To dress French Beans
First String them, then cut them in two, and afterwards across: but if you would do them nice, cut the bean into four, and then across, which is eight pieces; lay them into water and salt, and when your pan boils put in some salt and the beans: when they are tender they are enough; they will be soon done. Take care they don’t lose their fine green. Lay them in a plate, and have butter in a cup.
From Charles Carter, The London and Country Cook: Or, Accomplished Housewife, 1749
Boil French Beans (modern)
Take French beans (also called string beans) and wash, clean and cut into two-inch pieces. Place in a pan with a small amount of water with a couple pinches of salt. Boil for about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and place them in a bowl with a large amount of butter and serve.