Anthimus, De observatione ciborum (Latin, 6th cent.) Treatise on food and diet in the form of a letter addressed to Theuderic [I], king of the Franks, by a Greek physician resident at the court of Theodoric the Ostrogoth.
Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon, Book II, chap. 25, “On Hunting” (Latin, 1120s) Although ostensibly on hunting, this brief chapter in Hugh of St. Victor’s encyclopedic survey includes a more general essay on the various classifications of food. In Latin.
Poitevin sauce recipes (Latin, c. 1150 x 1175) The discovery was announced in April 2013 of a small collection of recipes for “various kinds of Poitevin sauces” (“diuersa genera pictauiensium salsamentorum“). They were identified by Professor Faith Wallis of McGill University in a manuscript (MS 51, fol. 39r-v) now in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and formerly owned (by 1391) by Durham Cathedral Priory. The culinary recipes are embedded within a collection of medical recipes (fols. 27r-46v). According to a brief article in Petits Propos Culinaires (PPC 98, August 2013), there are some ten sauce recipes in all, “for meats ranging from chicken, ‘hen in winter’, beef, duck, pork, ram (presumably a ‘wether’ or castrated male sheep), lamb, sausage and ‘tiny little fish [minuti pisculi]’. There is also a recipe for conserved ginger, with detailed instructions for preparation: soaking in water, cutting into slices, cooking down with honey, rubbing honey in by hand, and continuing the process with other flavourings including spikenard.”
Regimen sanitatis Salerni (Latin, ?12th-13th cent.) Health and diet regimen, in verse. Click here for an English translation by Thomas Paynel (1535) . Click here for Sir John Harington’s translation, The Englishmans Doctor (English, 1608) . His full title reads: The Englishmans Doctor, Or,The School of Salerne,Or, Physical observations for the perfect Preserving of the body of Man in continual health. Click here for a modern English translation from Patricia Willett Cummins, A Critical Edition of Le Regime Tresutile et tresproufitable pour Conserver et Garder la Santé du Corps Humain (1976). James L. Matterer supplies a useful introduction to the online translation.
De flore dietarum (Latin, early 13th cent.) Salernitan treatise on the humoral properties of various foods and drinks, compiled at the beginning of the 13th century, and originally attributed to Constantinus Africanus. Edited by Piero Cantalupo (1992).
Libellus de arte coquinaria (“The Harpestreng cookbook,” Codex K, Latin and Danish, 13th cent.) The oldest known medieval Western recipe collection, originally written in Latin or French, probably in the late 12th or early 13th century, and later translated from Middle Low German into Danish, possibly by the royal physician Henrik Harpestraeng (d. 1244). Codex K (Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, Ny kgl. Samling, nr. 66, 8v°, ff. 140r-146v), with 25 recipes, dates from c. 1300; it was edited by M. Kristensen (1908-20). Click here for photographs of Codex K. Click here for Codex Q (Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, Ny kgl. Samling, nr. 70 R, 8v°, 5ff.), another Danish translation, with 31 recipes, dating from c. 1350. It was edited by C. Molbech in Historisk Tidsskrift, vol. 5 (København, 1844), pp. 540 – 546. A German version of this recipe collection is embedded in the 15th-century Mittelniederdeutsches Kochbuch (see below).
“Anonymous Andalusian cookbook”: Kitab al-tabikh fi al-Maghrib wal-Andalus (Arabic, early 13th cent.) A collection of 543 recipes, translated here into English by Charles Perry, from the edition by Ambrosio Huici Miranda (La Cocina Hispano-Magrebi en la Epoca Almohade, 1965). Click here for another copy of Perry’s English translation; click here for a searchable index of this collection.
Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abí l-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abí Bakr ibn Razin al-Tuyibi al-Andalusí, Fedalat Al-Jiwan fi tayyibat al-ta’am wa-l-alwan (Arabic, c. 1228-1243) Extracts, in a modern Spanish translation, from a collection of 441 recipes written in Andalusia. From a doctoral thesis by Fernando de la Granja Santamaría, “La cocina arabigoandaluza según un manuscrito inédito” (Madrid, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, 1960). Click here for the full text in Arabic, published by Muhammad B. A. Benchekroun in La Cuisine andalou-marocaine au XIIIe siècle (Beirut, 1984).
Aldobrandino da Siena (Aldebrandin de Sienne): Two chapters from La flours et la rose de toute medicine et fisisque, later known as Le Régime du corps (French, end of 13th – beginning of 14th cent.) The first two chapters of Part III: De totes manieres de blé, et du pain c’on en fait, and De totes manieres de buverages. From the edition by Louis Landouzy and Roger Pépin (1911). Click here for a photograph of an early manuscript (Paris, BnF, Arsenal, manuscrit 2510, fol. 49v), and here for another manuscript (Paris, BnF, Département des manuscrits, Français 12323, fol. 128v).
Viandier (French, second half of 13th cent.) This website contains discussions, transcriptions, and translations (into modern French) of all four extant medieval manuscripts of this celebrated French recipe collection. The earliest manuscript (Bibliothèque cantonale du Valais, Sion, S 108) was written c. 1250 x 1300 on a parchment roll and contains 133 recipes. Click here to see the edition of the Sion MS by Paul Aebischer (1953) and original text with a facing translation in modern French. The text was revised in the late 1300s and attributed to the royal cook Guillaume Tirel, known as “Taillevent” (c. 1315-95). Three manuscript versions survive: one with 145 recipes, in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (MS fonds français 19,791; before 1392; c. 1380, according to Jérôme Pichon); one with 156 recipes in the Vatican Library (MS Regina 776 [formerly 233 and 2159], fols. 48r-85r; c. 1400-50); one with 141 recipes in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris (MS 3636, formerly MS 1253, folios 219r-228r; 15th cent.). A fourth manuscript (Saint-Lô, Archives de la Manche, Série E, Archives de la baronnie de la Haye-du-Puits, fols. 39v-46r; 15th cent.) was destroyed in a fire on D-Day (6 June 1944). Click here for the text of the Bibliothèque Nationale manuscript, with a facing translation in modern French; Click here for the text of the Vatican manuscript, from the edition of Jérôme Pichon and Georges Vicaire (1892), pp. 73-136; with an English translation by James Prescott. Click here for a searchable index to Prescott’s translation. Click here for the text of the Vatican manuscript with facing translation in modern French. Click here for the text of the Mazarine manuscript, with a facing translation in modern French. Click here for a transcript of the printed edition of c. 1485/90, which contains a large collection of 15th-century recipes grafted onto a selection of the earlier Viandier recipes (221 recipes in all), together with some menus dating from 1455. This transcript is taken from Jérôme Pichon and Georges Vicaire, eds., Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent (Paris, 1892; reprint Geneva: Slatkine, 1967, and Luzarches: Daniel Morcrette, n.d.), pp. 141-199 (“Le Viandier de Taillevent — Édition du XVe siècle”). Click here to see the title page of that(?) printed edition.
Enseignements qui enseingnent a apareillier toutes manieres de viandes (French, 1304-14) Contains 46 recipes. From the edition by Grégoire Lozinski in La bataille de caresme et de charnage (1933), pp. 181-187. Click here for a photograph of the original manuscript (Paris, BNF, Manuscrit Latin 7131, fol. 99v). Click here for another copy of the same photograph . Click here for a modern English translation by Daniel Myers. Click here for a searchable index of Myers’ translation. Click here for the original text with facing modern French translation.
Tractatus de modo preparandi et condiendi omnia cibaria (Latin, beginning of 14th cent.) Contains about 80 recipes. From the edition of Marianne Mulon, “Deux traités inédits d’art culinaire médiéval,” in Bulletin philologique et historique (jusqu’à 1610) du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques. Année 1968: Actes du 93e Congrès national des Sociétés savantes tenu à Tours. Volume 1: Les problèmes de l’alimentation (Paris, 1971, pp. 369-435; Tractatus, pp. 380-395.) Click here for a photograph of the manuscript (Paris, BnF, Département des manuscrits, Latin 9328, fols. 129r-133v).
Liber de coquina, ubi diuersitates ciborum docentur (Latin, beginning of 14th cent.) Contains 172 recipes. From the edition of Marianne Mulon, “Deux traités inédits d’art culinaire médiéval,” in Bulletin philologique et historique (jusqu’à 1610) du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques. Année 1968: Actes du 93e Congrès national des Sociétés savantes tenu à Tours. Volume 1: Les problèmes de l’alimentation (Paris, 1971, pp. 369-435; Liber de coquina, pp. 396-420.)
“Anonimo Veneziano,” Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (Italian, c. 1300-1350) An incomplete collection of 135 recipes by an anonymous Venetian of the fourteenth century, edited from a late fifteenth-century manuscript by Ludovico Frati in Libro di cucina del secolo XIV (1899). 22 of the recipes can also be found in the “Anonimo Toscano” collection (see below). Click here for a another copy of the original text, and for a modern English translation by Louise Smithson. Click here for a searchable index to this collection.
Magninus Mediolanensis, Regimen sanitatis (Latin, c. early 1330s) Treatise on health and diet, by Maino de’ Maineri of Milan, lecturer at the medical school at Paris. Scanned pages of the Strassburg edition of 1503.
Magninus Mediolanensis, Opusculum de saporibus (Latin, c. early 1330s) A collection of sauce recipes by Maino de’ Maineri of Milan, lecturer at the medical school at Paris, which forms part of the author’s dietetic treatise, Regimen sanitatis. Edited by Lynn Thorndike (1934) from Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS VIII. D. 35, ff. 52rb-53va. See Terence Scully’s discussion of this text in Medium Ævum, 54:2 (1985), 178-207.
Das buch von guter spise (Daz buoch von guoter spise) (German, 1345-54) Collection of 96 recipes (“The Book of Good Food”), from a household manual compiled by Michael de Leone, proto-notary of the archbishop of Wurzburg. There are two extant MSS: (A) the original Würzburg MS (1345 x 1354), now München Universitãtsbibliothek, *2º Cod. MS 731 (Cim. 4), ff. 156ra-165vb, and (B) the later Dessau MS (c. 1400 x 1450), Anhaltische Landesbücherei, MS Georg. 278.2o, ff. 123v-132v. This is the text from the Würzburg-Münchener MS , edited by Hans Hajek (1958). Click here for an earlier (1844) edition of the text with an uneven English translation by Alia Atlas. Click here for a searchable index of Atlas’s translation. Click here for a photograph of the Würzburg-Münchener manuscript with a modern German translation of the recipe for “Rheingauer Hühner.” The two manuscripts are compared in Melitta Weiss Adamson’s Daz buoch von guoter spise (The Book of Good Food). A Study, Edition, and English Translation of the Oldest German Cookbook, Medium Aevum Quotidianum, Sonderband IX (Krems, 2000).
The Forme of Cury (English, c. 1390s) and Ancient Cookery (English, c. 1381) A facsimile of Samuel Pegge’s edition of these recipe collections (1780), taken, respectively, from British Library, Additional MS 5016 (roll), and Bodleian Library, MS Douce 257, ff. 86r-96v (under the title “Diuersa servicia“). Click here for a typescript version of Pegge’s edition, by Project Gutenberg (flawed by scanning errors, e.g., “f” for tall “s” and “a” for “æ”). Click here for scanned photos of a manuscript Fourme of cury (John Rylands University Library, English MS 7, 90 folios, 194 recipes, the last a 19th-cent. copy from Pegge’s edition). Click here for a transcription of the Rylands manuscript, by Daniel Myers. Click here for a searchable index of The Forme of Cury, and for an index to the original recipes with modern adaptations.
Click here to see a 29-minute episode of “The Medieval Mind” (BBC, 2008) in which Clarissa Dickson Wright examines the manuscript of the Forme of Cury and cooks three recipes from it: roast goose with Sauce Madame, fish with Egredouce sauce, and poached pears.
A Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal Household . . . Also, Receipts in Ancient Cookery (London: Society of Antiquaries, 1790) Valuable collection of royal household regulations from the reign of Edward III to that of William and Mary, together with an edition of British Library, MS Arundel 334.
Antiquitates culinariae, or Curious Tracts Relating to the Culinary Affairs of the Old English, ed. Richard Warner (Latin and English, 1791) In an extensive introduction, Warner surveys early cuisines, and prints various texts, including the meat and fish menus for Henry IV’s wedding to Joan of Navarre in 1403 (pp. xxxiv-xxxv ), the coronation menu of Katherine de Valois in 1421 (pp. xxxv-xxxvii), the household regulations (including menus) of Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV (pp. xlvii-xlix), and the breakfast menus from the household ordinances of Henry Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland, 1512 (pp. xlix-li). Warner then prints texts taken directly from recent printed editions: Pegge’s edition of 1780 (see above) of The Forme of Cury (British Library, Add. MS 5016), and Ancient Cookery (Bodleian Library, MS Douce 257, ff. 86r-96v); the Society of Antiquaries’ edition in Household Ordinances (1790) of British Library, MS Arundel 334; a small collection of recipes for the preservation of fruits, from the Antiquarian Repertory, IV (1781), p. 95; and two menus from Thomas Hearne’s edition of (1770) Leland’s Collectanea, vol. VI: the enthronement of George Neville as archbishop of York in 1465, and the enthronement of William Warham as archbishop of Canterbury in 1504.
Menus for feasts, 1397 and 1443 (English) Banquet given by John of Gaunt for Richard II at Durham Place, London (the text dates this to 1387, but the correct date is 1397); and installation banquet of John Stafford, archbishop of Canterbury. From the edition of Thomas Austin (1888).
Le ménagier de Paris (French, c. 1393) From the edition of Jérôme Pichon (1846), pp. 80-210 (chapter on food and cookery). (Click here for a mirror of the same site.) Click here for two photographs of a 15th-cent. manuscript (BN, 12477, fol. 1r) (mislabeled: the top and bottom photos are from the Ménagier MS; the middle photo is from a manuscript of Boccaccio’s Decameron). Click here for an English translation by Janet Hinson. Click here for a searchable index of the English translation. (For an authoritative English translation of the entire work, see The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Menagier de Paris): A Medieval Household Book, trans. Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose (Cornell University Press, 2009).
Two royal banquet menus (English, c. 1390s) Menus for a feast given for Richard II by “Lord Spenser” (Thomas le Despenser, created earl of Gloucester 29 Sept. 1397), and for a feast at the king’s court. From the edition of Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler (1985), with added translation into modern English.
Anonimo Toscano, Libro della cocina (Italian, end 1300s – beginning 1400s) Incomplete collection of 183 recipes written by an anonymous Tuscan, occupying the last 19 pages of a miscellany now in the Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna. 22 of the recipes can also be found in the earlier “Anonimo Veneziano” collection (see above). From Emilio Faccioli, Arte della cucina (1966), vol. I, pp. 21-57; this edition is based on that by Francesco Zambrini in Il libro della cucina del secolo XIV (Bologna, 1863). Click here for another copy of the original text, and for some extracts in modern Italian translation , from L’arte della cucina in Italia, ed. Emilio Faccioli (1987). Click here for a modern English translation of the medieval text.
“Anonymous Southerner,” Book A: “Limonia” (Italian, late 14th-early 15th cent.) See also recipes for kid pie and hare stew. Click here for a brief description of this recipe collection .
Illustrations from the Tacuinum sanitatis (Latin, late 14th-early 15th cent.) These images illustrate passages in the text concerning the humoral properties and effects on health of various foods.
Chiquart Amiczo, Du fait de cuisine (French, 1420) Master Chiquart was chief cook to the duke of Savoy. English translation by Elizabeth Cook. Click here for the table of contents. Click here for a searchable index of this collection. Click here for an extract describing the supplies needed for a grand feast . Click here for a photograph of the manuscript (f. 70r) , with a transcription and a modern French translation. Click here for selections from the original text with facing modern French translation.
Vivendier (French, c. 1425 or mid 15th cent.) (There is also an archived copy at https://web.archive.org/web/20140925213104/http://www.diachronie.be/lexique/textes/15e/1425-kassel.html.) With facing translation in modern French. From the edition by Bruno Laurioux in Le Règne de Taillevent. Livres et pratiques culinaires à la fin du Moyen Âge. Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 1997. The sole manuscript, containing 66 recipes, is Kassel, Gesamthochschulbibliothek, 4° MS med. 1, folios 154r-164v. Terence Scully, in his edition of this manuscript (The Vivendier, Prospect Books, 1997), writes that it probably originated in northern — most likely, northeastern — France around the middle of the fifteenth century.
Johannes de Bockenheim, Registrum coquine (Latin, 1431-1435) Photograph of a folio from one of the two extant manuscripts, showing recipes 28 (Easter lamb) and 29 (tortas pro nobilibus). Paris, BNF, Département des manuscrits, Latin 7054. Bockenheim was cook to Pope Martin V. Click here for a discussion (in French) of Bockenheim and his collection of 74 recipes, including a transcription of Recipe 5 (boiled beef, “good for Germans”). See also Bockenheim’s recipe for hemp-seed soup , and a brief biography of him.
Two Fifteenth-Century Cookbooks (English, c. 1430 and 1450) British Library, MSS. Harley 279 (c. 1430) and Harley 4016 (c. 1450), with extracts from Bodleian Library, MSS Ashmole 1439, Laud 553, and Douce 55. Edited by Thomas Austin (1888, rpt 1964). Click here for a searchable index of the recipes. Click here for a searchable index to this collection. Click here for an translation (with modernized recipes) of a dinner menu for the feast of the Holy Trinity from Harley 279.
Rheinfränkisches Kochbuch (German, c. 1445) Sample folio, with transcription and modern German translation, of Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. germ. fol. 244 (folio 285r). From the edition by Thomas Gloning (1998). Click here for two other photographs of the MS ( folios 290v and 293r), showing recipes for “Rheingauer Hühner” with modern German translations (scroll down page to recipes beginning “Willst du Pasteten machen” and “Nimm Wein und Honig“).
Liber cure cocorum (English, c. temp. Henry VI) Cookbook in doggerel verse, from British Library, MS. Sloane 1986, ff. 27r-56v, edited by Richard Morris (1862). Click here for another copy, and for a parallel transcription and modern translation , with notes, by Cindy Renfrow. Click here for a searchable index of the recipes.
Martino Rossi (or da Como; “Maestro Martino”), Libro de arte coquinaria (Italian, c. late 1450s) Edited by Emilio Faccioli (1966). Click here for another copy of the original text. See also English translations of Master Martino’s recipes for cheese pie with herbs, rice with almond milk, sturgeon, and eggnog. Click here for a brief biography of Master Martino.
Ein alemannisches Büchlein von guter Speise (German, 15th cent.) From the edition by Anton Birlinger (1865). Click here for two photographs of the manuscript (Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek, Cgm 284, folios 103v-104r), containing a recipe for “Rheingauer Hühner”, with a modern German translation. (Scroll down to recipe beginning “Willst du eine Pastete machen,” followed by snippet beginning “Und backe es in einem Ofen.”)
Ein mittelniederdeutsches Kochbuch (German, 15th cent.) Edited by Hans Wiswe (1956). Recipes 56-71 duplicate those of the 13th-century “Harpestreng” cookbook (see above).
Libre de totes maneres de confits (Catalan, 15th cent.) Recipes for preserves, edited by Luis Faraudo de Saint-Germain (1946).
Aus der Küche der deutschen Ordensritter (German, c. 1450-1500) The earliest known cookbook from East Prussia (Königsberg), edited by H. Gollub in Prussia, 31 (1935), 118-24, from a manuscript in Berlin (Geh. Staatsarchiv Preuß. Kulturbesitz, XX. HA OBA 18384). See also R. G. Päsler, “Deutschsprachige Sachliteratur im Preußenland bis 1500. Untersuchungen zu ihrer Überlieferung.” (Diss. phil., Oldenburg, 1999).
Le Recueil de Riom (French, c. 1466?) Collection of 48 recipes from a manuscript originally written in Riom (now Paris, Bibl. nat. lat. 6707, fols. 184-188). Original text, from the edition by Carole Lambert, with a somewhat uneven English translation by Jennifer Soucy. Click here for a searchable index to this collection.
Gentyll manly Cokere (English, later 15th cent.) Facsimiles of culinary recipes from Magdalene College, Cambridge, MS Pepys 1047, originally published in a flawed edition by Gerald Hodgett as Stere Htt Welle (1972). New transcriptions are provided here by James L. Matterer, who also intends to supply modern English translations and adaptations for the modern cook. In progress.
Das Kochbuch des Meisters Eberhard von Landshut (German, c. 1475-1500) Edited by A. Feyl (1963). Collection of 24 recipes from a manuscript in the Universitatsbibliothek, Augsburg, headed: “Hienach volgt vonn dem kochenn und hat gemacht meyster Eberhart, ein koch herczog Heinrichs zu Landshut.” Click here for a modern English translation by Volker Bach (2005). Click here for a searchable index to this collection.
Basel, Öffentliche Bibliothek der Universität (ÖUB), Cod. D II 30, fols. 300r-310v (German, c. 1475-1500, or beg. 16th cent.) Thomas Gloning’s transciption. Click here for a description of the manuscript. See also Alessandra Sorbello Staub, Die Basler Rezeptsammlung. Studien zu spätmittelalterlichen deutschen Kochbüchern. Erstausgabe mit Kommentar und Fachglossar der Handschriften Basel, ÖUB D II 30, Bl. 300ra-310va und Heidelberg, UB cpg. 551, Bl. 186r-196v und 197r-204r. Würzburg, 2002. [Diss. 1998]. Click here for a discussion in English of the recipe for a giant egg on fol. 307v.
A Noble boke off cookry ffor a prynce houssolde or eny other estately houssolde (English, late 15th cent.) The text of Holkham Hall, MS 674, in an unfortunately flawed edition by Mrs. Alexander [Robina] Napier (London, 1882). Click here for a searchable index to this collection.
Middle English culinary recipes in British Library, MS Harley 5401 (English, late 15th cent.) Collection of 96 culinary recipes, attributed to “dominus Thomas Awkbarow,” and deriving partly from the fourteenth-century collections known as Diversa servicia and The Forme of Cury. Original text, transcribed by Constance Hieatt, with modern English translation by Sam Wallace. Click here for a concordance to Constance Hieatt’s edition in Medium Ævum 65 (1996), 54-71. Click here for a searchable index to this collection. See also Five recipes from British Library, Harleian MS. 5401 From F. J. Furnivall’s collection, The babees book [etc.] (Early English Text Society, 1868). For the entire collection, see above under household and conduct texts.
Graz, University Library (UBG), MS 1609 (German, late 15th cent.) Two sample fast-day recipes, one for making imitation eggs out of pike and ginger, and the other for a walnut sauce for fish, with modern adaptations. In German (PDF file).
Alte Kockrezepte aus dem bayrischen Inntal (German, 15th-16th cent.) Edited by Berthilde Danner (1970). Click here for an English translation by Volker Bach.
Anonymous southern Dutch cookbook (Dutch, c. 1475 – early 16th cent.) MS 15 in the Royal Academy (KANTL), Ghent, consisting of three collections of culinary recipes and one collection of medicinal recipes. The culinary recipes were published by W.L. Braekman in 1986 in: “Een belangrijke middelnederlandse bron voor Vorselmans’ Nyeuwen Coock Boeck (1560),” Volkskunde 87 (1986) pp. 1-24 (part I), and Een nieuw zuidnederlands kookboek uit de vijftiende eeuw, Scripta 17, Brussel, 1986 (parts II and III). Christianne Muusers is producing a trilingual edition of the culinary recipes (in progress), in the original Middle Dutch, in modern Dutch, and in modern English. Her site includes a photograph of Recipe 13from Part I, p. 34, and a photograph of Recipe 24 from Part II, p. 47 of KANTL, Ghent, MS 15. Part I shares a common source with Gerard (Geraert) Vorselman’s Nyeuwen Coock Boeck (Antwerp, 1560). The latter was edited by Elly Cockx-Indestege as Eenen nyeuwen coock boeck, kookboek samengesteld door Geraert Vorselman en gedrukt te Antwerpen in 1560 (Wiesbaden, 1971).
Livro de Cozinha da Infanta D. Maria (Portuguese, c. 1480 – c. 1510) Extracts from the edition by Giacinto Manuppela (Lisbon, 1986) of MS I. E 33 in the Biblioteca Nazionale, Naples. The Infanta Maria of Portugal (1538-77) married Alessandro Farnese in 1565, and this manuscript, which contains 73 folios and includes some Farnese texts, probably belonged to her. The collection of 67 culinary recipes is untitled and undated, and written in a variety of hands of c. 1480 – c.1510. Click here for a description of the manuscript in French and another description in Portuguese (with bibliographic references), and for a photo of Recipe I and a photo of Recipe LXVI. The collection called Um tratado da cozinha portuguesa do século XV appears to be a modern Portuguese adaptation of this recipe collection, with measures given in liters, grams, and kilos, by Antônio Gomes Filho (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Nacional do Livro: 1963, rpt 1994). Click here (select HTML or PDF) for a modern English translation by “Faerisa Gwynarden” [Fernanda Gomes] of the latter. Click here for a searchable index to this translation.
Hermolaus Barbarus (Ermolao Barbaro), description of an Italian wedding banquet (Latin, 1488) This description was translated into French by Michel Nostradamus and published in 1555.
Das Weinbuch im Codex Donaueschingen 787 (German, c. 1500) Collection of recipes for making, keeping, and emending wine and vinegar, from three folios (118v, 209r-211v) of a manuscript of Gottfried von Franken. The collection begins: “Hie vahet an alle artzenie von dem wine, wie man yme helffen sol, vnd wie man alle gebresten an dem wine wider bringen sol.”
Robert de Nola, Libre de doctrina per a ben servir, de tallar y del art de coch (Catalan, late 15th – early 16th cent.) Recipe collection and description of servants’ duties by Master Robert, cook to Ferrando (Ferrante or Ferdinand), King of Naples. The earliest printed culinary text in Catalan (Barcelona, 1520). Click here for photographs of the original edition. For an English translation by Robin Carroll-Mann of a later Spanish edition of de Nola’s book (Logrono, 1529), click here for Part One; click here for Part Two . Click here for a searchable index of this collection.
THE MIDDLE-EASTERN CUISINE: THE TRADITION CONTINUES.
The mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization (Fernand Braudel).
The Middle-Eastern cooking as we know it today largely evolved from the cuisine of the glorious days of the Abbasid Caliphate, and even further back to the ancient Near-Eastern cultures of the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, and Mesopotamians. Of these, the Mesopotamian is the oldest and the first documented world cuisine, of which only three Babylonian cuneiform tablets are extant today (housed at the Babylonian Collection of Yale University and are currently on display at the present exhibition).
When the Arabs conquered the Byzantine and Persian empires in the middle of the seventh century, they assimilated their own simple culinary heritage with that of the local rich traditions and inherited ancient techniques of the regions they ruled. They also adopted so many exotic elements from far and wide, facilitated by active trade, immigrant communities, and foreign domestic helpers of whom the excellent cooks were valuable commodities.
During the golden days of the Abbasid Caliphate when Baghdad was called the navel of the earth, there was a considerable interest among the court and upper classes in the culinary arts and in writing and reading about them. Fine living also necessitated the desire for a healthy living, which gave rise to so many cookbooks, and books on medicine and dietetics. Fortunately, some of these books survived the ravages of time.
The Omayyad Arabs from Syria expanded to North Africa, and reached the Iberian Peninsula in the early eighth-century and stayed there for eight centuries (711-1492). They conquered the island of Sicily in southern Italy and stayed there for more than two centuries (831-1060). To al-Andalus (Andalusia) and Sicily, the Arabs brought the culinary tradition of the Eastern Islamic world, and with it, so many new crops, such as rice, sugarcane, watermelon, lemon, orange, eggplant, and spinach. Naturally, they also incorporated into their cooking the foodstuffs indigenous to the conquered western regions.
Spaniards and Sicilians absorbed Arabic arts and sciences. In Spanish, there are hundreds of words of Arabic origin related to foods and cookery. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, Western Europe was introduced to the culinary wealth of the Arabs through the Crusades. Christians, fascinated by the wealth of their enemies, often borrowed from them. However, the major contribution of the Arab cuisine to European culture was largely through the conquest and re-conquest of Spain and Sicily. Farther East, the Mongols introduced the culinary traditions they learned in Baghdad to their new empire in Northern India. To this day, traces of these traditions can still be detected in the Indian cuisine. The Ottoman Empire dominated the Middle East and Eastern Europe for centuries. The Turkish cuisine was essentially diverse. Its center was the capital, Istanbul, where a refined tradition was created by bringing together elements of regional culinary practices from across the empire, especially the Middle Eastern regions. It was also during this period that many of the New World crops, such as potatoes and tomatoes, were adopted. Through the Ottomans, Europe came to know and love so many of the Middle Eastern delights, such as coffee.