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cb-novices-msg - 2/18/15


Cookbooks for those new to period cooking. Cookbook reviews.


NOTE: See also the files: cookbooks-msg, cookbooks-bib, cookbooks2-bib, cooking-bib, cb-rv-Apicius-msg, cookbooks-SCA-msg, DYKIP-Food-art, crockpot-dshs-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Sun, 14 Sep 1997 20:36:39 -0500

From: Maddie Teller-Kook <meadhbh at io.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Books for Beginners?


Wendy Trankle wrote:

> As a relative newcomer to the SCA I have decided that my interest in

> cooking could be about to take a very interesting turn indeed.  Can

> anyone suggest good books for the beginner.  All help will be much

> appreciated.


> Gwen Seis


I think Pleyn Delit is a wonderful first cookbook. It has the original,

translated and redacted recipe so you can get a feel for the flavors of

some dishes from the 14th and 15th century.  The second edition has come

out. It has expanded recipes but I have noticed it doesn't have as many

of the 'original' recipes with the redactions.  BUT, It is fairly easy

to get, try ordering it at a Bookstop or Borders or Barnes and Nobles.





Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 07:57:28 -0600

From: morgan <morgan at in-tch.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Books for Beginners?


Greetings to all who recieve this message! and especially to you, Gwen



   Another resource for the beggining cook is a pamphlet by Mistress

Siobhan Medhbh O'Roarke: Traveling Dysshes  or, foods for wars, peace,

and potlucks.  I think it is a wonderful booklte for beginning cooks,

and I have found the recipes I have used from it to be very well

recieved. All my friends in the SCA think I am now a wonderful cook.

Copies are available from the author by writing to : Pat McGregor, 3507

Santos Circle, Cameron Park, CA 95682-8247.   Also can be contacted at

pat at lloyd.com.





Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 09:06:46 -0500

From: L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt <liontamr at ptd.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #269


>As a relative newcomer to the SCA I have decided that my interest in

>cooking could be about to take a very interesting turn indeed.  Can

>anyone suggest good books for the beginner.  All help will be much


>Gwen Seis


Hi There, and welcome!


For Beginners, it's easier to see the original recipes along side the

"redacted" ones, to help learn terminology.


I reccomend Take a Thousand Eggs or More, by Cindy Renfrow,  and also Pleyn

Delit, Hieatt et al., second edition, for good, accurate jumping-off places,

and enough recipes that are well redacted that even if you can't read

middle-english, you can still cook a wonderful feast or just surprise and

astound your friends.


Please steer away from Fabulous Feasts. Some of the recipes, by admission of

the author, are "made up", the scholarship is sketchy at best, and the

author suggests substituting modern things for medieval ingredients that are

readily available now anyway. This book is probably the most readily

available in a modern bookstore, but it would be a mistake to use it like a

bible, although some of her information about serving and servants is quite



In addition, you can go to the Office of the Stock Clerk at the SCA web

page, where I believe there are other cookbooks available (How to Cook

Forsoothly and The Compleat Dagger Lickin' Good come to mind. Though the

original documentation is not always available for these, the cooking is

sound, and tasty, and tried-and-true).


Hope this is the beginning of a huge library of wonderful tomes.





Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 22:25:22 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - books for novice cooks--??


>Does anyone know of any books on period cooking? I feel sort of funny

>just trying to do a recipe without having read a thing about it. I have

>made shortbread and scones, but that's it. Merci beaucoup!



Currently in print, The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black, Pleyn Delight

by Haitt(?).


Often available through the library, To the King's Taste and To the

Queen's Taste by Lorna Sass and Sallets, Humbles, and Shrewsbery Cakes

by Ruth Ann Beebe.


These are good selections for starting into period cooking.





Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 23:51:06 -0400

From: Bonne <oftraquair at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Sourdough


A good beginning bakers book is "Breadtime Stories".  Sorry, don't know the

author because I don't own a copy. All the whys and wherefores are covered on

the life of yeast beasties; a basic flour, yeast, water, salt recipe is given;

followed by advice on how to slow down or speed up the process so as to fit

the bread baking around other activities; and a wealth of variations with

different flours and other additions. The gist of the book is bread as main

componant of vegetarian meal, so each variation also has appropriate, and

often ethnic/traditional soups, stews, etc.





Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 14:24:29 +1000

From: Robyn Probert <robyn.probert at lawpoint.com.au>

Subject: Re: SC - Sourdough


At 11:51 PM 22/06/98 -0400, Bonne wrote:

>A good beginning bakers book is "Breadtime Stories".  Sorry, don't know the

>author because I don't own a copy. All the whys and wherefores are covered on

>the life of yeast beasties; a basic flour, yeast, water, salt recipe is given;


Another good source of background info and detailed instructions is the Time

Life book "Bread" from their Good Cook series.





Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 21:10:45 EDT

From: THLRenata at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - SC Another newbie question


Glo wrote:

>> What books or steps should a newbie take to start getting the basics? I

have been to a few renassance (?) fairs and seen how a little of the cooking

is done but from what I hear on this list even the cooking preparation is

differnt. Am I right? Maybe I am trying to make this harder than it really is.

I hate being this stupid!!<<


I recommend Cindy Renfrow's "Take 1000 Eggs or More" volumes 1 & 2. Volume 1

has recipes translated into more understandable English, then redacted into

recipes a modern cook can understand. Volume 2 has more recipes translated,

but not redacted. It does contain helpful hints for redacting them on your



They are available from Acanthus Books (Acanthusbk at aol.com) or from the SCA

Stockclerk. Cindy is also on this list.





Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 10:04:41 -0600 (MDT)

From: Mary Morman <memorman at oldcolo.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Cookbooks


On Wed, 23 Sep 1998, Nikki McGeary wrote:

> Greetings, all!  I'm new to the list, though I've been cooking in the

> SCA for a long time.  My question is this:  what period cookbooks,

> SCAdian and otherwise, do you recommend to start a collection for

> preparing feasts and where may I obtain them?  Thank you so much for any

> info!

> Lady Heloise Noailles-les-Brive of the Barony of Bhakail (Philadelphia)


The ones that I would most recommend for someone starting out are Hieatt's

Pleyn Delite (either first or second edition, although second is a little

better) and the new Odile Redon book The Medieval Kitchen.  These books

include the original recipes, tell you quite a bit about Renaissance food

and cooking and dining, and have generally good redactions that you can

work from (note I said "work from" - I doubt I ever actually followed a

recipe exactly in my life, it was quite a trial for my home-ec teachers).


If you want to start working from originals, then The Two Fifteenth

Century Cookbooks and Forme of Curye are great starting places.  And for

the best bang for your buck, you cannot possibly do better than Cariadoc's

cookbook compendium.


But, again, if you are just starting out, I would suggest either the

Hieatt or the Redon - you probably need a little hand-holding until you

get your feet under you.



dragonsspine, outlands



Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2008 14:46:40 -0500 (CDT)

From: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cookbooks for Beginners

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Also what do people suggest for beginner overviews?


Bridget Henisch's _Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society_ is a great



-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa



Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 06:21:05 -0700

From: edoard at medievalcookery.com

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Best cookbook for new SCA cooks


From: "Sharon Gordon" <gordonse at one.net>

<<< Which books would you recommend to cooks new to SCA cooking?  I am thinking

that maximizing foods that were fairly easy to get in the cook's area, and

recipes that could be translated into modern English(or their preferred

language) with the help of a good dictionary would be easiest for starters.

On the other hand there is something to be said for going with the book that

matches their persona's culture as that type of food might interest them the



Which books do you find intrigue your new cooks the most? >>>


I hope you weren't looking for a short answer.  ;-)


For a good introduction to medieval cooking in general, I'd recommend

any of the following.


The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

Terence Scully

Boydell Press

ISBN: 0-85115-430-1


Cooking & Dining in Medieval England

Peter Brears

Prospect Books

ISBN: 1903018552


Cooking in Europe, 1250-1650

Ken Albala

Greenwood Press

ISBN: 0313330964


Early French Cookery

D. Eleanor Scully, Terrence Scully

University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 0-472-088777


Living and Dining in Medieval Paris

Nicole Crossley-Holland

University Of Wales Press

ISBN: 0-7083-1647-6


The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: Cuoco Napoletano

Terence Scully (trans.)

University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 0-472-10972-3


Here's a list of primary sources I'd recommend as starting points.




The so called Harpestreng cookbook [~1300]


Free online version (Danish - Codex K):



Free online version (English translation - Codex Q):








Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books [~1450]


Faulke Watling (ed.), Thomas Austin (ed.)

Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0-85991-849-1


Free online version (Middle English):







Le Viandier de Taillevent [~1350]


Terence Scully (trans.)

University of Ottawa Press

ISBN: 0-7766-0174-1


Free online version (French):



Free online version (English translation):







Das Buch von guter Speise [1354]


Free online version (German):



Free online version (English translation):







Libro di cucina / Libro per cuoco [~1400]


Free online version (Italian):



Free online version (English translation):







Keukenboek (Wel ende edelike spijse) [~1484]


Free online version (Middle Dutch):



Free online version (English translation):



- Doc



From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Questions about cookbooks for



<<< I've been cooking "ethnic" feasts for several years, but am now starting

to cook more period recipes.  Bear once told me "If you can cook middle

eastern, you can cook period" As I read through the Florilegium, and

through posts on here, I see several period authors cited, but I don't

know what the titles of the books are or if they are in print.


This leads me to a list of questions.  If someone was going to buy "period" cookbooks, what would you recommend they buy?   What out of print books

would you recommend they keep an eye out for?  What period cookbooks are

available online?


Auria of Golias

Outlands >>>


For the novice, I would suggest starting with something like Redon, Sabban,

& Serventi, "The Medieval Kitchen" which has transcripts, translations and

worked out recipes.  Or you might try Best's editing of Gervase Markham's

The English Housewife, where you would need to work out the recipes.  As the

price and difficulty go up, decide what you want to do before jumping in.

Yakking with me at the Feast of St. Golias may give you some pointers.


If you want to check out transcriptions of period works, try Thomas

Gloning's website http://www.uni-giessen.de/gloning/kobu.htm .  If you don't

have the language skills to translate the texts, check the Florilegium

www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-MANUSCRIPTS/idxfood-manuscripts.html or David

Friedman's website http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Medieval.html or

get a good dictionary of the language, a decent grammar and a pronunciation

guide so you can try to locate words, phrases and phononyms to produce a

literal translation.  Hint:  finding the translations is a lot easier.


You might also want to check out the Fons Grewe digital collection which has

about 50 digitized texts from the cookbook collection he left the University

of Barcelona.  If the following link doesn't get you the English version of

the page, one of the buttons in the upper right corner of the page will

allow you to select the language.  Unfortunately, it won't translate the

texts. http://mdc.cbuc.cat/cdm/landingpage/collection/fonsgrewe/lang/en_US


There appear to be some problems with Martha Carlin's webpage or I would add

it as a pointer to a number of translations.


I'm thinking of donating some pan peppato to the feast this year.  Wanna try





<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org