Discovering Medieval cookery books
Text : Marie Josèphe Moncorgé. Translator: Marie-Joëlle Rose
Here is a selection of manuscripts and cookbooks of Medieval Europe, written or published between the 13th century and the Renaissance
13th century - 14th century - 15th century - 16th century
- E - Anonymous Andalusian, Kitâb al-Tabîkh fi'l-Maghrib wa'l-Andalus fi'asr al-Muwahhidin: this manuscript, about cookery in North Africa and in Andalusia at the time of the Almohades, includes 543 recipes.
- E - Fudalat al-Khiwan (The delights of the table, Andalusia) : this manuscript of Ibn Razin Tujibi contains 450 recipes written between 1238 and 1266.
- GB - Anglo-Norman manuscripts, two compilations written in Anglo-Norman, a language close to Norman French and Picard, containing about 20 recipes each, have been found in the British Library (London).
- F - Manuscrit de Sion, found in the cantonal library of Valais, this parchment was written before the birth of Taillevent and includes 133 recipes.
- F - The French text of the Enseingnemenz (Teaching) was found in a manuscript of the National Library (Bnf, Paris), following 2 recipes compilations in Latin: the Liber de coquina (Cookery book) and the Tractatus de modo preparandi and condiendi omnia cibaria (Treaty of the way to prepare and season all food). These 3 compilations of recipes were associated to a treaty of surgery.
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- E - Libre de Sent Sovi (Book of Sent Sovi): this is an anonymous text written in Catalan in 1324. This manuscript contains 222 recipes, which marks the infancy of Catalan cookery, with its specific techniques: the sofregit and the picada.
- D - Daz bûch von gûter spîse and Diz buch sagt von guter Spîse: The book of good food is the first known German cookbook, presumably written between 1345 and 1354. This manuscript includes 101 recipes. The other manuscript contains 69 recipes.
- F - The Viandier de Taillevent: this cookery book was the most widely published cookbook during the Middle Ages. The Viandier was assigned to Guillaume Tirel, named Taillevent. The manuscript of the National Library (BnF, Paris) was composed around 1380. It includes 145 recipes. The Viandier was printed in French around 1490, with 219 recipes and several complete menus.
- GB - The Forme of Cury was written in a concise style, around 1390, by the chefs of King Richard II. The Rules of Cookery was published in London in 1780 with recipes dating back to 1381 from Ancient Cookery.
- F - The Mesnagier de Paris: The Ménagier was written around 1393 by a burger of Paris and was a guide book for his very young wife. In the last third of the work, the recipes are inspired from the recipes of the Viandier, but are more simple.
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- F - Du fait de Cuisine, Maistre Chiquart: this manuscript presents 78 recipes, as menus for meat days and days of abstinence. The functioning of the Royal Kitchen in the 1400's was laid down (equipement, staff, supply difficulties). There are simple recipes (the Emplumeus de pomes) and more sophisticated ones (Ung entremés eslevé de ung chastel).
- D - Kochbuch Meister Eberhards (Cookbook of Meister Eberhard, early 15th): This text of 113 categories only includes 24 detailed recipes, but mentions Hippocrate as well as Avicenne or Rhazès. We deal with a well-educated cook, expert at dietetics.
- I - Registrum coquine: The Cooking register was written around 1430 by Jean de Bockenheim, a German cook of pope Martin V. This manuscript includes 74 recipes, written in Latin, in the brief style of the Manuscrit de Sion, contrary to the cookbooks of Maistre Chiquart or Maestro Martino, written with more details at the same time.
- I - Libro de arte coquinaria: Maestro Martino is the most well known Medieval cook of Italy. His Culinary art book, written in Rome around 1450, contains 267 recipes arranged in 6 chapters: Chapter 1 gives 40 recipes of meats. Chapter 2 includes meats, doughs and soups in 60 recipes. Chapter 3 describes 22 sauces. Chapter 4 gives 37 recipes of tarts and pies. Chapter 5 deal with the fritters and eggs in 35 recipes. And chapter 6 presents 73 recipes of fish.
- GB - The Two fifteenth century cookery books or Harleian (The Two cookery books of the 15th century), British Museum.
- I - Some reissues of the De re coquinaria of Apicius: a compilation of recipes in Latin distributed through the Middle Ages. Actually, it is about one book of recipes of ancient Roman cookery.
- I - Four books named Cookbook of the 14th century: Anonimo Toscano (Zambrini) / Anonimo Veneziano (Frati) / Anonimo Meridionale / Frammento (Guerrini).
- I - De honesta voluptate (~ 1470), Bartolomeo Sacchi, named Battista Platina: In the manner of Pline the old and its Natural History, About the honest delight proposes consistent information and thoughts about food, diet and dietetics as well as some recipes of Maestro Martino.
- E - Libre del coch (~ 1477), Roberto de Nola: The Cook's book is the first printed cookbook in Catalan, in Barcelona in 1520: The book to know how to serve well, to cut and the cook's art: that is to say all ways to make soups and sauces.
- D - Kuchemaistrey, the first printed cookbook in German, in 1485, was published many times until 1674.
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- F - Platine en françoys, book of the Bibliothèque Municipale of Lyons, the Platine in French was printed in Lyons in 1505.
- NL - Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen: A remarkable small cookbook was published in Brussels, around 1514, by Thomas VanderNoot. One doesn't know if he was only the publisher of the book or its author. When the rest of Europe still used bacon and olive oil, one notes specificities of Dutch cookery through 70 recipes with butter and numerous recipes with cream, milk, cheese.
- I - Banchetti..., Messisbugo (1549): Compilation of 316 recipes, with the whole commissary of a banquet of court and examples of menus achieved by Cristoforo da Messisbugo between 1524 and 1548.
- D - Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin: The Cookbook of Sabina Welserin was written in 1553 and includes 205 recipes.
- F - The livre des confitures of Nostradamus (Book of jams printed in Lyons, 1555): Nostradamus is especially known as an astrologer. He was also a doctor. Jams, sugared almonds, candies, syrup and sugar were considered medicine in the Middle Ages. These are also sweets which are good to eat.
- I - Opera, Bartolomeo Scappi: published in Venice in 1570, Work includes more than 1 000 recipes, many menus and some boards illustrating the kitchen, the cooks working, the kitchen ustensils, how meals were served. Scappi is not only a practitioner but also a theorist of cooking, who knew how to present a complete panorama of cookery in his time.
- D - Ein new Kochbuch (1581), Marx Rumpolt and Ein Köstlich new Kochbuch (1598), Anna Wecker: With A new cookbook, including more than 2 000 recipes, Marx Rumpolt wanted to pass down his know-how to young cooks.
- B - Ouverture de cuisine was written in French, in 1585, by the famous Belgian cook Lancelot de Casteau. This Medieval cookbook, published in 1604, includes 181 recipes and the menu of 2 banquets. One notes a moderate use of spices and the use of butter and cream.
- NL - Eenen seer schoonen ende excellenten Cocboeck (A charming and excellent cookbook, 1593): This cocboeck or cookbook includes 298 recipes derived from European Medieval cuisine: recipes of French, Italian, Spanish and Walloon inspiration, with specificities characteristic of the food customs in northern Netherlands (present Holland).
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