Medieval Cookbooks
Düsseldorf, Jan.21st 2006
 
Now instead of writing more about herbs, I would like to write
about historical books of cooking, because I think many 
members of isomers are also "gourmets". Medieval cooking is a 
subject related to my profession as a food consultant and also 
to my hobby of studying medieval history.
 
There are 3 well known books of cooking from the middle age. 
You may be able to find them in English translation in Amazon.
 
1) "Le viandier": This book was written in French in the 
14th century. The author uses the pseudonym of TAILLEVENT
(which can be found as the name of a 5-star restaurant in Paris).
It has been said that Taillevent was Guillaume Tyrel, who was 
the chief chef for the French King, Jean V (1364-1380). 
According to recent researches, however, almost the same 
text dated in the 13th century was found in Switzerland, although 
the author is unknown. I don’t think the recipes are acceptable 
to our actual taste.
 
2) "Le Mesnagier de Paris". This book was written around 1395. 
Many recipes of this book must have been either inspired or 
copied from "Le Viandier," but it is written in more details and 
easier to understand. The author is unknown. I don’t think that 
the recipes are acceptable to our taste.
 
3) "Libro de arte conquinaria" of Maestro Martino da Como.
This book was written by the Italian chef in the 15th century.
I found a new edition in Milan last autumn. I shall read
it in the coming days.  I know that his recipes are still
valid for our taste (ref 1-3).  If somebody wants to try I am 
prepared to help.  It is said that “good chemists are good cooks.” 
 
I may not have time to write another article until June.  
 
Best Regards
Noboru MORIYAMA        

 

 

References added by the Editor:

(1)   Martino’s cheese cake recipe (ginger-flavored!)

            http://www.bayrose.org/recipes/Torta_Bianca.html#recipe_torta

(2)   The Eminent Maestro Martino of Como. The Art of Cooking.

      University of California Press. ($29.95)

      http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9423.html

(3)   Old and true ...like pasta / a world of pasta (1)

      http://www.professionalpasta.it/dir_9/cron_3.htm