Historical Research Project
By arrangement with the Franciscans of Santo Espíritu de Gilet, Valencia, Vicky’s research papers for her book will be available for consultation in their library. She is also compiling a wider guide to primary sources for Franciscan food history in Spain, in particular friary records.
These remained remarkably intact and were kept in the friaries themselves until the 1808-14 War of Independence, when many were destroyed. As the 19th century wore on and impoverished friaries were first abandoned, then disentailed between 1835 and 1846, so almost all their records left their original homes. Those that survive today are preserved in a number of collections and have been catalogued, but little studied. Vicky’s aim is to reference them and outline a range of their content for food historians. Subjects covered include farming, kitchen management and furnishings, ingredients and cookery. The documents are exceptionally valuable for two reasons. Firstly, they are very varied, including kitchen and general accounts, correspondence, handbooks to legal records, and secondly they span centuries, so allowing detailed observation of changes in diet, food production, prices and cookery over long periods of time.