Source 2

‘A recipe for marshmallow syrup’, Ship: Abraham of London, or perhaps not (master Andrew Hardie), 1633-1637. Catalogue Ref: HCA 30/636/7.  


Take a look at this recipe, which was found with other documents from an English ship called Abraham of London, which was involved in trade in Barbados in the 1630s. These marshmallows were not the white fluffy sweets we think of today. ‘Marshmallow’ also means a white flower which was sometimes used in early modern medicine.   


‘To make syrup of marchmallows’ 


‘Scrape your marchmallows 

till you have too handfulls 

and put it in a quart of water 

and boyle it gentley till it comes 

to a point then strain it 

throw a cive or Cloath then 

let it stand till its cold then 

powr it of & put a point of  

this lickor to a pound of  

sugar boil it up thick’ 


Marshmallow- a white bitter flower, used in recipes for cooking and medicines  

Cive- an early sieve, made out of cloth.  

Quart: measurement of liquid 

Boyle: boil 

Cloath: cloth 


Point: pint? 

Lickor: liquid 


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  • Can you read this old document?  
  • How does this recipe differ from recipes in books today?  
  • Why do you think this recipe is folded?  
  • Where might it have been kept? 
  • Why do you think it was found on board a trading ship?  
  • Who might it have belonged to?  
  • How might this syrup have been used? 
  • This recipe calls for a pound of sugar. What does it tell us about the availability of sugar by the 1630s?  
  • Draw your own step-by-step guide to show how to make this recipe.