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cookbooks2-bib - 9/3/97


Cookbook bibliography by Stephen Bloch. (mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib)


NOTE: See also the files: 16thC-cookbk-bib, cb-novices-msg, cookbooks-msg, cb-rv-Apicius-msg, cb-rv-Platina-msg, Harpstrang-cb-msg, p-Italy-food-bib.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



From: Stephen Bloch <sbloch at adl15.adelphi.edu>

Subject: books on medieval cooking

To: markh at risc.sps.mot.com

Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 09:54:11 -0400 (EDT)


I was just looking through old mail messages, and came across the

following that I sent to a lady who was looking for sources.  I thought

some of it might be a useful addition to your Florilegium file on

medieval cookbooks.


                                      mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib

                                                 Stephen Bloch

                                           sbloch at panther.adelphi.edu


                                        Math/CS Dept, Adelphi University



Sources for medieval cooking break down into several categories:

1) primary sources, perhaps translated and/or reprinted

2) modern cooks' interpretations of primary sources (at varying places

along the scale from "popular" to "scholarly")

3) modern cooks' inventions based on vaguely medieval ideas.

Eventually you'll probably want to work mainly with (1), but if you're

new at this you should start with (2), bearing in mind that some modern

cooks do more careful interpretations than others.  Avoid (3).  I

generally lump into category (3) any purportedly "medieval" cookbook

that doesn't include the original text of a recipe.


An infamous example of (3) is Madeleine Pelner Cosman's _Fabulous Feasts_,

which unfortunately is put out by a fairly major publisher and widely

available in inexpensive paperback.  Some of the  recipes are

recognizable as particular medieval recipes, some are "plausibly

medieval" but no other scholar in the world has seen an actual medieval

recipe for them, and some are total nonsense.  (For example, the

infamous "pears, cranberries, and lentils" dish, or the bread with

parsley, celery seed, rosemary, and thyme mixed into the dough -- tasty

enough, but a pure figment of Cosman's imagination).  None of her

recipes is cited as based on a particular medieval source, so you can't

check the accuracy of her interpretations, there's just a lengthy

bibliography of inaccessible manuscripts she claims to have looked at.


Some relatively popular, yet accurate, examples of (2) are


(a) _Pleyn Delit_ by Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler, ISBN

0-8020-6366-7, University of Toronto Press 1976.  Many, many SCA cooks

have this.  It provides each medieval recipe in its original spelling

and wording, followed by a modern interpretation with quantities, then

notes on why certain decisions were made in that interpretation.  Each

recipe is cited to a particular medieval source, often a particular

recipe number.


(b) the second edition of same, with added author Brenda Hosington,

ISBN 0-8020-7632-7, University of Toronto Press 1996.  The second

edition contains more recipes, as well as corrections to those in the

first edition: while the first edition was based largely on 18th- and

19th- century editions of the primary sources, the second is based on

personal examination of the original manuscripts, which include

English, French, Italian, Catalan, and (in one case) Baghdadi.  And, of

course, the field of medieval cookery has learned a lot in the

intervening twenty years.


(c) _To the King's Taste_, by Lorna J. Sass, ISBN 0-312-80748-1, St.

Martin's/Marek 1975.  Again, many many SCA cooks have this.  Sass gives

each medieval recipe in its original spelling and wording, then a

literal translation to modern English, then a modern interpretation

with quantities.  Unlike _Pleyn Delit_, this book takes all its recipes

from one source, a 19th-century edition of 15th-century English

manuscripts entitled _Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books_ (see below).


In the SCA you should have no trouble finding


(d) Cariadoc-and-Elizabeth's _Miscellany_ (self-published, with a new

edition everey year or two).  Only about a third of this book is

concerned with cookery -- the rest consists of poems, stories, articles

about other arts and sciences, and essays about Cariadoc's (or rather,

David's) views on authenticity in the SCA -- but that portion includes

about 200 medieval recipes (in translation, where the original language

is not some form of English) each followed by a modern interpretation

with quantities.


Straddling the border between category (2) and category (1) are


(e) _An Ordinance of Pottage_ by Constance B. Hieatt, ISBN

0-907325-38-6, Prospect Books 1988.  This time Dr. Hieatt restricts

herself to editing one 15th-century English manuscript. In the first

half of the book she gives each recipe in the original, then in the

second half gives modern interpretations with quantities of many (not

all) of the recipes.


(f) _The Viandier of Taillevent_ by Terence Scully, ISBN 0-7766-0174-1,

University of Ottawa Press 1988.  This is a scholarly edition of "all

extant manuscripts" of a particular 14th-century French cookbook.

Scully gives the medieval French without translation, pointing out

differences in wordings among the manuscripts,  then in an appendix

gives modern interpretations with quantities of a few of the recipes.


Some other reasonably widely available sources don't even try to give

modern interpretations:


(g) _Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books_, ed. Thomas Austin, ISBN

0-8115-0148-5, Early English Text Society 1888 reprinted 1964.


(h) _A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke_, ed. John L. Anderson, LC

62-15109, Charles Scribner's Sons 1962.  Excerpted from the same

source, this book actually predates both the SCA and the current

interest in medieval cookery.  The illustrations of medieval life and

costume are laughable, but the recipes seem to be accurately copied from

(g) above.


(i) _Curye on Inglysch_, ed. Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler,

ISBN 0-19-722409-1, Early English Text Society 1985. Hieatt and Butler

strike again, with scholarly editions of the recipes in five

14th-century English manuscripts.


(j) Cariadoc's _Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks_

(self-published, with a new edition every year or two). The first

volume, which has been static for about ten years, includes half-sized

photocopies of several medieval and Renaissance cookbooks that were

translated and printed, but not widely accessible when David started

this project.  Some of them are now back in print and should be bought

from real live publishers.  The second volume, which changes every year

or two, consists of translations done at David's request by dozens of

people, inside the SCA and out, including me.


(k) _On Honest Indulgence (De honesta voluptate)_, Platina, reprinted by

Falconwood Press.  This is an English translation (the translator is not

credited, nor even dated) of a 1475 Italian cookbook.


There are also a number of (good and bad) books which, while not

primarily books of recipes, discuss medieval cookery.


(l) _Early French Cookery_ by D. Eleanor Scully and Terence Scully, ISBN

0-472-10648-1, University of Michigan Press 1995.  The authors describe

the general features of medieval French cookery with the aid of c. 100

recipes from various sources, reprinted in the original French and

provided with modern interpretations.


(m) _Food and Drink in Britain from the Stone Age to the 19th Century_,

C. Anne Wilson, ISBN 0-89733-364-0, Academy Chicago Publishers 1991

(based on a first edition of 1973).  The title says it all.


(n) _A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food Processing and Consumption_, Ann

Hagen, ISBN 0-9516209-8-3, Anglo-Saxon Books 1992.  A compilation of

what little knowledge is available about food production, preparation,

and cconsumption in pre-Conquest Britain.


(o) _A Medieval Home Companion_, tr. and ed. Tania Bayard, ISBN

0-06-016654-1, Harper Collins 1991.  This is a translation of a good

fraction of the _Menagier de Paris_, a late 14th-century French book of

housekeeping tips, including some recipes.


(p) _Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society_, Bridget Ann Henish, ISBN

0-271-00424-X, Pennsylvania State University 1976.  A good (for twenty

years ago) survey of medieval customs relating to food.


(q) _Food and Feast in Medieval England_, P.W. Hammond, ISBN

0-86299-794-1, Alan Sutton Publishing 1993.  My grandparents gave me

this as a birthday present a few years ago, and I haven't done much with

it yet, but it looks like a good survey of medieval English customs

relating to food.


(r) _Food in History_, Reay Tannahill, ISBN 0-8128-1437-1, Stein and Day

Publishers, 1973.  This book doesn't concentrate on the Middle Ages, but

gives a reasonably good macroscopic view of the history of food.


(s) _The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages_, Terence Scully, ISBN

0-85115-611-8, Boydell Press 1995.  Another survey of medieval customs

relating to food, including medieval medical theories, Lenten

regulations, etc.


Sources get more common for later periods, of course, and I've omitted

some that concentrate on the 17th century.  There are also reprintings

of various other medieval cookbooks available, if you know where to look,

but this should keep you busy for a few years :-)



Permission granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the

author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<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