Katrina Longhurst holds a Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship.
Katrina's Leeds-funded project is mentored by Iona McCleery and Alex Bamji and feeds into their You Are What You Ate project. Katrina has been using Special Collections in her research over the summer and shares her experience with us.
"My scholarship is based on the fantastic Cookery Collection (part of the Brotherton Collection). I specifically chose to explore its 17th-century recipe books and manuals because of the wide availability of brilliant sources. Reading the recipe books, I decided to focus on the recipes to counter melancholy, exploring the link between our food and mood - something which still preoccupies us today. I've contributed to the You Are What You Ate website and started an early modern recipes blog to publicise my research.
"My favourite find was Edmund Gayton's The Art of Longevity (1659). Gayton studied medicine at Oxford and dabbled in poetry. His book provides practical advice on qualities of foods and is written entirely in heroic couplets:
'Have you no courage?
At any time revive your soul with Borage...
Sirrup of Borage will make sad men glad
And the same sirrup doth restore the mad'
"I particularly liked this piece as it bridged the gap between my scholarship with the School of History and my English degree, demonstrating the interdisciplinary nature of research. At first I was quite daunted by doing research, and by using Special Collections, but I soon got into it: everyone's been really helpful and I've learnt so much in just six weeks. Next year I'm continuing my research in the Cookery Collection, working on 17th-century recipes to safeguard pregnancy."
Good luck to Katrina in her research - we look forward to seeing her back in the reading room sometime soon.
If like Katrina your research has been inspired by using Special Collections and you would like to share your story, get in touch with Joanne Fitton.