THE MYSTERY OF MEAD
About ME: Laura Angotti and the Mystery of mead
I first started investigating the history of mead and historical recieps for mead some 30 year ago. But it is only in the past dozen or so years that is has become a near full-time obsession occupation. With the thousands of sources I have consulted, recipes I have collected, and hours spent, I realize I have only begun to see the complexities of the history of mead and the connections between how it was made and used in differnt times and places. My interests range more broadly to fermented beverages in general, including but not necessarily limited to mead, wine, ale/beer, cider, perry, distilled drinks, and concocted drinks (hippocras, cordials, medicinals).
I have published two books in the Historical Brewing Sourcebooks (HBS) series and am expecting the publication of a third in late 2023. HBS I - Cider and Perry in Britain to 1700 contains excerpts from primary materials including over 120 sources. HBS II - Wellcome Mead includes over 100 mead recipes extracted from 17th and early 18th century manuscripts at the Wellcome Library, including details on the ingredients used and initial recreations for each recipe. HBS III - Gold and Sweet, Ensnaring: Mead in Great Britain Prehistory to Elizabeth I details the history of mead in Great Britain focusing on hte nature of the drink and its place in life .
I am not prescriptive on how any individual “should” recreate historical recipes. While I agree that each element of any recipe recreation may be more or less historically accurate, I will hold that there is always ambiguity in recreation and the details of any recreation trial must always be left to the choice of the individual mead maker.
My work is ongoing. I’ve finished some 150 trials, ranging in date from prehistoric to 1742. My catalog of historical recipes has just edged over 4000 entries (including many duplicates). My bibliographies include over 5000 tetxs, although many are annoted with “need to review”. I continue to learn, make connections, and revise my thoughts in the story of mead every day.
These pages chronicle my methods, results, thoughts, triumphs, and a few oopses.
Welcome to the Mystery of Mead.