Lusty Sack Possets, Nuptial Affections and the Material Communities of Early Modern Weddings

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Abstract

This article argues that ‘sack posset’, a treasured beverage that was the culinary pinnacle of seventeenth-century wedding celebrations, was vital to the rituals and emotions of early modern marriage; its consumption sealed a marriage’s contractual formation and it was essential in forging lusty nuptial affections and the procreative fortunes of newlywed couples. Drawing on early modern recipe books, dietetic and medical knowledge, and agricultural practices, sack posset’s ‘foodway’ is reconstructed for the first time, from grazing pastures to the marriage bed. In so doing it reveals an extended and multispecies material community of plants, animals and culinary expertise that was essential to a wedding day’s success, and to its affective power. By uncovering the embodied co-dependencies of early modern bodies and their environments, the article calls for a reappraisal of anthropocentric models of ‘emotional communities’ and offers a new framework for recognising their material and multispecies complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-361 and 375-395
Number of pages26
JournalEnvironment and History
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Posset
  • emotion
  • healthcare
  • material culture
  • weddings

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