeon (1961)].
Eau de vie
The FRENCH name for BRANDY. The term is a literal translation of the Latin AQUA VITAE, in English 'water of life'. Lloyd stated that it was a label usually applied to the less purified varieties [Lloyd (1895)].
Eau des carmes
A PERFUMED WATER, sometimes known as Carmelite water, made by the Carmelite nuns at their Convent in Paris [Newspapers (1760)]. It was probably made of alcohol with ESSENTIAL OILs that gave the scent.
In English literally GOLD - WATER. It has only been noted once in the Dictionary Archive, and there among a list of other WATERs apparently designed for pleasurable drinking rather than as a TOILETRY [Tradecards (1800)]. An alternative possibility is that Eau d'Or was the same as the AURUM POTABILE that was heavily promoted in the late-seventeenth century, in which case it was a QUACK MEDICINE.
Eau sans pareille
A PERFUMED WATER or PERFUME, the name of which in English would be 'water without equal' or 'matchless water'. Since FRANCE, and in particular PARIS, were seen as the centre of production of PERFUMERY, the use of French names was not uncommon. There are no clues in the advertisements for this product about its ingredients.