Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

fd-East-Eur-msg – 7/3/05


Period food of Eastern Europe. Recipe sources. References.


NOTE: See also the files: East-Eur-msg, fd-Hungary-msg, fd-Poland-msg, fd-Russia-msg, fd-Greece-msg, Hungary-msg, Poland-msg, Gypsies-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: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 14:11:31 EST

From: Varju at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Re: eastern European fare


LrdRas at aol.com writes:

<< Actually it's not at all clear whether there is documentation or not.

Historically these countries were heavily influenced by al-Islam which is a

continuing influence behind the problems in this region in the Current

Middle Ages. I would be hesitant to say rhat their is no documentation.>>


I first want to start by saying to Ras that I am not disputing this very true

statement, I am only trying to narrow it down to avoid any confusion.

Heaven knows the history of the region is complicated enough without any help.



The influence of the middle and near east, in the form of the Ottoman Turks,

was the strongest in the Balkans (Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, and

Croatia) as well as Romania because they came under Turkish rule relatively

early.  In contrast Hungary did not come under Turkish rule until relatively

late (after the battle of Mohacs in 1527) so the influence on cuisine, as was

pointed out to me here probably did not occur until outside our period. The

modern Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia) and Poland were never invaded by

the Ottoman Turks so they never had that type of influence.  Slovakia, while

it was a part of the medieval kingdom of Hungary was not a part that was

conquered by the Turks so that influence would be lacking there also.


As I mentioned before, I know for sure that there are collections of period

recipes that are in Hungary.  The question is not of access but of language,

because anyone can go to the Szechenyi library and request them, they just are

not in English and have never been fully translated. (George Lang includes

several translated recipes from two manuscripts in _Cuisine of Hungary_)  I

believe that will hold true of most of the states of Eastern Europe, that the

documents are there and not been translated, not through any political reason,

just that it has not been done.  (The states that came out of the former

Yugoslavia may be an exception, there the documents may have been destroyed

during the continued conflict.)  I think it is one area where national

sentiment may have been useful, in that these documents would have been

saved because they represented a piece of the national identity.







Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 14:11:25 EST

From: Varju at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Re: eastern European fare


chickengoddess at mindspring.com writes:

<< Stew cultures are those whose primary method of

preparing food was as a stew, and whose primary method of service of these

stews was that the family or other grouping ate from a communal pot. >>


At least for Hungary this is a bit of a stretch.  There are some period

descriptions of what the Magyars ate while they were raiding, which was

usually a stew of some sort eaten out of a communal pot, but that was

traveling food, not what you would eat every day.  I'm also not sure how

going from anthropological slant would help much, I would personally find an

archeological slant more helpful since it would look at the actual cooking

utensils and related items.


And there are some documentably period recipes for Hungary, they just aren't

in English, which I think is probably true of all parts of Eastern Europe.





Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 02:46:18 EST

From: Varju at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Re: eastern European fare


ddfr at best.com writes:

<< Actually, I believe a few, late period Hungarian recipes were published,

in English, in a book on Hungarian cooking. >>


Yep. . .silly me. . .there are a few in _Cuisine of Hungary _ by George






Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 13:08:19 EST

From: Varju at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Re: eastern European fare


ddfr at best.com writes:

<< Also, there is supposed to be a Hungarian manuscript c. 1400, although I

have no idea if it has ever been published, and am pretty sure it has not

been translated. >>


Again it gets mention in _Cuisine of Hungary_ and George Lang provides a

translation of the Savanyu Vetrece (Sour Vetrece), which I'm still working

on the redaction for.





Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 22:38:09 -0800

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] An Early Romanian Cookbook


An eastern European acquaintance recently sent me a copy of an early

Romanian cookbook. As best I can figure out, with the help of a

friend who knows some Romanian, it probably dates from the end of the

17th century. That's pretty late but, given how little we have from

eastern Europe, still interesting.


I have webbed a few pages of it as part of my project to find

translators for previously untranslated cookbooks. They are at:




David Friedman

Professor of Law

Santa Clara University

ddfr at best.com




Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 14:07:04 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Pixel, Goddess and Queen" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Romanian period recipes


This collection, which I found last night while researching 12th Night,

has some articles that might be useful. I didn't pay a huge whole lot of

attention, but there was a lot of stuff on Eastern Europe (which is why I

didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it) and I distinctly remember

Moldavia showing up in a title. So it may or may not be helpful.


Food in change : eating habits from the Middle Ages to the present

day / edited by Alexander Fenton and Eszter Kisb=E1n.

Published: Edinburgh : John Donald Publishers in association with the

National Museums of Scotland ; Atlantic Highlands, N.J. : Distribution by

Humanities Press, c1986.

Description: viii, 166 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.

Contributors: Fenton, Alexander. Kisb=E1n, Eszter.

International Conference on Ethnological Food Research 5th (1983 :

M=E1traf=FCred, Hungary)

Notes: "Essays based on contribution to the Fifth International Conference

on Ethnological Food Research, organised by the Institute of Ethnology of

the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, at M=E1traf=FCred ... Hungary, in October


Includes bibliographies.

ISBN 0859761452





Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 16:39:00 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Romanian period recipes


I own this and I can find it!!!

And no it's not going to solve your problems.

The Romanian article is 18th and early 19th centuries.


Johnna Holloway  Johnnae


"Pixel, Goddess and Queen" wrote:> snipped

> This collection, which I found last night while researching 12th Night,

> has some articles that might be useful. ... I distinctly remember

> Moldavia showing up in a title. So it may or may not be helpful.>

> Food in change : eating habits from the Middle Ages to the present

> day / edited by Alexander Fenton and Eszter Kisb=E1n.



Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 13:36:02 -0500

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

Subject: [Sca-cooks] FW: paprika and spikenard

To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Cc: "'Charles.Perry at latimes.com'" <Charles.Perry at latimes.com>


While most secondary sources credit the Turks with bringing paprika peppers

to Hungary, the possibility that they came through the Croatian spice

traders can't be ruled out.  The Turkish claim is based mostly on the timing

of the incursions of the 1520's and the presumption that peppers came to the

Ottomans from Spain via the Venetians then were brought into Central Europe

by Ottoman troops.  


The Ragusans were active competitors with the Venetians during the 15th and

16th Centuries.  Historically, the area was ruled by Hungary from the 12th

to the 16th Century when it came under Ottoman control. Dubrovnik proper

was controlled by the Venetians from 1205 to 1358, when it was ceded to

Hungary.  There is a connection to Spain in that some of the spice merchants

were Jewish and took in refugees from the Marrano persecutions in Spain.  


There is a new book, that I am looking forward to reading, from the Central

European University Press, The Long Journey of Gracia Mendes, which ties to

all of these subjects during 1510 to 1569.  The author is Marianna D.

Birnbaum, Professor Emeritus from, wonder of wonders, UCLA.


I am interested in reading the thesis and I hope Mr. Perry would be so kind

as to provide a bibliographic citation that can be used to find copies.


As a small point for anyone chasing references to Ragusa, there are two

Ragusas.  One is Dubrovnik, the other is a town in Sicily.





I just received this by email and thought some of you might

be interested as we have discussed both of these items here before.


I am in fact honored to have gotten this email, for if my

guess is correct, this is the same Charles Perry and his book

which have been previously mentioned on this list.


Perhaps some of you studying eastern Europe or the Balkans

might want to check out this thesis. Bear?




-----Original Message-----

From: Perry, Charles [mailto:Charles.Perry at latimes.com]

Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 5:54 PM

To: Mark.S Harris

Subject: paprika and spikenard


        I just came across a collection of historical spice

threads collected by you. I had two observations to

contribute, didn't know where else to send them.


        Paprika: -ika is a Slavic suffix used on plant names;

paprika means "pepper plant." It was not introduced to

Hungary by the Turks but by Croatian merchants from Ragusa

(now Dubrovnik). There is a thesis on file at UCLA on this

subject, complete with maps of the spice routes through the Balkans.

        Spikenard: It has a musky, resinous scent, and its

commonest use throughout history has been as a hair tonic or

perfume (it is still probably used for that purpose -- I

suspect its presence in Vitalis), but occasionally it has

flavored foods and beverages. My translation of the

14th-century Arabic cookbook "Kitab Wasf al-At'ima

al-Mu'tada" (in "Medieval Arab Cookery," Prospect Books,

2001) gives some recipes that call for it. At present,

spikenard is available at markets that sell Iranian food

products. It comes in little cellophane packages -- looking

like a tangle of brown wires -- under the name "valerian." In

Perso-Arab script, however, the packages call it by its

Arabic name, "sunbul al-tib," "fragrant spikenard."



<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