Capon or Chicken in Gravy, c. 1390

While preparing the menu for my upcoming Easter-themed medieval cookery class, I came across a great dish that fits all of the criteria: simple, relatively fast and uses hard-cooked eggs. Easter follows the Catholic tradition of observing Lent, a six-week period of religious devotion and observance that includes fasting and abstinence from certain types of…

German Stewed Turnips / Köel Ruben (1604)

Turnips were a staple food item in Europe for centuries. In ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder wrote that next to corn and beans, there was “no plant that is of more extensive use” than the turnip. During the medieval and renaissance eras they were inexpensive, easy to grow and survived the cold of winter. Root…

Ris Engoule – Rice in Beef Stock

Today’s medieval recipe is from the 14th century French recipe collection known as Le Viandier de Taillevent. Ris Engoule is a simple rice dish not intended to be eaten during Lent or on a Fast day. The source manuscript was possibly written as early as 1300 but the collection is generally attributed to Guillaume Tirel…

Lombard Chicken Pasties

Few foods are as stereotypically “medieval” as the pasty (PASS-tee), a small meat pie in the shape of a semi-circle. Because of their compact size, pasties were perfect meals for busy medieval urbanites and were an ideal street food for travelers. They could be eaten hot or cold and could be wrapped to-go and eaten…

Honey Crispels

If you thought deep-fried sweets like funnel cakes, elephant ears/beaver tails and doughnuts were modern inventions for the county fair, think again. Fried pastries have been around since ancient Egypt and China. The Romans ate something called scriblita, a fried pastry dough. Fried doughs were common throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe in various…

Italian Blackberry Sauce, c. 1464

There is no shortage of 15th century Italian recipes thanks to Maestro Martino de Rossi, a well known and influential “celebrity” chef who worked in some of the greatest kitchens of late Medieval/Renaissance Italy. In 1464/65 he wrote Libro de Arte Coquinaria (The Art of Cooking), which is widely considered to be the first modern…

Apple Muse: an Ancient Apple Pottage

Apple Muse was an extremely popular medieval dessert, likely enjoyed in some form at every level of society due to the availability of the three core ingredients. There are many versions of this recipe found in a variety of manuscripts but often under different names: Appylmoes, apulmos, appillinose, etc. All versions I’ve found call for apples,…