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…

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…

Erbeßsuppen, a Medieval Pea Soup

Today’s recipe is yet another popular medieval pottage: Pea Soup. If you want to know more about pottages, read my previous post on the subject. This recipe comes from a German cookbook called Ein New Kochbuch by Max Rumpolt, head cook for Daniel Brendel of Homburg, Elector of Mainz. This cookbook was, according to all…

Elizabethan Jumbal Biscuits

Two of my all-time favorite things are history and food so I thought, why not put them together? Perhaps the easiest way to experience and connect with the past is to eat authentic ancient food. Since such dishes can be hard to come by, our best option is to make them at home! A (very) brief overview of Elizabethan food During the Elizabethan…