Detail of a pietra dura panel in the Florentine cabinet, Rastatt Favorite Palace

From glazes to cookingThe margravine'srecipes

Margravine Sibylla Augusta von Baden-Baden's book of recipes continues to pass down the “four hand arts.” It contains recipes in each of the four disciplines: art, cooking, baking and medicine. Sibylla Augusta herself made many notes and wrote down her own ideas in this volume.

Portrait of Margravine Sibylla Augusta von Baden-Baden

Sibylla Augusta as a young woman.

The “hand arts”

In 1688, at 13, Sibylla Augusta, and her 16-year-old sister both received a recipe book from their grandfather. The book is titled “Vierfacher Handschrein: unterschiedlich angemerckter Kunst- Speiß- Confitur- und Medicinal-Sachen” [The four hand arts: a variety of art, food, confiture and medicinal items]. It is a soft-cover book, 17 by 15 cm, well bound and covered in leather. The covers are inscribed with “Francisca Sibylla Augusta” and the year “1688.” Today, they are the property of the Margraves of Baden.

Open kitchen, Rastatt Favorite Palace

Pots and plates in the open kitchen.

The recipes

Of the 373 pages, 173 of them contain annotations from Margravine Sibylla Augusta, made over the course of her life. She added to existing recipes with her own comments and new ideas. In the first of the four sections, recipes cover everything from creating colors and glass to the art of glazing. In the second section, the cookbook, Sibylla reveals her proclivity for sweets, which is also evident in the third section, an extensive “confiture” book.

Black porcelain, Favorite Palace

Black Meissen porcelain on a lacquer dresser.

The art of lacquer

Unusual for modern books, this book contains more than just recipes. In addition to beauty tips and prescriptions for treating various illnesses, it also contains detailed descriptions of East Asian lacquering methods and how to create objects out of wax. A builder, Sibylla Augusta later had many such lacquer methods applied in her structures. Her love of handcrafted arts was rooted in her upbringing and her first experiences as a young princess.

Portrait of Margravine Sibylla Augusta von Baden-Baden and her sister Anna Maria Franziska

A bouquet of flowers decorates the margravine's table.

A medical companion

The fourth and final section of the book contains recipes for beauty products, mouthwash and pomades. It also includes tips for pregnant women: after all, Sibylla Augusta herself was pregnant 12 times. Preparations for salves and elixirs are also listed, for use in the treatment of illnesses of the breast, perhaps related to the margravine's personal struggles; current information indicates that she had cancer in her final years.

Recipe: Pyramid with fruits and flowers

“Take a tin pyramid that has previously cooled and cover it with beautiful flowers and fruits, add fountain water, and place in a wooden pyramid, surround with snow or ice, including the center core, and let stand for 3 or 4 hours, continuing to add snow as it melts, until it is thoroughly frozen. A mix of cut lemons, pomegranate peel, slices or other things, such as pomegranate seeds, can be placed in the pyramid, as adornment…"

The three kitchens of Favorite Palace can be experienced as part of a family-friendly tour. A kitchen maid shares various dishes and a few recipes on the “Off to the kitchen” tour.