Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


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

DYKIP-Food-art - 5/29/09


"Did You Know It's Period? - Modern Medieval Food" by HL Rowan Houndskeeper.


NOTE: See also the files: easy-p-recip-msg, pasta-msg, Redacting-art, Bev-f-Hot-Day-art, Orng-Lmn-drks-art, cheese-msg, meatballs-msg, ginger-msg.





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



This article was first published in "The Barge", the newsletter of the Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir.


Did You Know It's Period?

Modern Medieval Food

by HL Rowan Houndskeeper


A lot of people seem afraid to try medieval cooking.  I occasionally hear comments along the lines of:  "People won't like it, it's not familiar," "Medieval food tastes weird, and it's over-spiced."  Then there is the very common complaint: "The medieval recipes never tell me how much to use!"


But many of our so called "modern" dishes are actually quite ancient.  This article is the first in a planned series that I hope will help to dispel these particular myths that surround medieval cooking and encourage new cooks to try actual period recipes rather than relying on "period-esque" type foods for feasts.  This same set of recipes and articles might also be useful as part of local education demonstrations to introduce the general public to documented period food rather than either Hollywood or Renn Fair interpretations of "medieval" food.  I hope that everyone gets a chance to see that medieval food can be easy, tasty, and actually very familiar.


To start off the series of "modern" medieval foods - three recipes that together allow us to serve up a simple dinner and, with the addition of apples and bread, can easily be used for a lunch inn at an event:  Makerouns from Forme of Cury (English, 14th c.), Skinless Sausages from the Koge Bog (Danish, 1616), and Syrup of Lemon from the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook (13th c.).


For these recipes I have included the original period recipe as well as a redacted version in my best "Betty Crocker Cookbook" style so that you can begin to see how the period recipes are worked out into modern versions.


Hopefully you will try your hand at making a few medieval dishes ­– perhaps as a feast steward for an upcoming event, for a party at the next war, or maybe just for dinner at home.



Makerouns = Buttered Noodles with Cheese (Mac-and-Cheese)

Take and make a thynne foyle of dowh, and kerue it on pieces, and cast hym on boiling water & seeþ it wele. Take chese and grate it, and butter imelte, cast bynethen and abouven as losyns; and serue forth.

The Forme of Cury (14th c. English)



Take a piece of thin pastry dough and cut it in pieces, place in boiling water and cook. Take grated cheese, melted butter, and arrange in layers like lasagna; serve.



2 c dry egg noodles

2 Tbsp melted butter

2-4 Tbsp grated cheese (I suggest mixed Parmesan and Romano)


Boil noodles until tender (al dente) as per the package. Drain well.  Thoroughly mix noodles with melted butter, ensuring that all noodles are evenly coated with butter.  Generously sprinkle cheese on top of noodles and serve while still warm.


For a slightly fancier dish, make several layers in your serving platter of the buttered noodles topped with different types of cheese for each layer (e.g. Cheddar, Gouda, and Romano). You can substitute freshly made pasta from your pasta maker for the egg noodles if you are feeling ambitious.


Pasta noodles in some form (using various types of flours) date back to the BC era in China, were available in India and Persia under various names, and had reached Italy by around the 11th century.  This 14th century English recipe for medieval Mac-n-Cheese advises preparing is like "losyns" (lasagna) with layered noodles, butter, and cheese.  This should imply to you there is a medieval lasagna type dish that may be presented in some future article (but remember there's no tomato sauce during our period). J


Skinless sausages = Meatballs

XLIX. Klotser eller P┐lser uden Skind.

Hack Morbrad smaa/lad der vdi Eg met Salt/Peber/Ingefer/Saphran/om du vilt/Elt dette/oc gi┐r dennem trinde. Leg dennem saa i reent siudendis Vand/at de der vdi vel siude/oc giff dem op met samme Saad.

               Koge Bog (1616, Danish)



XLIX. Balls or skinless sausages.

Finely chop fillet of beef. Add egg with salt, pepper, ginger, saffron if you want. Mix this and make them round. Then put them in clean boiling water that they boil well in there, and serve them up with the same broth.



1 lb lean ground beef

1 egg

6 cups beef broth

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger, including the "juice" obtained from grating

(Note: powdered ginger doesn't work)


Place broth in a large soup pot over heat.  Mix together beef, egg, and spices.  Once thoroughly mixed make ~3oz meatballs using a standard ice cream scoop.  Carefully drop meatballs into broth.  Bring broth to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Boil meatballs for ~20-30 minutes until done (they will float to the top of the broth).


Meatballs of pork, beef, or lamb are actually quite common in medieval recipe collections and appear in the medieval cookbooks of many cultures and time periods.  Many however also include fruit (currants, raisins, or dates) which, although are quite tasty, may seem a bit odd at first to modern palates.


Syrup of Lemon = Lemonade

Take lemon, after peeling its outer skin, press it and take a ratl of juice, and add as much of sugar. Cook it until it takes the form of a syrup. Its advantages are for the heat of bile; it cuts the thirst and binds the bowels.

               The Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook (13th c. Spanish)



2 c lemon juice (either purchased or fresh squeezed from ~12 large lemons)

2 c sugar

2 c water


Boil sugar, lemon juice, and water together in an adequately sized pot for ~15 minutes to obtain a thin syrup.  This syrup should be diluted 1:2 with cold water to form lemonade.  


The original recipe doesn't mention if this drink is served hot or cold.  Served undiluted as a warm syrup it is actually quite tasty as a hot, refreshing alternative to herbal teas. Dilute it as directed above and you have period lemonade.  Although dilution is not mentioned in the original recipe, most of the other herb or fruit syrup drinks in the same source do mention diluting with water.  Therefore this is a reasonable interpretation of the original recipe.  If there is any question about how "modern" this recipe is - a recipe nearly identical to the original period one can be found in The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook (1989) on p. 470.


               The syrup of lemon recipe was originally redacted by and is available in Cariadoc's Miscellany.




Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.


Koge Bog: Containing a hundred useful pieces, which are about brewing, baking, cooking, aquavit and mead to make, as is useful in house holding &c. which before not in our Danish Language is issued in print. Printed in Copenhagen, by
Salomone Sartorio, 1616.
Translated by M. Forest at



An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the Thirteenth Century. Translated by Charles Perry  at www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Andalusian/andalusian_contents.htm


Cariadoc's Miscellany: A Collection of Medieval Recipes, 9th edition. Cariadoc and Elizabeth (David Friedman and Betty Cook) at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/miscellany.html


The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. New York: Hearst Books, 1989.


Copyright 2008 by Teresa Roberts, 9900 Juniper Ct. St Louis MO 63123. <tkroberts at toast.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible 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