"Your Grace,Alexanders were once grown in kitchen gardens as Alexandrian parsley. Like so many other naturalised edible plants, Alexanders were introduced by the Romans and has enjoyed centuries of popularity John Evelyn, in his Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets (1699) describes Alexanders as “moderately hot, and of a cleansing faculty”, comparing them favourably to parsley. He recommends:
The gentle fresh sprouts, buds, and tops are to be chosen, and the stalks eaten in the spring; and when blanch’d, in winter likewise, with oyl, pepper, salt, etc by themselves, or in composition: They make also an excellent vernal pottage.
Just such a pottage was described by Robert May in The Accomplish’t Cook (1660) with the beautiful concision rarely seen in Tradgardland recipes:
Ellicksander PottageChop ellicksanders and oatmeal together, being picked and washed, then set on a pipkin with fair water, and when it boils, put in your herbs, oatmeal, and salt, and boil it on a soft fire, and make it not too thick, being almost boil’d put in some butter.