Secret messages

In a mixed culinary and medicinal recipe book dating from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries (Wellcome Library, MS 7892), I found the following poetical note:

To help my Wife to be a cook
I write receipts in this her book
and hope to taste of some of these
when ere her Ladyship doth please

Doesn’t he sound delightful? On another page he writes:

This latter part of this receit
I have writ ill, because in hast I writ
I hope my wife, she will this fault excuse
cause bad writing cant make’t worse for use

Those were recipes for food, but by a method for making snail water he writes:

This cordial water I desire to tast
when I have a pain, in stomach, or in wast

He copies out a recipe for sack posset:

Take a pint of sack [a dry white wine similar to sherry], 16 eggs, keep half the whites out, beat them very well, put your sack & eggs together, & set them over the fire & stirr them till it be as thick, as a Jelly, boyl 2 Quarts of Cream, & pour it hot upon your sack, & Eggs, pour it very high to make it froth cover it up with a dish very close, & set it over a small fire, till you send it up.

And then notes:

For nuptial nights, this Posset is most fit
it mak’s a Bridegroom brisk, tho he wants wit

It’s a little enigmatic, but I think we can work out what he means!

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