Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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A rabbet is a channel or groove cut in the face or edge of a piece of wood or stone, usually of rectangular section, intended to fit another pice or a tongue. It was this groove that the rabbeting PLANE was designed to cut. Randle Holme described, not only a standard rabetting plane, which was distinguished from the typical plane by ejecting the shavings through a hole at the side [Holme (2000)], but also a 'Plow, which is a narrow Rabbet-Plaine', which was 'to make a narrow square Groove on the edge of a Board or Rail' [Holme (2000)]. Rabbeting planes have been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1744)], but they must have been more common even if not so described. Rabbeting could of course be done, though more laboriously, with a CHISEL.
The pieces of GINGER ROOT as they have been dug up, when they look somewhat similar to a hand (by which term they are sometimes known) and were called 'races'. However, several of the early citations in the OED suggest it was applied to GREEN GINGER rather than to the unprocessed rhizome. The term, however, is doubly ambiguous. Dried GINGER is notoriously difficult to process by grinding, and some was grated or razed with a GINGER GRATE. One or two examples in the Dictionary Archive suggest that 'race ginger' may have been used to mean RAZED GINGER. The valuations found suggest that each of these various possibilities may occur.
The fleshy, slightly pungent root of a widely cultivated cruciferous plant, Raphanus sativus, commonly eaten as both a RELISH and a PICKLE, as well as raw in SALAD [Evelyn (1699, new ed. 1996)]. The number of SEED varieties on offer is an indication of their popularity. For example, one seed merchant offered the following varieties: Black Spanish, Early Salmon, Early Short Topped, Salad, and Turnip [Tradecards (n.d.)].
In English, the root of ALTHAEA or MARSH MALLOW. The powdered or crushed roots make a good poultice, used to remove 'obstinate inflammation and prevent mortification'. So much so that it has been called 'the Mortification root' [Wren (1941)]. The roots are also the source of much mucilage, which was the main component of OIL OF MUCILAGES.
The OED suggests that essell, the English form of the Latin esula, was a sort of spurge, that is a relation of EUPHORBIUM. However, a quotation dated 1567 in the OED online (under Essell) suggested that it might have been eyebright. Whatever the precise plant, the root was apparently used medicinally and hence the Latin name. The roots continued to be rated right through the period, although essell/esula had disappeared from the mid-eighteenth century Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)]. It was never popular, appearing in the shops of the Dictionary Archive only once [Inventories (1625)].
The ROOT of filipendula, now called Spirea filipenedula. The root powdered was 'very serviceable', according to Nicholas Culpeper, 'to open the urinary passages, [and] to help ... expel stone and gravel'. He wrote that its alternative name was 'Dropwort, because it gives ease to those who evacuate their water by drops' [Culpeper (new ed.)].
The term, which in one of its Anglicized forms was 'ragoo', denotes a highly seasoned dish usually consisting of MEAT or FISH cut into small pieces and stewed with VEGETABLEs. The introduction of this type of dish, along with others such as fricassees and hashes, represented a change of culinary fashion, beginning in the Elizabethan period, for lighter dishes, influenced by French fashions, in place of the heavy POTTAGE [Glasse (1747, facs. 1983)]; [Wilson (1973)].
By the eighteenth century it was not uncommon to have ragouts made solely from vegetables, such as BEAN, CUCUMBER, ONION and PARSNIP, cooked in a number of ingredients, such as BUTTER, GRAVY, EGG and WHITE WINE, and usually thickened with FLOUR or roux.
One of the principal purveyors of exotic foodstuff in London offered a package containing a proprietary 'Ragout Powder' along with CURRY POWDER and MUSHROOM POWDER at one guinea [Tradecards (1800)]. Presumably the first was a highly flavoured condiment like the other two, but in this case deemed suitable for making ragout. In the same advertisement Skill offered 'Essences of Herbs, To Enrich Soups, Ragouts, &c. Very convenient to Gentlemen on long Voyages', while 'La Sauce des Herbes, or Herb-Sauce for Fish, Ragouts etc. at 3s per pint' was advertised in Leicester [Newspapers (1790)].
The partially dried FRUIT of some varieties of GRAPE. In the early part of the period in particular they were sometimes called GREAT RAISINS to distinguish them from raisins of Corinth, otherwise known as CURRANTS. There were two principal methods of drying the grapes described under MALAGA RAISINS and DENIA RAISINS, that is either on the vine, or picked and dried off the vine. The latter was easier and cheaper. Raisins were found among GROCERY, and may well have been subsumed under that label in documents like the Gloucester Coastal Port Books. They were used widely in cooking both sweet and savoury dishes, and were an ingredient in medicinal preparations such as DAFFYS ELIXIR, as well as in external applications. They were also used to make RAISIN WINE. 'Juice of Raisins' was by the 1660s to a potential, and illegal, dilutant of WINE [Acts (1660)].
Found described as ALICANT, BASKET, Bloom, DAMAGED, DECAYED, Faro, FINE, Lexia, Lipra or Belvedere, MUSCATEL, OLD
Found in units of BARREL, BUNCH, CASK, CWT, HUNDRED, PARCEL, POUND, QUARTER Found imported and rated by the BARREL, CWT, PARCEL, SERN
See also DENIA RAISINS, GREAT RAISINS, RAISINS OF THE SUN, RAISINS SOLIS, ROATE RAISINS, SMYRNA RAISINS.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).
Raisins of the sun
Also known as RAISINS SOLIS or sun RAISINS, these were GRAPES dried on the vine in the sun [Hess (1981)], and probably an alternative name for MALAGA RAISINS, though the produce of other areas may also have been involved.
A ran was a certain length of TWINE consisting of 20 CORD wound onto a REEL, with each cord marked by a knot. In this sense it was used in rigging and the like. According to a late-nineteenth quotation in the OED, a ran weighed ¾ LB. But two examples in the Dictionary Archive suggest that ran was also used as a descriptor for THREAD [Inventories (1667)]; [Inventories (1720)]. Ran thread, or rand thread, has been noted several times, as in '8 li' of Ran threed at 12d P' [Inventories (1711)]. This was probably a strong thread suitable for use in rigging and netting as the context suggests of entries like 'ffour pounds of Ran thread & Seven Clocklines' [Inventories (1729)], and 'Packthread and Ran thread and Line' [Inventories (1734)].
A TEXTILE and according to Florence Montgomery, a WORSTED fabric made in the early-eighteenth century [Montgomery (1984)]. However, the only examples in the Dictionary Archive are earlier and appear to have been of goodish quality WOOLLEN CLOTH valued at 5s-7s 6d YARD [Inventories (1662)]. In this context, ranter may have been used pejoratively for QUAKER or other non-conformist sects known at the time for their noisy preaching. The colours of the examples noted would fit the sober hues preferred by these groups.