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White-Mash-art - 11/20/99


A white pudding redacted from several recipes in various translations of the oldest western cookbook, the Harpestraeng manuscript. Written by Jean Holtom (Elysant de Holtham).


NOTE: See also the files: frumenty-msg, puddings-msg, dairy-prod-msg, eggs-msg, Harpstrang-cb-msg, rice-msg, grains-msg, rice-pudding-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: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 00:13:19 EST

From: Elysant at aol.com

Subject: SC - SC: REC "White Mash" from the Harpestraeng MS


On November 11, Adamantius said:

>> You'll have heard this spoken of under the generic name Harpestraeng,

>> author and/or early owner/copyist of an early 13th-century cookery

>> manuscript. Examples occur in Denmark and Germany, and, later, IIRC, in

>> Iceland (15th century?).


To which Stefan responded:

>We recently had a fairly long discussion on this cookbook, including some

>of the recipes included in it and the various versions. I've made some of

>this available as this new file in the FOOD-BOOKS section of my Florilegium:

>Harpstrang-cb-msg (34K) 10/19/99    The Harpestraeng cookbook. The oldest

>cookbook in the Western world.


Recently, I was asked to contribute a dish to a local canton event lunch

board.  I decided it would be fun to take one of the recipes from the

Harpestraeng manuscript - a dish Ana had mentioned a few months ago here on

the list ("White 'Mouse'" or "Mash"), and to redact and serve it at the



It's a really simple little dish, but I wanted to do it properly, and to

provide documentation that would be educational as well as interesting.  So I

contacted my friend Nanna and she provided me with the existing fragments of

the recipe from the Danish (2 versions), Icelandic, and German (incomplete)

manuscripts.  She also provided the English translations for me.  :-)


I examined and worked from all four versions for the redaction, and also, out

of interest, reviewed a modern Danish redaction of the recipe Nanna also

included.  I passed the redaction by Lord Ras, did a trial run of the dish,

made some minor adjustments, and then cooked it for the event.


The dish as well received.  It turned out to be a semolina type consistency,

bland yet flavourful, and delicious served warm with butter and cinnamon.  In

particular, two diabetic gentles were quite taken with it, as it has no sugar

and they could eat a nice portion of it without any guilt. The only thing I

wish is that I could have encouraged more gentles to try it, and so I could

share with them the history of the dish.  Sadly,  there were many more modern

and richer dishes on the table (several OOP) alongside the "White Mash", and

the gentles' eyes and appetites were unfortunately drawn to those vs this

little dish. :-(


Here is the documentation.


"White Mash"

by Jean Holtom (Elysant de Holtham)


This dish is one of the recipes from the surviving fragments of a manuscript,

written probably in Provence or Languedoc, in France, in the early 13th

century.  The actual origin of the recipes appears to be Mediterranean.  The

manuscript was translated from French into Danish, German, and Icelandic

during the Middle Ages.  The various manuscripts have 35 recipes combined, in

various versions.


Here are the recipes for the dish from the three translations (there are two

Danish translations included):


1.  Danish, around 1300, the manuscript written by Knud Jul, a monk at Sor¿:


"Quomodo temperetur cibus qui uocatur hwit moos

Man skal tak¾ s¿tmi¾lk, oc v¾l writhet hwetebr¿dth. oc slaghn¾ ¾g. oc w¾l

writh¾t safran. oc lat¾ th¾t w¾ll¾ til th¾t warth¾r thiuct. Sithen lath¾ th¾t

upp .a. dysk. oc kast¾ .i. sm¿r. oc str¿ .a. pulu¾r af kani¾l. Th¾t het¾r



Modern English Translation

(translation by Nanna Ršgnvaldard—ttir - SCA-Cooks list member from Iceland)


"One shall take sweet milk and finely crumbled wheat bread and beated eggs

and finely crushed saffron and let boil until thickened. Then pour it on a

plate and throw butter in and strew with ground cinnamon. That is called

white mash."


1a.  Danish, 14th century:


"M¾n scul¾a tak¾ s¿¿t mialk oc lat¾ th¾r i smul¾th hw¾th br¿th. oc slagh¾n

¾gg¾. oc stamp¾th safran og lat¾a th¾t siuth¾ e til th¾t thiukk¾s. oc s¾tt¾

th¾t sith¾n vp. oc lat¾ th¾r sm¿r i og lat¾ th¾r vp a pulu¾r af cinamomum

stith¾n th¾t cum¾r a disk. tha mugh¾ m¾n th¾t ¾t¾."


Modern English Translation

(translation by Nanna Ršgnvaldard—ttir - SCA-Cooks list member from Iceland)


"One shall take sweet milk and add it to crumbled wheat bread and beaten eggs

and pounded saffron and let it boil until thickened.  And then put it up and

add butter to it and strew it with ground cinnamon when it is on a plate.

Then one can eat it.


2.  From the German Wiswe manuscript - 15th century - (some pieces missing)


62. Item me sal <adhg>nemen</adhg> de ghespeckede melk unde dech, de ghemaket

sy van mele unde saffran unde eigere unde [...]. Dyt heytet gloide melk.


3.  Icelandic, late 15th century:


"Quomodo temperetur cibus dicitur hwit mos.

Madur skal taka s¾ta miolk ok vel stappat hveiti braud. ok slegit egg ok vel

malit. S¾fran. ok lata ßat vella alltt saman til ßess verdur ßycktt. Sidan

lati ßat upp aa disk ok kasti j smiorvi. ßetta heitir hvitinos."


Modern English Translation

(translation by Nanna Ršgnvaldard—ttir - SCA-Cooks list member from Iceland)


"Take some sweet milk and white bread well mashed, and a beaten egg (or eggs)

and finely crushed saffron, and mix it and simmer until thickened.  Then pour

into a bowl and add butter.  This is called white mash."



Elysant de Holtham (Jean Holtom) 1999


4 cups milk

1 1/2 cups of white bread (crusts removed), and broken into small pieces.

2 eggs, beaten

2 strands or pinch crushed saffron


Ground cinnamon


Place the saffron in a small amount of hot water and heat to boiling.  Put

milk and bread into a saucepan, and combine well.  Add the saffron and stir

in the beaten egg. Heat mixture to boiling, stirring constantly, then lower

heat and simmer slowly until it thickens.  To serve, pour a little of the

mixture into a bowl.  Add a knob of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon (This

dish is served warm).


<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