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…

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,…

Two Peasanty Pottages

If there is one dish that exemplifies Medieval cooking it would probably be pottage, which is basically a soup or stew. Pottage was a staple of the medieval diet, from the lowliest peasant to the royal family. There was an enormous range of pottages, from the most basic vegetable soup to fancy meat or fruit pottages…