“The Science of Cooking”

Working Title/Artist: Still Life / Georg Flegel
Date: probably ca. 1625–30

I’m very please to be able to host a newly translated cookbook.

Gwyn Chwith ap Llyr (Glenn Gorsuch) had a 16th century Hungarian cookbook translated and has allowed me to host a copy. Enjoy.


Copied directly from Wulfric’s LJ entry. (http://madbaker.livejournal.com/665852.html)

3-lb beef eye of round roast, no more than 3″ in diameter
Spice cure:
1 ounce kosher salt
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp curing salt #2
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
2 tsp fresh thyme
5 juniper berries, lightly crushed

Combine all the spice cure ingredients and grind to a fine powder. Rub half the spice cure all over the meat, rubbing it in well. Place in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for 7 days, turning it to overhaul every couple of days. Remove the beef from the liquid, discarding the liquid. Rub in the remaining spice cure and return to the fridge in the bag for another 7 days.

Rinse the beef thoroughly under cold water to remove remaining spices and pat dry with paper towels. Set on a rack on a baking sheet, uncovered at room temperature, for 2-3 hours. Wrap in cheesecloth and tie with twine and hang in the fridge for 3 weeks. The meat should feel firm on the outside and silky smooth when sliced.

Slice paper-thin and serve with olive oil and Parmesan.

Furmenty and venison

Almost universally all of the late 14th/early 15th century menus I looked at included venison with furmenty in the first course. I was determined to be able to serve that. It just seemed right for a feast where the theme was “Hunt and Harvest”.

Very early in the year I contacted my parents to see if they could get a deer for me for the feast. They said they’d try. Mom called after Thanksgiving to say that she’d “climbed up on the roof of the house” but had been unable to hit any of the deer on their property (Mom&Dad have 47 acre ranch/farm on the Yellowstone River in Montana).

We ended up buying four 5 lb bags of “venison stew meat” ($5.95/lb) from Polarica. Edith drove into SF on Friday and picked up the meat. On the day of the feast the meat still hadn’t thawed so we floated it in water early in the day and then microwaved it later in the day.

My wonderful kitchen help(Hilary and Dianora I think) cut the chunks up into smaller pieces. These were cooked in a pan on top of the gridle. We purposefully crowded the pan so that the meat would generate a good gravy. The cooking when much faster after we covered the pan with a cookie sheet. Anna Sara added a flour/water slurry to thicken the gravy.

I tested out the furmenty recipe about a week before the feast.

1/2 cup hulled wheat berries
1/2-3/4 cup milk
1/3-1/2 tsp salt
Pinch saffron
2 egg yolks

Boil wheat berries in water until they burst (about 1 hour). This takes a lot of water. The wheat berries expanded from 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cup cooked berries. When some of the berries are done (a few burst, the rest just -taste- done), drain any excess water (I found that cheesecloth in a collander worked great). Add back to pan. Add milk, salt, saffron. When milk is warm, use that to temper the egg yolks. Add tempered egg yolks to wheat berries.

For the feast we multiplied the above recipe by 12 (we were expecting 12 tables, ended up with 14 but the recipe stretched well).

In the test we used the saffron threads whole. This wasn’t bad but we decided to grind the saffron up for the feast. The feast furmenty was more “saffron-y” than the test furmenty. Not a bad thing if you like saffron.

In the test we used 1 cup milk and found this to be too much. At the feast we used about 1/2 cup/recipe. Some people at the feast thought that 1/2 tsp of salt per recipe was too salty. I liked it but in future I’ll probably use 1/3 tsp/recipe.

Fylettes in galytyne

From The Forme of Cury(1390)(http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext05/8cury10.txt):

Take Pork, and rost it tyl the blode be tryed out & þe broth [1].
take crustes of brede and bray hem in a morter, an drawe hem thurgh a
cloth with þe broth, þenne take oynouns an leshe hem on brede an do
to the broth. þanne take pork, and leshe it clene with a dressyng
knyf and cast it into þe pot broth, & lat it boile til it be more
tendre. þanne take þat lyour þerto. þanne take a porcion of peper and
saundres & do þerto. þanne take parsel & ysope & mynce it smale & do
þerto. þanne take rede wyne oþer white grece & raysouns & do þerto. &
lat it boile a lytel.

[1] the broth. Supposed to be prepared beforehand.

Fillets in Gelatine
Take pork, and roast it til the blood has all run out into the broth. Take crusts of bread and bray them in amorter and sieve them through a cloth with the broth. Then take onions and lay them on bread and then add broth. Then take the pork and cut it with a knife and throw it in the pot of broth and let it boil until the pork is more tender. Then lay pork on the bread/onions. Then add a sprinkle of (black) pepper and saunders. Then add add parsley, ysope(?). Mince it small and add to pork/bread. Then take red wine or white grease and raisins and add them also. And let it boil a little.

I took a lot of liberties with this recipe. The dish I served was “porkchops with Onions”.

Pan-Fry porkchops until it reaches 160 degrees F(season with a bit of salt/pepper). Remove porkchops to the oven to keep them warm. Pan-fry (no oil) onions until they are well carmelized. Plate porkchops. Heap onions on top of the pork chops. Serve.


To make a tart (Tourte)
Goodman, p. 183.
To make a tart, take four handfulls of beets, two handfulls of parsley, a handful of chervil, a sprig of fennel and two handfuls of spinach, and pick them over and wash them in cold water, then cut them up very small; then bray with two sorts of cheese, to wit a hard and a medium, and then add eggs thereto, yolks and whites, and bray them in with the cheese; then put the herbs into the mortar and bray all together and also put therein some fine powder. Or instead of this have ready brayed in the mortar two heads of ginger and on to this bray your cheese, eggs and herbs and then cast old cheese scraped or grated on to the herbs and take it to the oven and then have your tart made and eat it hot.

Sylvie’s Redaction:

1/2 bunch spinach
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/4 onion
4-5 eggs
3/8 lb Monterey jack
1/8 lb Parmesian
2 ounces extra Monterey jack
1 tsp powder fine
1 pie shell

Slice onion, parboil quickly, and then dry. Mix eggs. Cut spinch and parsley small. Add all ingredients to eggs. Place in pie shell. Put extra 2 oz of cheese on top of tart. Cook for 50-60 minutes at 350 F.

Winter Squash Soup Fringed with Saffron

Winter Squash Soup Fringed with Saffron

Menagier de Paris (under soups)
Let the rind be peeled, for that is best: and always if you want the insides, let the seeds be removed, though it is said that the rind is worth more, then cut up the rind in pieces, then parboil, then chop lengthways, then put to cook in beef fat: almost at the end yellow it with saffron or throw saffron thread by thread, one here, another there; this is what cooks call ‘fringed with saffron’.

The Medieval Kitchen Page 55-56
For squash, peel them and cut them into slices. Remove seeds if there are any and cook them in water in a pan, then drain them and rince in cold water; squeeze them and chop them finly; mix with some beef and other meat broth and add cow’s milk, and mix half a dozen egg yolks, put through a sieve, into the brothe and milk; on fast days [use] the cooking water from [dried] peas, or almond milk, and butter. (From Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent, edited by Jerome Pichon and Georges Vicaire)

Sylvie’s Redaction: (assuming 1/2 cup soup per person)
In our period of study this was probably prepared with gourds (Lagenaria vulgaris). These aren’t available so I used acorn squash. To keep this as a vegetarian dish I used butter and milk instead of beef fat and broth.

5 1/2 lbs squash
12 Tbsp. Butter
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
8 cups milk
12 egg yolks
1/4 tsp saffron threads

Slice squash. Remove seeds and any woody ribs. Parboil squash until soft (about 15-30 mins). Squish soft squash out of rind and squish with your fingers. Be sure to remove any woody parts you feel. At this point you can freeze it or refrigerate it for up to three days.

Melt butter. Add Squash. When butter and squash are all melted together, Add 3 cups of the milk. Cook until the puree is smooth and glossy and tastes cooked (about 30 mins). Add salt and pepper. Add the rest of the milk. Bring to simmer. Temper egg yolks with warm milk. Add yolks to squash. Add saffron threads to soup. Serve warm. Serves about 16 – 1/2 cup servings.

For the feast I made 5 times this recipe. It was very well received. We ran into problems because I tried to make it as one big pot on the stove. Finally, to get it to heat up all the way, we separated it into two pots. Next time I do a feast I think I’ll plan for all the dishes to be in 2-4 pots.


Cury, 1390
Take persel, sawge, garlec, chibolles, oynouns, leek, borage, myntes, porrectes [1], fenel and ton tressis [2], rew, rosemarye, purslarye [3], laue and waische hem clene, pike hem, pluk hem small wiþ þyn [4] honde and myng hem wel with rawe oile. lay on vynegur and salt, and serue it forth.
[1] Porrectes. Fr. _Porrette_.
[2] Ton tressis. Cresses. V. Gloss.
[3] Purslarye. Purslain. [4] þyn. thine.

The Good Huswifes Jewell, Thomas Dawson, 1596
Take your hearbes and picke them very fine into faire water, and picke your flowers by themselves, and wash them all cleane, and swing them in a strainer, and when you put them into a dish, mingle them with Cowcumbers or Lemmans payred and sliced, and scrape Suger, and put into vineger and Oyle, and throw the flowers on the top of the Sallet, and of every sorte of the aforesaid thinges, and garnish the dish about with the foresaide thinges, and hard Egges boyled and laid about the dish and upon the Sallet.

I used the redaction from here: http://www.bitwise.net/~ken-bill/medrcp01.htm
The Modern Version:
1 small head of butter lettuce
1 cup watercress
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup flower petals (you can use roses, primroses, nasturtiums, chive blossoms, violets, or calendulas, but be sure they haven’t been sprayed with insecticides)
1 cucumber, pared and sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp brown sugar
Wash the lettuce, watercress, and herb leaves in cold water and pat dry or use a salad spinner; refridgerate. Rinse the flower petals in a bowl of cold water and gently pat dry; refridgerate.
Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and combine with the watercress and herb leaves. Add the cucumber slices and toss to mix.
Mix together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar; stir until blended. Add dressing to the salad and toss until well coated. Gently mix in the flower petals (reserving a few to garnish the salad with). Top the salad with the egg slices and garnish with the reserved flower petals.

Joan the Harper and Bruce the Cart Driver donated rose petals to the feast. These were strewn across the top of the sallet on the server plates.

I forgot to make the sallet dressing before hand. On the day of the feast I whisked together some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and some honey mustard and served the dressing in a small dish on the side of the sallet. We also used two eggs per serving platter of the hard boiled eggs that had been returned from the Marbled eggs in the previous course. It was very tasty.

Decorated Rice

Decorated Rice

Decorated Rice
Goodman of Paris
RICE for a meat day. Pick it over and wash in two or three changes of hot water, and put to dry on the fire, then add boiling cow’s milk, and grind up saffron to colour it yellow: soak with your milk, then add in grease from beef stock.

Goodman of Paris
RICE, Another Way. Pick it over and wash in two or three changes of hot water until the water is clear, then do as above until half cooked, then puree it and put on trenchers in dishes to drain and dry in front of the fire: then cook it thick with the fatty liquid from beef and with saffron, if this is a meat day: and if it is a fish day, do not add meat juice, but in its place add almonds well-ground and not sieved; then sweeten and do not use saffron.

Forme of Cury
RYSE [1] OF FLESH. IX. Take Ryse and waishe hem clene. and do hem in erthen pot with gode broth and lat hem seeþ wel. afterward take Almaund mylke [2] and do þer to. and colour it wiþ safroun an salt, an messe forth.
[1] Ryse. Rice. V. Gloss.
[2] Almand mylke. V. Gloss.

IIII. FOR TO MAKE POMMYS MORLES. Nym Rys and bray hem [1] wel and temper hem up wyth almaunde mylk and boyle yt nym applyn and par’ hem and sher hem smal als dicis and cast hem ther’yn after the boylyng and cast sugur wyth al and colowr yt wyth safroun and cast ther’to pouder and serve yt forthe.
[1] Rice, as it consists of grains, is here considered as a plural. See also No. 5. 7, 8.

V. FOR TO MAKE RYS MOYLE [1]. Nym rys and bray hem ryzt wel in a morter and cast ther’to god Almaunde mylk and sugur and salt boyle yt and serve yt forth.
[1] Vide Gloss.

66. Decorated rice for a meat day.
Taillevent, p. 26
Pick over the rice, wash it very well in hot water, dry it near the fire, and cook it in simmering cow’s milk. Crush some saffron (for reddening it), steep it in your milk, and add stock from the pot.

Sylvie’s Redaction:
20-25 lbs rice

Wash rice. Boil rice in water with saffron.

I’ll admit it, I’m scared to death of cooking a large pot of grains at a feast. Vigdis made this dish. She added all of the rice I’d brought to a huge pot and then covered it by a knuckle with water. Then she added the saffron and cooked it until it was done.

This dish was added to this course at the recommendation of Baroness Eilis who said that there’s always someone with a hollow leg who will be pleased as punch to fill up on a large grain serving.

I honestly don’t remember how much of the rice came back to the kitchen.. The server at the high table recommended that next time we -tell- the servers that the bowl of dressing on the serving plate is for the sallet not the rice…. he dumped the honey mustard vinagrette over their highness’ rice. I hope it was tasty for them.

Black Pepper Sauce

Black Pepper Sauce
Forme of Cury, c. 1390
Take brede and fry it in grece. Draw it up with broth and vynegar. Take thereto powdor of peper and salt and sette it on the fyre. Boile it and mess it forth.

208. Black Pepper [Sauce].
Taillevent, p. 67.
Crush ginger, burnt bread and pepper, steep in vinegar and verjuice, and boil. (BN manuscript, p. 34.)

Le Menagier de Paris:
“BLACK PEPPER. Take a clove and a little pepper, ginger, and grind very fine: then grind toasted bread soaked in a little liquid from the meat or in a little cabbage-water which is better, then boil in an iron pan, and when boiling add vinegar; then put in a pot on the fire to keep hot. Item, some add cinnamon to it.”

Sylvie’s redaction:
1/2 cup dry bread
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 inch fresh ginger
2 Tbsp ground pepper
salt to taste
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup verjuice

Grind dried bread. Fry bread bits in grease until dark brown. Crush ginger in mortor/pestle. Add ginger, pepper, salt to pan with bread. Add water. Bring to a boil. Add verjuice.

Lemon and Lime Peels

Lemon and Lime Peels
To Make Candied Orange Peel,

Goodman, p. 202.
To make candied orange peel, divide the peel of one orange into five quarters and scrape with a knife to remove the white part inside, then put them to soak in good sweet water for nine days, and change the water every day; then cook them in good water just till boiling, and when this happens, spread them on a cloth and let them get thoroughly dry, then put them in a pot with enough honey to cover them, and boil on a low fire and skim, and when you believe the honey is cooked, (to test if it is cooked, have some water in a bowl, and let drip into this one drop of the honey, and if it spreads, it is not cooked; and if the drop of honey holds together in the water without spreading out, it is cooked;) and then you must remove your orange peel, and make one layer with it, and sprinkle with ginger powder, then another layer, and sprinkle etc., and so on; and leave it a month or more, then eat.

Sylvie’s Redaction:
Cut lemons into quarters. Remove the fruit and juice and use for another dish (I made citrus sauce). Place the peels in water and boil with salt. Drain water. Rinse peels. Add more water, boil again. Drain. Rinse. Add more water, boil again. Drain. Rinse. Use a spoon to remove the white pith from the rind. Cut rind into slivers (1-2 inches long by 1/2-1/4 inch wide). Allow to dry overnight. Place dried rinds into a sauce pan and cover with honey. Boil it until the honey reaches soft ball stage. Strain peels from honey. Spread peels out on wax paper. Allow to dry.

As a result of poor planning on my part we didn’t actually start making these until 3-4 weeks before the feast. With that shortened timeframe we decided to boil the peels to remove the pith rather than let them soak over several days.

After allowing the honeyed peels to dry for several weeks I found that the honey was still sticky. We decided to dredge these in sugar to make them less sticky.

These are very very tasty. They retained the taste of the fruit they came from. They really were a nice end-of-meal breath freshener snack.