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DYKIP-Veg-Frt-art - 6/2/09


"Did You Know It's Period? Part 2 - Vegetables and Fruits" by HL Rowan Houndskeeper.


NOTE: See also the files: DYKIP-Food-art, easy-p-recip-msg, fruits-msg, Redacting-art, raw-fruit-vg-msg, vegetables-msg, peas-msg, greens-msg, apples-msg, salads-msg, Summer-Salad-art.





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?  Part II: Vegetables and Fruits

by HL Rowan Houndskeeper


Continuing the previous article's discussion on medieval foods that are easy, tasty, and actually very "modern", in Part II we cover recipes for several vegetable and fruit dishes.


There are two main things to remember about fruits and vegetables in period cooking.


1)  Unless dried, pickled, or otherwise preserved, fruits and vegetables were only available seasonally. There was no fresh asparagus in the winter or fresh peach pie in the spring.


2)  New World plants were not available for most of our period.  


A few New World items started to appear (usually as "novelty" foods) on the menus of the rich in the late medieval/renaissance period, but before 1492 they were not available at all in Europe.  So make sure that the fruits and vegetables you select are all European, Asian, or other Old World varieties.  New World vegetables to be wary of include corn (maize), potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (the hot or sweet varieties of the Capsicum genus), and most of our common bean varieties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolus" title=Phaseolus>Phaseolus genus including lima, butter, navy, kidney, black, pinto, and the standard french green bean P. vulgaris).  Confusion can occur because Europeans used words such as corn, peppers, green beans, etc., in their recipes, but they weren't referring to the same plants that we as Americans use these words for today.


Pesen = Peas

Perry of pesoun.  Take pesoun and seth hem fast, and couere hem, til thei berst; thenne take hem up and col hem thugh a cloth.  Take oynouns and mynce hem, and seeth hem in the same sewe, and oile therewith; cast therto sugar, salt and safroun, and seeth hem wel therafter, and serue hem forth.

               Form of Cury (14th c. English)



Perry of Peas.  Take peas and boil them covered till they burst; then drain through a cloth.  Take onions and mince them, and boil them in the same soup with some oil. Then add sugar, salt and saffron and boil [all ingredients together], and serve them.



2 lbs fresh shelled (or frozen) peas

2 small onions, minced

3 Tbls olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

pinch of saffron (optional)


Place peas and onions in a pot with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, add olive oil, salt and sugar.  Cook until peas are tender. Drain and serve  


The nursury rhyme "peas porage hot, peas porage coldÉ" may be Victorian, but peas were a common vegetable dish in Europe during our period, with numerous recipes available.  This is perhaps a little looser of a redaction than some of the previous recipes we presented - the original suggests that this dish may have been more of a pottage of mashed peas (due to the "boil them till they burst" line in the original recipe).  This would produce a dish similar to some modern English methods of serving "mushy" peas as a side to roast beef.  


Apple Muse = Applesauce

Apple Muse.

Take Appelys an sethe hem, an Serge hem thorwe a Sefe in-to a potte; thanne take Almaunde Mylke & Hony, an caste ther-to, an gratid Brede, Safroun, Saunderys, & Salt a lytil, & caste all in the potte & lete hem sethe; & loke that thou stere it wyl, & serue it forth.

               Two Fifteenth Century Cook Books (15th c. English)



Take apples and boil them, and pass them through a strainer into a pot; then add almond milk and honey, and grated bread, saffron, sandalwood, and a little salt and put all in a pot and let it boil, stirring it well, and serve it forth.



6 large apples

1/2 c honey

1 c almond milk

bread crumbs

spices as desired (cinnamon, saffron, etc)


Boil apples until soft, then drain.  Mash in a food processor until smooth.  Place in a large soup pot and add almond milk, honey, and spices. Cook on low stirring every few minutes until completely hot, add bread crumbs to thicken to desired consistency.


Applesauce seems to be another one of those extremely common recipes across European cultures.  Some of the recipes are quite simple, such as the Koge Bog (Danish 1616) recipe that basically calls for diced apples to be boiled with sugar.  Others are more complex like the Vivendier (French 15th c.) recipe that calls for the apples to be sautŽed in butter after they have been boiled – in effect cooking the apples twice.  In addition, while many of the period recipes, such as those presented here, are quite similar to the modern recipe for fresh applesauce, there are other period applesauce recipes that might seem very odd to the modern diner.  An example of this type is the Wel ende edelike spijse (Dutch 15th c.) recipe for "Applesauce in Lent" that calls for fish liver as one of the ingredients.


I leave it to you to experiment with your own redactions of the Danish and French applesauce recipes presented here (below) to see if you believe them to be different enough from the English recipe that you might like them better.


Two Other Period Applesauce Recipes

Pour faire amplummus:  prenez pommes pelleez et copez par morceaulx, puis mis boullir en belle esve fresce; et quant il sont bien cuis, purez l'esve hors nettement, puis les suffrisiez en beau bure fres; ayez cresme douce et moyeulx d'oels bien batus, saffren et sel egalment; et au dreschier canelle et chucquere largement pardessus.

               The Vivendier: A Fifteenth-Century French Cookery Manuscript (15th c. French)



To make an Apple Sauce: Get peeled apples, cut into pieces, then set to boil in pure fresh water. When they are thoroughly cooked, drain off all of the water and sautŽ them in good fresh butter; get fresh cream and well beaten egg yolks and saffron, and salt judiciously. When serving, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over top.


XLII. Eblegr¿d.

Sk¾r Eblene smaa/lad dennem siude met lidet Vand/lad der saa Sucker paa.

               Koge Bog (1616 Danish)                                                                                                        



XLII. Apple stew.

Cut apples finely. Let them seethe with a little water and add sugar.


Salat = Salad

78. Salat. Take persel, sawge, grene garlec, chibolles, letys, leek, spinoches, borage, myntes, prymos, violettes, porrettes, fenel, and toun cressis, rew, rosemarye, purslarye; laue and waishe hem clene. Pike hem. Pluk hem small wiþ þyn honde, and myng hem wel with rawe oile; lay on vyneger and salt, and serue it forth.

               Form of Cury (14th c. English)



78. Salad. Take parsley, sage, green garlic, scallions, lettuce, leek, spinach, borage, mints, primroses, violets, "porrettes," fennel, and garden cress, rue, rosemary, purslane; rinse and wash them clean. Peel them. Tear them into small pieces with your hands, and mix them well with raw oil; lay on vinegar and salt, and serve.



Take as you have available: leaf lettuce, spinach, parsley, sage, mint, fennel, cress, rosemary, garlic, scallions, green onions, chives, leeks, borage, purslane, organic violets, and/or any other herbs or editable flowers you have.  Wash them and chop them fine.  Dress with a little salt and an oil and vinegar dressing.


This period recipe is basically a lettuce and spinach salad containing various fresh greens, herbs, and editable flowers. Use only fresh herbs!  A couple of other notes: 1) use only leaf lettuce varieties such as romaine, red lacey, etc. – iceberg lettuce is not period.  2) porrettes is translated by some as green onions, scallions, or young leeks – use any or all as you have available.  3) also note that I do not recommend using rue, as in the original recipe, because it can induce labor in pregnant women, and many people have a dermatitis reaction to the leaf oils of the plant.


Like applesauce and peas, there are a large number of period salad recipes from nearly every culture across our time period, most of which seem to call for an oil and vinegar dressing.  The basic redaction for all of these recipes boils down to take what leaf lettuce and other greens you have (such as spinach, cress, endive, or mustard), add fresh herbs (such as mint, parsley, thyme, or sage), and sometimes add nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts) or fruit (such as raisins, oranges, or lemons) or possibly other vegetables (such as cucumbers or pea pods), or add hard boiled eggs or cheese, or even flowers (organic editable varieties only – and make sure they have not been exposed to pesticides), then dress your salad with a simple vinaigrette.  Of course, this is pretty much how we make salads today.  For comparison against the Form of Cury (English 14th c.) recipe above, I've included three other period recipes for you to play with.  But in the end, salad is salad, whether medieval or modern.


Other Period Sallet Recipes

On Preparing Lettuce

É It is eaten cooked or raw. Raw lettuce does not need to be washed if it is prepared in this way for they are more healthful than what has been washed in water; put in a dish, sprinkle with ground salt, and a little oil and pour a little more vinegar and eat it right away. There are those who add a little mint and parsley to this preparation so that it does not seem too bland and the excessive chill of the lettuce does not harm the stomach.

Platina: On Honest Indulgence (1475, Venice)


On Preparing a Salad of Several Greens

A preparation of several greens is made with lettuce, bugloss, mint, catmint, fennel, parsley, sisymbrium, origan, chervil, cicerbita which doctors call teraxicon, plantain, morella, and several other fragarant greens, well washed and pressed and put in a large dish. Sprinkle them with a good deal of salt and blend with oil; it should be eaten and well chewed because wild greens are tough. This sort of salad needs a little more oil than vinegar. It is more suitable in winter than in summer, because it requires much digestion and is stronger in winter.

Platina: On Honest Indulgence (1475, Venice)


To Make a Sallet of All Kinds of Herbs.

Take your herbs and pick them very fine into faire water and pick your flowers by themselves.  Wash them all clean and swing them in a strainer and when you put them in a dish, mingle them with cucumbers or lemons, pared and sliced. And scrape sugar, and put in vinegar and oil, and throw the flowers on the top of the sallet, and garnish the dish about of every sort of the aforesaid things and hard eggs, boiled and laid about the dish and upon the sallat.

The Good Huswifes Jewell (1596, English)




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


Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. Austin, Thomas. The Early English Text Society by N. TrŸbner & Co., 1888.


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 www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/cooking/1616.html


The Vivendier: A Fifteenth-Century French Cookery Manuscript. Scully, Terence. Prospect Books. 1998. via website at  http://recipes.medievalcookery.com/applemuse.html


Platina. On Honest Indulgence (De Honesta Voluptatae). A little work on foods and honest indulgence by the very learned man Platina: Printed with the work and care of Father Laurentius de Aguila for the Distinguished Duke Peter Mocenicus. Venice, 1475. Evans, Susan J. Falconwood Press. 1989.


The Good Housewifes's Jewel. by Thomas Dawson, 1596. with an introduction by Maggie Black.  Southover Press. 1996.


Wel ende edelike spijse: manuscript UB Gent 1035. translated by Christianne Muusers  at  http://www.coquinaria.nl/kooktekst/Edelikespijse0.htm


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