Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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A less common meaning of RAPE is the stalks of grape clusters or the refuse of grapes from which WINE has been expressed. It was used in making VINEGAR. An act of 1699 removed duties on some products used in making vinegar and commented that it has been 'found by Experience, that Vinegar made by passing through Rape is much better for any Use at Home, and fitter for Exportation, than any other Sort of English Vinegar; and that the high Duties ... on Rape Vinegar ... are so great a discouragement to the Makers thereof, that little or none is made' [Acts (1699)]. Writing over a century later, George Dodd explained that rape, which he described as 'raisin stalks and skins', was used by the makers of MALT vinegar. Rape was 'said to filter the vinegar better than any other substance hitherto employed', but also to give it 'some quality which it did not possess before' [Dodd (1843, reprint 1967)]. 'Rapes or Husks of Grapes' was also added to the 'middling sort of beer' John Nott used to make vinegar [Recipes (Nott)].
The term was often abbreviated to 'rappee' and not to be confused with 'rappers', which were the outer leaves reserved for wrapping a CIGAR and the like. Rappee was supposedly so called because it was originally obtained by rasping CARROT TOBACCO. It was a coarse kind of SNUFF made largely from the darker and ranker TOBACCO LEAF mixed with TOBACCO SMALLS, though an act of 1790 suggests that TOBACCO STALK was sometimes used [Acts (1790)]. The DUTCH, who were one of the major producers of rappee snuff, though themselves they continued to smoke a pipe. They began to produce a heavier leaf well suited to making snuff, largely by using much manure to grow the plants. The differences between the Dutch tobacco and that from Havana widened after the 1740s, and the Dutch, rather than exporting their snuff, began to export the leaves to foreign producers [Goodman (1993)]. Typically rappee snuff was contrasted with the superior SCOTCH SNUFF, and many retailers offered both.
VINEGAR in which RASBERRY has been steeped for several days and then strained [Froud and Turgeon (1961)]. Although it may have been used equally for any purposes suitable for flavoured vinegars, raspberry vinegar was particularly regarded as 'not only an agreeable beverage, but is said to act as a febrifuge' [OED, Raspberry]. A further, and later quotation in the OED claimed that 'The fruit syrups, raspberry vinegar, home-made wines..were important drinks when tea, coffee and chocolate were unknown' [OED online, Syrup], suggesting that this vinegar had a long history.
A CORDIAL or LIQUEUR flavoured with certain fruits or their kernels, usually ALMONDS, or the kernels of PEACH, APRICOT or CHERRY. Ratafias were distinctive as the alcohol was not distilled, the flavouring ingredients being merely infused in it [Froud and Turgeon (1961)]. The term was also applied somewhat later to a kind of CAKE or BISCUIT having the flavour of ratafia, or made to be eaten along with it, and later still to a variety of cherry. The '1/4 pd rataphe' sold by a Shrewsbury retailer in the 1730s, probably were Ratafia biscuits [Tradecards (1735)].
A kind of cake or biscuit having the flavour of RATAFIA, or made to be eaten along with it. Both ratafia biscuits and ratafia cakes have been noted in the Dictionary Archive, as well as one example where ratafia was used elliptically as '¼ pd rataphe' [Tradecards (1735)]. Eliza Smith included a recipe for 'Ratafia Bisket' in 'The Compleat Housewife' in which the ingredients were BITTER ALMONDS, SUGAR and shite of egg, making it a confection that is very similar to a modern macaroon [Smith (1758, facs. 1994)].
Ratafia de cerises
This RATAFIA was probably similar to, or identical with, the one given in Larousse Gastronomique in which cherries and their stones are crushed and left to ferment. Thereafter alcohol and SUGAR are added and left to infuse for several weeks before filtering the liqueur off [Froud and Turgeon (1961)].
Ratafia de grenoble
This RATAFIA was probably similar to, or identical with, the one called in Larousse Gastronomique 'Ratafia de cerise a la facon de Grenoble', in which blanched CHERRY stones, the petals or leaves of PEACH, CINNAMON and CLOVES are infused in BRANDY, before SUGAR and cherry juice are added. The liquor is then filtered off [Froud and Turgeon (1961)].
Ratafia de griotte
In the one advertisement for this RATAFIA found in the Dictionary Archive, there are no clues to its ingredients or its place of origin [Tradecards (1800)]. No place named 'Griotte' has been noted in the atlases; the nearest possibility is Gréoux les Baines in southern France. However, La Griotte is a type of sour CHERRY, described in a modern French source as 'une cerise à saveur acidulée, surtout utilisée pour les conserves et la confiserie' [Au Jardin (online)]. It seems likely therefore that ratafia de griotte was made from sour cherries.
Ratafia de quatre fruits rouges
This RATAFIA was probably similar to the one labelled Ratafia de Framboises in Larusse Gastronomique [Froud and Turgeon (1961)], except that four soft fruits of a red colour were used instead of just RASPBERRY. Probably STRAWBERRY, RED CURRANT and CHERRY were the other three, since they are all in season at roughly the same time.
An IMPLEMENT used in weaving, it seems to have been used to help keep the WARP threads in order in various situations. According to Joseph Wright, one version was used when drying the WARP threads in the open air to stop them blowing about. Another is described as an expanding REED used in winding warps on a weaver's beam [Wright (1898-1905)]. Randle Holme described a rathe in more detail, and probably in the second meaning above. A rathe, he wrote, 'is a thing like a Rake, with the Teeth set upright, and the Cap is a Staff full of holes in which the Teeth of the Raeth are put: The Raeth keeps the Yarn in Warping, that they shall not tangle or twist one with another; and the Cap keeps the Threads of the Beere from flying out of their places.' [Holme (2000)]. In the Dictionary Archive, a rathe has only been noted twice, in each case in association with the WARPING BAR.
Probably a corrupt spelling of ravigote, the only example in the Dictionary Archive appears in a list of RICH SAUCEs [Tradecards (19c.)]. This suggests it was a highly-flavoured PREPARED SAUCE that would keep. Mrs Beeton described Ravigote as a FRENCH - SALAD SAUCE, although a nineteenth-century recipe in Larousse Gastronomique is given in the section entitled 'Compound Brown Sauces' [Froud and Turgeon (1961)]. Here the main flavouring agents were CHERVIL and TARRAGON. Sources quoted in the OED also suggest that the flavour was provided by chervil, CHIVES and tarragon, particularly the last. Perhaps the ravago found in the Dictionary Archive was similar to, or identical with, the SALAD SAUCE or HERB SAUCE noted elsewhere.
Except for it being a term used in East Anglia with reference to catching FISH, its precise meaning is doubtful in the contexts found in the Dictionary Archive. Some examples suggest that it was used for a set, as in 'Sixty Doles of Fishing Netts' [Inventories (1719)]. A similar meaning was noted by Yaxley with reference to fishing lines in 1593, as in 'j cocke boote ... with vj dooles of lynes' [Yaxley (2003)]. On the other hand, one example in the Dictionary Archive suggests it was a type of net as in '10 half dole flew netts ... 52 halfe dolle hering netts [Inventories (1677)].