Here is a mostly up-to-date list of my historic cooking sources.
|Excellent information, impeccable documentation, superb detail. |
It must be mine!
|Decent information and source material. |
Worth buying when convenient.
|Limited usefulness; pick through with care. |
Maybe if it's on sale.
|More chaff than wheat. |
At best, check out a copy from the library.
|As an admitted bibliophile, I hate to classify any book as a waste of paper and ink. |
These books, however, come close.
|Not yet rated.|
|Adamson, Melitta Weiss. Daz buch von guter spise (The Book of Good Food).|
Vienna: Medium Aevum Quotidianum, 2004. ISBN 3-90-1094-12-1.
Subtitled "A Study, Edition, and English Translation of the Oldest German Cookbook". This is very much in the Scully mode of historical cookbook publishing: compare the extant versions of the manuscript, contrast the differences, and document to within an inch of its life. This makes it harder to use recreationally - it's not a light or easy read - but you can have full confidence in its scholarship. I'll make that trade any time.
Anyway, roughly one hundred recipes dating to about 1350. Both the original German and an English translation are present. "Don't oversalt" appears to be a common instruction.
(1250 to 1650)
|Albala, Ken. Cooking in Europe 1250-1650.|
Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 2006. Print. ISBN 0-313-33096-4.
170 recipes from various medieval and Renaissance works, mostly ones not published elsewhere. The recipe is given, then a bit of description regarding the dish - Albala seems to have made most of these dishes, although his interpretations are rarely given. There is also an introductory section with background information on ingredients, meal structure, and the like.
|Allde, Edward. The Good Hous-wiues Treasurie.|
A short recipe collection "Beeing a verye necessarie Booke instructing to the dressing of Meates." It apparently has one of the earliest known mince pie recipes.
|Anderson, John L. ed. A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke.|
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.
Recipes taken from the same manuscripts used in Austin's compilation. Only the original recipes are given; the glossary is pretty good. Why did I dock it a book in my rating? It's only a selection of recipes (Austin has the complete set), and its cheesy early-60s children's-book-style watercolor illustrations make it difficult to take seriously.
|Armstrong, Valoise, trans. Sabina Welserin's cookbook.|
It would be far more useful if all the German was translated. Some of the words are available in a modern dictionary, but isn't the point of doing a translation to do a complete job? Sigh...
|Austin, Thomas, ed. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books.|
London: Oxford University Press, for the Early English Text Society, 2000. Reprint of the original edition of 1888.
Tons of good recipes. They are not transliterated, but there is an excellent glossary to help you puzzle things out. More "Curye on Brown Goo" style recipes. But I like them.
|A.W., Mark and Jane Waks transcription. A Book of Cookrye.|
Published 1591, originally published 1584. Self-published, 2005.
I've never heard of this work before. I'm taking the transcribers' word that it's an accurate rendering. I know who they are, so I'm comfortable with it. In any case, it's a typical late-16th century work with lots of sugar and boiled meats. It also has a recipe for turkey ("To bake Turky Fowles: Cleve your turkye foule on the back, and bruse al the bones. Season it with Pepper groce beaten and salt, and put into it good store of Butter, he must have five houres baking.")
(The transcribers have an online version available here.)
|Boeser, Knut, ed. The Elixirs of Nostradamus.|
New York: Trafalgar Square, 1995. Print. ISBN 0-7475-1961-7.
Originally published in 1552, this book contains a number of recipes written by the famous
|Caton, Mary Anne, and Joan Thirsk. Fooles and Fricassees: Food in Shakespeare's England.|
Washington, D.C: Folger Shakespeare Library, Distributed by University of Washington, 1999. Print. ISBN 0-295-97926-7.
An exhibition catalogue from the Folger Library. I would have considered "Shakespeare's England" to have ended when he died, in 1616; quite a few of the items shown are dated 1650 to 1700. The exhibition was very broadly focused -- everything from plates and cups, recipe books, paintings of diners, and so forth. There are lots of good pictures (including a 1600 Assize of Bread!) The appendix transcribes Mrs. Sarah Longe her Receipt Booke, published around 1610. It combines recipes (To make rice-puddings) and dubious medicinal tips ("To stop the bleeding of a wound: Take a peece of an Old hatt, and burne it in the fire to a Cole then grind it to powder, and straw it into the wound.")
|Dawson, Thomas, and Maggie Black. The Good Housewife's Jewel (1596).|
New York: Southover, 2002. Print. ISBN 1-870962-12-5.
Just barely published before the 17th century (1596), this is a typical Tudor work. Lots of recipes involving sugar. One of the few collections to specify a pie crust recipe. The bread recipe is more of a sweet biscuit, rather than what we think of as bread.
|de Casteau, Lancelot. Leo Moulin, trans. Ouverture de Cuisine.|
Paris: De Schutter, 1983. Print. ISBN 90-70667-05-3.
Great recipes, although its caloric content caused us to nickname it "Just Add Butter". The author was the cook for three successive bishop-princes of Liege (Belgium); nothing in the text states whether they died from cholesterol poisoning.
More sausage recipes than I've generally found elsewhere. Moulin's translation into modern French is often blatantly incorrect, so work from the original, which is (thankfully) present.
|de Nola, Ruperto. Robin Carroll-Mann, trans. Libre del Coch.|
I haven't tried making many of the recipes yet. Lots of yummy stuff here, and since it's Catalan it's got a different spin than traditional Spanish stuff.
|de Nola, Ruperto. Vincent Cuenca, trans. Libro de Cozina.|
Like the other edition, this is an amateur translation and I am not qualified to judge its accuracy. Good recipes and lots of household-type advice, such as how to choose your servants:
"The cook... is an office of the highest confidence; and he should be treated very well... because he serves with love, and should be well housed."Yeah. What he said.
|de Rosselli, Giovanne. Epulario, or The Italian Banquet.|
LaVergne, TN: Proquest, 2011. Print. ISBN 978-1-171-32446-1.
A facsimile reprint of the 1598 translation, flaws and all. It would be easier to use if there were a modern-print version afterward; some of the digitized words are hard to make out. But it's worth stumbling through, since there are far more recipes involving garlic in here than in most other cookbooks!
(late 14th c. to
|Faccioli, E. Ariane Helou, trans. Anonimo Toscano, Libro della Cocina.|
A translation of a work I hadn't seen before -- the name or variants thereon is used for other manuscripts, but that's because it translates as "Cookbook"... anyway, a good mixture of recipes. It also has a description of how to make sourdough that I have not seen anywhere else:
For one who does not have yeast.
|Flower, Barbara, and Rosenbaum, Elisabeth, trans. Apicius: The Roman Cookery Book.|
London: Peter Nevill Limited, 1958.
Proof that just because a book was written a long time ago, it is not automatically outdated. Still one of the better translations, with Latin on one side and English on the other.
|Frati, Ludovico ed. Smithson, Louise trans. Libro di cucina / Libro per cuoco (Anonimo Veneziano).|
A chatty amateur translation of an anonymous Venetian cookbook of the late 14th or early 15th century. Some of these recipes were interpreted in The Medieval Kitchen. My personal favorite is "Agliata", or roasted garlic sauce. (Who'd have thought it?)
|Friedman, David, and Elizabeth Cook, ed. A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, v. I and II.|
Greatly reduced photocopies of public domain primary sources: a Baghdad Cookery Book, Le Menagier, Sir Hugh Plat, and many more.
|Grant, Mark, ed. On the Observance of Foods.|
New York: Prospect Books (UK), 1996. Print. ISBN 0-907325-75-0.
Sometimes considered "the first French cookery book", this is more about healthy ways to eat (via humour theory) than actual recipes. The Latin original is alongside the English translation.
|Greco, Gina L. and Rose, Christine M. The Good Wife's Guide: a Medieval Household Book.|
Ithica: Cornell University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8014-7474-3.
The first complete English translation of the Menagier de Paris (Power's version was substantially cut down). However, the authors are not cooks. They translated it for a feminist studies class and they have an Agenda beginning with a scarlet "A". This means that the emphasis is not on the recipes, but on its "gravity as an agenda of female oppression." Also, the authors posit that the author was not a real older man instructing his young bride, but merely a narrative device. Under that theory, the many specific people named - such as Master Jehan - are there merely to add verisimilitude? Seems a stretch to me.
Despite these flaws, it's worth getting simply because it is a complete, well-done translation. Just skip over the (too-frequent) post-modern feminist theory discussions.
|Grewe, Rudolf, and Constance B. Hieatt. Libellus de Arte Coquinaria: An Early Northern Cookery Book.|
Tucson: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance S, 2001. Print. ISBN 0-86698-264-7.
Only thirty-odd recipes. But they are from one of the earliest surviving European sources (not written in Latin, that is). Interesting recipes, with the various originals alongside. Good glossary.
|Grainger, Sally, and Dan Shadrake. Apicius: a Critical Edition with an Introduction and English Translation.|
New York: Prospect Books (UK), 2006. Print. ISBN 1-903018-13-7.
"Some have asked why it is necessary to have another edition and translation of Apicius... Previous editions have been edited and translated either by scholars whose understanding of the technology and processes of the kitchen was limited to varying degrees, or (in one instance) by a chef whose understanding of Latin was sometimes questionable."
I can't put it any better than that.
|Harris, Karen trans. Manual de mujeres en el cual se contienen muchas y diversas recetas muy buenas (Manual of Women in which is contained many and diverse very good recipes)|
Published 1500. Self-published.
About 80% are household health-type recipes, e.g. "Soap for the hands", "Remedy for earache". The 31 dishes included wander around markedly different foods - from varied preserves to two recipes for making blood pudding. (The translator has an online version available here.)
|Heffner, Edward H., and E. S. Forster, trans. Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella : On Agriculture and Trees.|
New York: Loeb Classical Library, 1955. Print. ISBN 0-674-99449-3.
Latin alongside English. Good information on preserving and pickling; the rest is not directly useful, unless you happen to have an orchard and need two-thousand-year-old tips. Okay, to be fair, some of them are still good, like the section on grafting.
|Herman, Judith and Marguerite Shalett. The Cornucopia.|
New York: Harper & Row, 1973. Print. ISBN 0-06-011841-5.
You get a sense of this book's priorities by reading its subtitle: A Kitchen Entertainment & Cook Book. 15th century translations and 19th century recipes are scattered higgledy-piggledy. (A phrase that dates to 1598, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Feel free to use that next time you need some random trivia at a cocktail party.)
|Hieatt, Constance B., and Sharon Butler, eds. Curye on Inglisch: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century.|
London: Published for the Early English Text Society by the Oxford UP, 1985. Print. ISBN 0-19-722409-1.
One of the "standard" reference works. Lots of recipes. Even if you prefer interpreted cook books and plan on never doing your own redactions, get this book for the fabulous glossary. I have sometimes referred to the recipes as "Curye on Brown Goo", but don't let that dissuade you. They can actually be quite good. British cooking didn't really decline to its current state until the 18th century.
(13th c. to
|Hieatt, Constance B., Terry Nutter, and Johnna H. Holloway. Concordance of English Recipes: Thirteenth Through Fifteenth Centuries.|
Tucson: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance S, 2006. Print. ISBN 978-0-86698-357-0.
As the title indicates, this is not a recipe collection but a concordance, or an index of recipe names and which collections they appear in. Tremendously useful if you can't remember where to find "Blaunche Escrepes". Also, the recipe names are modernized alongside so you can see all six "ravioles" recipes together despite their varying original spelling.
(13th c. to
|Hieatt, Constance B. A Gathering of Medieval English Recipes.|
Turnhout: Brepols, 2008. Print. ISBN 978-2-503-52898-4.
A supplement to the author's Concordance with a number of English culinary manuscripts that didn't make it in. No glossary or transliteration, so use the one from Curye. Most recipes are variations on ones available elsewhere, but a few are completely different.
|Hodgett, Gerald AJ. Stere Htt Well.|
London: Cornmarket, 1972. Print. ISBN 0-7191-1487-X.
Late 15th century medicines and recipes alongside a facsimile of the original. Oddly enough, it starts with a listing of group names, e.g. a pride of lions, a city of badgers. My two favorites are "a temperance of cooks" (for tempering, or mixing ingredients -- not for abstinence) and "a disworship of Scots". No sectarian bias there.
|Ibn, Sayyar, Nawal Nasrallah, Sahban Ahmad Muruwwa, and Kaj Ohrnberg. Annals of the Caliph's Kitchen: Ibn Sayyar Al-Warraq's Tenth-century Baghdadi Cookbook : English Translation with Introduction and Glossary.|
Leyden: Brill, 2007. Print. ISBN 978-90-04-15867-2.
This massive work by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq is apparently the tenth-century precursor to the Kitab Al-Tabikh. A huge number of dishes and lots of variety. Seems to be well documented, with a large glossary. So why did I dock it a book? I'm not sure; maybe it's just that I don't play much with Arabic cuisine, so I'm not that interested. More my failing rather than this book's.
|Markham, Gervaise. The English Housewife. Ed. Michael R. Best.|
Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP, 1986. Print. ISBN 0-7735-0582-2.
Early 17th century (it was originally published in 1615), but the style is similar to late-16th century cookbooks. The succinct subtitle of the work is
"Containing the inward and outward virtues which ought to be in a complete woman; as her skill in physic, cookery, banqueting-stuff, distillation, perfumes, wool, hemp, flax, dairies, brewing, baking, and all other things belonging to a household."There are many sweet recipes, as was standard for the time. Good thing they didn't brush their teeth with honey-soaked cotton, as did the Romans.
|Ballerini, Luigi, and Maestro Martino of Como. The Art of Cooking: the First Modern Cookery Book.Trans. Jeremy Parzen.|
New York: University of California, 2005. Print. ISBN 0-520-23271-2.
A new translation with an introduction that's nearly as long as the work itself. Okay, that's an exaggeration. (But not much of one -- especially since the type size used in the intro is about half that of the main book.)
|May, Robert. The Accomplisht Cook (1685).|
Devon: Prospect Books, 2000. ISBN 0-907325-98X.
Lots of late 17th century English recipes. I particularly like the description how to draw patterns on pie tops according to their contents. However, the collection is more than fifty years too late for my primary interests.
|Messisbugo, Christoforo. Ariane Helou trans. Banchetti, Composizioni di Vivande et Apparecchio Generale. (aka Libro Novo)|
Venice, 1557. Print. Self-published, 2011.
An unpublished but much more scholarly translation than Potter's version. If it's ever published, I'll buy it immediately.
|Messisbugo, Christoforo. Charles A. Potter trans. Banchetti, Composizioni di Vivande et Apparecchio Generale. (aka Libro Novo)|
Venice, 1557. Print. Self-published, 2004.
A somewhat slangy translation of this very long cookbook. I disagree with some of his choices (such as baloney for mortadella - the modern bologna/baloney is quite different from this sausage) and the word choices are not always consistent: a recipe is translated as "Imperial Yellow Pottage" in the index but "Imperial Golded Pottage" in the actual recipe. But I'm glad to have one at all, because there are about 350 recipes here.
|Milham, Mary Ella, ed. Platina: On Right Pleasure and Good Health.|
Tempe, Ariz: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998. Print. ISBN 0-86698-208-6.
A good full (and lengthy) translation of Platina's work, with the Latin alongside. Where it differs from Martino's work (about 40% of the text was plagiarized) this is noted. An index would be nice, though!
|Parker, Margaret, Anne Ahmed, and Cambridge Staff Corpus Christi College. A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye: Margaret Parker's Cookery Book.|
New York: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 2002. ISBN 0-9504261-3-X.
A short recipe manuscript originally published in 1557. Corpus Christi College in Cambridge has published a facsimile to commemorate the college's 650th anniversary (!) and has done a fabulous job. The original is given in reproduced form, and the editor promises that it is faithful to the original in text, size, and color. A modern translation is alongside, although the quality is good enough that you can read the original -- which is good, as the translation is not exact. ("vergis" is translated as "verges", or "edges". I think that "verjuice" is a more accurate rendition.)
This collection also has several recipes for pie crust; there are only a few that have survived. The author has redacted some of the recipes, but they are intended for cocktail parties rather than historical accuracy. That section can be skipped.
Sadly, this book has apparently gone out of print.
|Peachey, Stuart, ed. The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin.|
New York: Stuart, 1992. Print. ISBN 1-85804-003-5.
There are some egregious errors in the glossary (e.g. "Grains" referenced as cardamom when it's actually grains of paradise, and lots of missing terms that are easily found in the OED). The first printing was in 1588; some other works date it to 1596, but that's the second edition.
Normally I'd have rated this two books for its errors -- but this source has two bread recipes! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find even one? Sorry, I'll stop now.
|Perry, Charles trans. A Baghdad Cookery Book: The Book of Dishes (Kitab Al-Tabikh). (PPC 79)|
New York: Prospect Books, 2005. ISBN 1-903018-42-0.
The Charles Arberry translation of the thirteenth-century Kitab al-Tabikh, writes Perry in his introduction, was groundbreaking for its time. However, having looked critically at the original, Perry found vast numbers of significant errors. So he re-translated it more accurately.
|Plat, Hugh. Delights for Ladies.|
Brighton: Liz Seeber, 2002. Reprint of the original edition of 1628.
A very good-quality, life-size facsimile of the original (which means 1x3 inches!) Unfortunately for my purposes, it was published 28 years too late. No glossary or transliteration, but it's easy enough to read with a little practice.
|Power, Eileen, trans. The Goodman of Paris.|
Avon: The Folio Society, 1992. Reprint of the original edition of 1928.
When this edition was published, it wasn't really done as a work of scholarship but as a historical interest book. This may be why some of the recipes are omitted and why the author accidentally ran some of them together. Still, interesting because it's firmly middle-class in origin. This means that there are more vegetable recipes than you might easily find elsewhere, for example. Its faults, however, beg for a new version to be published.
|Prescott, James. le Viandier de Taillevent.|
Eugene, Or: Alfarhaugr Pub. Society, 1989. ISBN 0-9623719-0-4.
A transcription and translation of a 1420s-era cooking manuscript. The recipes themselves are duplicated in Scully's translation, which came out slightly after this one.
(The author has an online version available here.)
|Renfrow, Cindy. Liber cure Cocorum.|
A modern English transcription and translation of a Northern English-dialect rhyming cooking manuscript from the 1420s or so. The actual recipes are mostly duplicates of those found in Curye on Inglisch. But it's in rhyme!
(The author has an online version available here.)
|Renfrow, Cindy. Take A Thousand Eggs Or More, vol. II.|
[United States]: C. Renfrow, 1990. Print. ISBN 0-9628598-0-X.
Recipes from Thomas Austin's collection. The second volume contains only original recipes, to allow you to make your own redactions. Both the original recipe and a modern transcription are present.
|Rodinson, Maxime, A.J. Arberry, and Charles Perry. Medieval Arab Cookery.|
Devon, England: Prospect books, 2001. Print. ISBN 0907325-91-2.
A collection of translations and essays. A.J. Arberry's 1939 translation of a 13th-century Arab cookery manual has been left largely as he wrote it. This is understandable due to copyright issues and so forth, but frustrating -- scholarship has advanced since then, so the many modern corrections are cross-referenced in the preface and footnotes. This means that to get the full benefit of the updates, you have to jump back and forth as you go.
|Rose, Peter G., ed. The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World.|
New York: Syracuse UP, 1998. Print. ISBN 0-8156-0503-X.
A well-written book transcribing the original recipes faithfully. The author also supplies background of the time and place the work was written. However, that date is 70 years past my upper limit. Interesting to trace the evolution from similar 15th century recipes, but not really valid to me.
(late 14th c.)
|Santanach, Joan ed. The Book of Sent Soví: Medieval recipes from Catalonia.|
Trans. Robin Vogelzang. New York: Tamesis Books, 2008. Print. ISBN 978-1-85566-164-6.
A thin book - only 57 recipes survive from this late fourteenth-century cookbook. The original Catalan is on the left and English on the right, along with recipes added later. Well documented and easy to use.
|Scully, Terence, ed. Chiquart's 'On Cookery': A Fifteenth-Century Savoyard Culinary Treatise.|
New York: P. Lang, 1986. Print. ISBN 0-8204-0352-0.
Faithfully preserves the flow of the exceedingly verbose original. Out of print, but there is a new version available.
|Scully, Terence, ed. Du fait de cuisine / On Cookery of Master Chiquart.|
Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, 2010. Print. ISBN 978-0-86698-402-7.
(Not yet reviewed)
(late 15th c.)
|Scully, Terence. Cuoco Napoletano: The Neapolitan Recipe Collection.|
Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan, 2000. Print. ISBN 0-472-10972-3.
A recipe collection from the end of the fifteenth century, sort of proto-Italian cookery with Catalan influences. As usual for Terence Scully's work, the translation is documented to within an inch of its life. The book is organized in three sections: the original, untranslated recipes; notes on translation; and finally the translated recipes. This means flipping back and forth while reading, so I would have preferred a different organization that would be easier to read. But hey, it wasn't written with me in mind.
|Scully, Terence, ed. La Varenne's Cookery.|
New York: Prospect Books (UK), 2006. Print. ISBN 1-903018-41-2.
This book is (like all of Scully's works) extraordinarily well translated, documented, and footnoted. The only reason I rated this two books instead of four is because the three books translated here are mid-seventeenth century. Not only are they fifty years too late for my purposes, but the recipes are drastically different from those published in the sixteenth century - Scully's text helpfully notes where La Varenne's recipes are echoed in Escoffier, for example.
|Scully, Terence, ed. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570).|
London: University of Toronto Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8020-9624-1.
It's too bad that most of the pictures from the original weren't included. That would have made the book much longer than its current 800 pages, though. The usual Scully good job translating and footnoting - although Louise Smithson points out that Scully (in his own words) assumes that a pound is the modern sixteen ounces, while most of the Italian peninsula of the time used twelve ounces as a pound. This will throw off recipe redactions drastically. It's still fabulous to have this finally translated into English, though.
|Scully, Terence, ed. The Viandier of Taillevent.|
[Ottawa]: University of Ottawa, 1988. Print. ISBN 0-7766-0174-1.
Exceedingly complete. Scully provides simultaneous line-by-line comparisons of all the versions. You have to wade through 280 pages to get to usable recipes. When you do, it's worthwhile... but I actually prefer Prescott's version, written for the cooking enthusiast rather than the translator.
|Scully, Terence, ed. The Vivendier: A Fifteenth-Century French Cookery Manuscript.|
Totnes, Devon, England: Prospect Books, 1997. Print. ISBN 0-907325-815.
No, this is not a typo for The Viandier, although some of the recipes are nearly identical. Scully provides the original and an English translation, as well as a glossary of medieval French terms. The source is a 15th century work. The recipes include vermicelli (this is rare) and a fabulous roast chicken subtlety:
"Get a chicken or any other bird you want, and pluck it alive cleanly in hot water. Then get the yolks of 2 or 3 eggs; they should be beaten with powdered saffron and wheat flour... by means of a feather paint your pullet carefully with this mixture so that its colour looks like roast meat... put the chicken's head under its wing, and turn it in your hands, rotating it until it is fast asleep. Then set it down on your platter with the other roast meat. When it is about to be carved it will wake up and make off down the table upsetting jugs, goblets, and whatnot."Ah, fine medieval humor. Not recommended for actual use as the ASPCA would be on your case!
|Spurling, Hilary. Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book.|
New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Viking Penguin, 1986. Print. ISBN 0-670-81592-6.
The author narrates her work as a chatty travelogue through the seasons, so recipe organization is lacking. The source material was originally written in 1604, but numerous additions were made over the next couple hundred years. Unfortunately there is no way to determine when the cited recipes were written -- so use with care.
|Stevenson, Jane, and Peter Davidson, eds. The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Opened.|
Blackawton, Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books, 1997. Print. ISBN 0-907325-76-9.
This is an excellent compilation. I only rated it three books because it dates from 1669, or 70 years too late for my purposes. Also, I don't brew so the vast number of mead recipes do nothing for me. (If this were on bread, however... [in Homer Simpson voice] mmmmm, mead on bread.)
|Todorow, Maria Fossi. Invito Alla Mensa Del Mercante Del Trecento / an Invitation to the Table of a Merchant of the Trecento Usi, Arnesi E Ricette Della Cucina Medievale / Customs, Utensils and Recipes in the Medieval Kitchen.|
Florence: Polistampa, 2009. Print. ISBN 978-88-596-0610-9.
This 14th century cookbook was last published by S. Morpurgo in 1890; a few of the recipes are reproduced in Redon's book but only one overlaps. Sadly, this book contains only four recipes total. The rest of the very thin pamphlet has illustrations of utensils, vegetables, etc. Not really worth the three minutes it took to read.
|Vehling, Joseph Dommers. Apicius' Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome.|
New York: Dover Publications, 1977. Print. ISBN 0-486-23563-7.
(10th c. to
|Zaouali, Lilia. Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World: a Concise History with 174 Recipes.|
Trans. M. B. DeBevoise. Berkeley, Calif.: Univ. of California, 2009. Print. ISBN 978-0-520-26174-7.
174 recipes from the Kitab Al-Tabikh and a couple other Arabic works I haven't seen elsewhere, along with thirty (mostly forgettable) modern redactions.
Interpreted Sources (Cook Books)
|Aresty, Esther. The Delectable Past.|
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1964.
Some cookbooks age well. This work, however, is not one of them. The redacted recipes have scanty attribution, and some of her recipes clearly contradict the originals.
|Beebe, Ruth Anne. Sallets, Humbles, & Shrewsbery Cakes.|
Boston: David R. Godine, 1976. ISBN 0-87923-238-2.
The recipes are good, but there's no way to tell what came from which source. If I wanted to do that level of research, I'd just buy the primary sources directly.
|Berriedale-Johnson, Michelle. The British Museum Cookbook.|
New York: Parkwest/British Museum Publications, 1988. Print. ISBN 0-7141-1663-7.
Inspired by the collections in the British Museum (you might have guessed that from the title), this book contains recipes "to recreate a flavour of what fashionable ancient Greek society in Athens, Anglo-Saxon peasants in their villages... or late medieval Frenchmen might have eaten."
Unfortunately, since there are no known original recipes from the Aztecs, for example, the author has neglected to give any source material. In the "Classical Greece" section tomatoes and potatoes are specifically excluded [good] but an "Ancient Egypt" recipe calls for coffee [very bad]. I wouldn't use this as a reliable source when so many better-documented books are out there.
|Black, Maggie. The Medieval Cookbook.|
New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992. Print. ISBN 0-500-01548-1.
Lots of good pictures. Interpreted recipes from various fourteenth and fifteenth century sources (complete with the originals). A decent way to get introduced to medieval-style cooking... although in many cases her recipe deviates substantially from the cited source.
|Black, Maggie, Jane Renfrew, Peter Brears, Jennifer Stead, and Gill Corbishley. A Taste of History.|
New York: British Museum, 1997. Print. ISBN 0-7141-1788-9.
A collection of articles on eight different time periods, ranging from pre-historic to the twentieth century. All are by noted English food historians. Good background information and decent line drawings (rather than photographs). Original recipes are not always given but in general, the redactions appear pretty reasonable.
|Brown, Michèle. Royal Recipes.|
New York: Trafalgar Square, 1995. Print. ISBN 1-85793-6914.
The author claims to have redacted actual historical recipes appropriate to the reign of each English monarch since 1066. This would mean she has found several early English cookery sources unknown to real scholars. But since no sources or original recipes are provided, her claim is conveniently impossible to verify.
|Buxton, Moira. Medieval Cooking Today.|
Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire: The Kylin Press, 1983. ISBN 0-907128-14-9.
Medieval recipes loosely interpreted for the modern palate. If you are trying to be authentic (I feel that's the point...) then use the original recipes instead, which are listed.
|Cosman, Madeleine. Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony.|
New York: George Braziller, 1976. Print. ISBN 0-8076-0898-X.
The author once admitted to making up some of her "historic" recipes. (Personally, I have never seen a medieval recipe for parsley bread. And believe me, I've looked.) The interpretations use quite a few non-period ingredients, such as confectioner's sugar (which contains cornstarch) and allspice.
The pictures are better, but like the recipes, they are not all medieval. The sole redeeming feature of this book is the bibliography -- which is odd, since Cosman seems not to have used it much herself. Buy it to see how far we've come if you absolutely must, but do not, under any circumstances, use this for documentation.
|Dalby, Andrew and Grainger, Sally. The Classical Cookbook.|
Los Angeles, Calif: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002. Print. ISBN 0-89236-394-0.
Recipes based on descriptions in poetry, pictures, narratives, and the occasional recipe from the ancient Greek and Roman world. It's much, much better documented than the usual attempt at this sort of thing.
|Dembinska, Maria. Food and Drink in Medieval Poland: Rediscovering a Cuisine of the Past.|
New York: University of Pennsylvania, 1999. Print. ISBN 0-8122-3224-0.
This book falls into two sections: documentary information on medieval Polish cookery, and reconstructed recipes. Likewise I was tempted to split the ratings; the documentary section is good, with well-researched material (and deserves a three-book rating). The recipes, however, I would rate one book because they are the translator's guesses. Granted, there are no surviving Polish cookbooks from the medieval period. These may in fact be accurate reconstructions; but we will probably never know. To me, that makes it unreliable -- even if, to her credit, the author candidly admits this.
Anyway, I averaged the two and rated the whole thing at two books.
|Driver, Christopher and Berriedale-Johnson, Michelle. Pepys at Table: Seventeenth century recipes for the modern cook.|
Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California, 1984. Print. ISBN 0-520-05386-9.
A short description of the life of Samuel Pepys, a noted 17th diarist and gourmand. "He would have made an admirable inspector for a Restoration Good Food Guide". The recipes themselves are taken from various cookery books roughly within Pepys' lifetime (published 1653 to 1723). Thus interesting, but not within my main area of focus -- and the primary reason for my low rating.
|Edwards, John. The Roman Cookery of Apicius.|
London: Random House, 1984. ISBN 0-7126-1064-2.
Easier to read -- and substantially more accurate -- than Vehling's translation, and decently-written adapted recipes. Edwards livens up the recipes with selected other Latin writers' quotes, e.g. Martial, Pliny, etc.
|Friedman, David, and Elizabeth Cook. A Miscelleny, 9th Edition.|
Excellent documentation, very good recipes (even if, in my opinion, there isn't enough saffron used -- Cariadoc does not like the flavor). My main semi-complaint is the somewhat inconsistent recipe ordering. Of course, that's historically accurate for this sort of work. I don't agree with all of the reconstructions, but this is still an excellent place to start developing a period palate and a feel for how to interpret period recipes.
(The authors have an online version available here.)
|Gitlitz, David, and Linda Kay Davidson. A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews.|
New York: St. Martin's, 1999. Print. ISBN 0-312-19860-4.
An interesting idea - use records from the Inquisition to re-create what Spanish conversos, converted Jews, habitually ate. Unfortunately these sources are tertiary at best; a fifteenth-century satiric poem decrying a converso's eating radishes and stuffed [chicken] crop is turned into a recipe, presented as what they might have eaten. Well, perhaps... but that's authorial inference, not reliable documentation.
|Grainger, Sally. Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today.|
New York: Prospect Books (UK), 2006. Print. ISBN 1-903018-44-7.
Nicely-explained recipes, and the theory behind the author's reconstructions. I would have rated it more highly if the original recipes had been included - but this is really intended as a companion to their Apicius translation, which does set out the originals in detail.
|Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery.|
Grand Rapids: Serif, 1999. Print. ISBN 1-897959-39-7.
The author presents "everyday Roman Food", in contrast to the popular image of huge upper-class banquets with larks pickled in honey. (Or the jaguar's earlobes, wolves' nibble chips, and ocelot's spleens sold by Graham Chapman in Monty Python's Life of Brian.) Original recipes or descriptions are given, along with assorted other cultural information.
|Hieatt, Constance. An Ordinance of Pottage.|
London: Prospect Books, 1988. Print. ISBN 0-907325-38-6.
Original recipes from a 15th Century English manuscript, followed by Prof. Hieatt's interpretations. One of the "standard" reference works. Lots of useful glop recipes here. Mmmm... glop. I like glop.
|Hieatt, Constance, and Sharon Butler. Pleyn Delit.|
Toronto: Univ of Toronto Pr, 1979. Print. ISBN 0-8020-6366-7.
A good introduction to medieval recipes. The originals are given, albeit in a hard-to-read font. Hieatt has since released a second version, adding more recipes and correcting some of the flaws (such as "grains of paradise = cardamom".) Hieatt apparently feels terrible that her initial error here has spread far and wide. Not the sort of fame she had envisioned getting through publishing...
|Isitt, Verity. Take a Buttock of Beefe.|
Southampton: Ashford Publ., 1987. Print. ISBN 0-907069-57-6.
Several problems with this book: the author is working from a recipe collection dated 1655 (fifty years too late for my purposes). Perhaps more importantly, her redactions often have nothing to do with the original recipes -- e.g. Jelly of Harts Horn becomes Strawberry Water Ice; To boyle Ducks after French Fashion turns into Cooked Chicken in Cream of Curry. At least the originals are given, which is something. I suppose.
|Klemettiä, Hannele. The Medieval Kitchen: A Social History with Recipes.|
London: Reaktion, 2012. Print. ISBN 978-1-86189-908-8.
A nice introduction to medieval cooking, with lots of pictures from books of hours, health manuals, and so forth. A good translation from the original Finnish that does not read as the common stilted construction. (The layout, however, could have been improved - there are lots of one- or two-page inserts that are worth reading, but interrupt the text.)
|Marks, Henry. Byzantine Cuisine.|
A good overview of cooking in the Byzantine Empire (4th through 15th centuries) as expressed in poems, medical theory, and monastic documents. Well documented; some of the redactions are supposition, but the author freely admits this. Two-thirds of the book is appendices with some of the original material. Impressive especially when you consider that this is strictly an amateur work. (This has its own problems -- he translated translations, rather than using the original source, so other reviews have pointed out fallacies. But still, I think he deserves praise for doing the work.)
|Matterer, James. A Boke of Gode Cookery, vol. I.|
Original recipes, generally with sources, translated and then interpreted. There are some unacknowledged post-1600 recipes, such as Shrewsbery Cakes; and some of the recipes use non-period ingredients, such as Cheddar cheese and hartshorn or baking powder. But all in all, a decent recipe book to have, especially for someone new to medieval cooking.
|McGregor, Pat. Traveling Dysshes, 2nd Edition.|
Self-published, 2002. ISBN 0-9723843-0-8.
An excellent introduction to period cooking. Good list of non-period foods and sources for period ones. There is a decent variety of recipes to help make a period potluck easier. Original recipes are given so you can compare it with the interpretation. I don't agree with all of the redactions, but that really could be said of any cookbook.
|Peachey, Stuart. The Book of Sausages 1580-1660.|
New York: Stuart, 1998. Print. ISBN 1-85804-117-1.
Pretty much the same comments as The Book of Breads below. This series would be so much more useful if it included a bibliography!
|Rain, Eden ed. The Feudal Gourmet, vol 6: A Brief Overview of Early Spanish Cuisine.|
A nicely-documented overview by the Madrone Culinary Guild in Seattle, and the reconstructions look tasty. There are a number of post-1600 recipes listed, but I would only exclude one of them -- I'll accept 1607 as the recipes are generally similar to those published in 1599. A recipe dated 1631 or 1655, however, tends to be dramatically different.
|Redon, Odile, Françoise Sabban, and Silvano Serventi. Edward Schneider, trans. The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy.|
Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998. Print. ISBN 0-226-70684-2.
Redon, Odile, Françoise Sabban, and Silvano Serventi. La Gastronomie au Moyen Age: 150 recettes de France et d'Italie.
Various primary-source recipes with the originals given. The reconstructions look reasonable, and there are some good shopping tips (e.g. avoid corn oil, buy rustic fruit). The French edition is almost exactly the same, but not translated for the American audience. Quite understandable since it was published in France.
|Renfrow, Cindy. Take A Thousand Eggs Or More, vol. I.|
[United States]: C. Renfrow, 1990. Print. ISBN 0-9628598-0-X.
Recipes from Thomas Austin's collection. The first volume is made up of interpreted recipes by the author. Both the original and a modern transcription are present. A good place to start developing a period palate.
|Riley, Gillian. Renaissance Recipes.|
San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1993. Print. ISBN 1-56640-577-7.
Middling-quality interpreted recipes with spotty attribution. The originals are not given, so it is difficult to judge the closeness of the redactions without knowing the sources. Good pictures, although they seem to be driving the text rather than the other way around.
|Santich, Barbara. The Original Mediterranean Cuisine.|
Chicago, Ill: Chicago Review, 1995. Print. ISBN 1-55652-272-X.
Decent background information on selected 15th century southern French, Italian, Spanish, and Arab recipes. The original and its translation is given along with each dish.
|Sass, Lorna. To the King's Taste.|
[New York]: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. Print. ISBN 0-87099-133-7.
Recipes from Curye on Inglisch. Her redactions are not always faithful, although the author admits this up front and originals are given. Decent short glossary.
|Sass, Lorna. To the Queen's Taste.|
Norwich: Fletcher & Son Ltd., 1977. ISBN 0-7195-3386-4.
Recipes from various works published 1585-1615. Otherwise, pretty much the same comments as above. (There is a revised edition out, which I do not have.)
|Savelli, Mary. Tastes of Anglo-Saxon England.|
Norfolk, England: Anglo-Saxon, 2002. Print. ISBN 1-898281-28-9.
There are no primary sources from the pre-Norman Conquest Anglo-Saxon period. At least, none have surfaced so far. The author was "trying to produce dishes an Anglo-Saxon thane would recognize and enjoy. My other goals were to create dishes an average cook could produce and a modern diner would enjoy." To this end she has created recipes based on the excellent documentary information found in Ann Hagen's books; Anglo-Saxon literature such as Aelfric's Colloquy; and Roman cookery, specifically Apicius and Anthimus.
There are many modern intrusions into her recipes. Some examples include rolled oats (19th century), bread pans (ditto), kidney beans (New World), and summer squash (likewise). She also says that cinnamon can substitute for mastic as they share a similiar taste -- which I have certainly not found to be true. The recipes look like they might taste good, but I wouldn't trust their historical accuracy.
|Scully, D. Eleanor and Terence. Early French Cookery.|
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1995. Print. ISBN 0-472-10648-1.
Like all of Terence Scully's books, this is exhaustively documented. The redactions appear good, although I don't care for the typeface he chose for this one (it's hard to read). Still, if that's my only complaint, really I'm doing pretty well.
|Segan, Francine. Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook.|
New York: Random House, 2003. Print. ISBN 0-375-50917-8.
Shakespeare died in 1616. So why does the author take half her recipes from The Accomplisht Cook, first published in 1660? Many of the interpreted recipes do not reference the original source. This may be intentional, as a quick perusal of the ones that are present often show unjustified changes.
|Waines, David. In a Caliph’s Kitchen.|
New York: Riad El-Rayyes Booksellers, 1995. Print. ISBN 1-869844-60-2.
Recipes "selected from medieval Arabic culinary collections dating from the early ninth to the late thirteenth century." The redacted recipes face a picture of the interpreted dish, with the original underneath. Good background information on the Arabic world, spices, preparation, and tools. So why did I give it a three-book rating rather than four? The cheesy pictures hurt its credibility, giving it a '50s Good Housekeeping kind of feeling.
|Willan, Anne. Great Cooks and their recipes: from Taillevent to Escoffier.|
London: Pavilion, 2000. Print. ISBN 1-86205-4371.
This book's sole redeeming feature is its good pictures. It would have improved had the author done actual research. She translates grains of paradise as cardamom and says that medieval cooks
"spiced [ingredients] in such profusion that the original taste was lost... food was often so stale as to be almost rotten."Also, she says that "poudre fin" from Taillevent's collection resembles curry powder. Well, I suppose you could make that claim... in that poudre fin is a mixture of spices that changed from area to area, and in its ubiquitous use. The composition is completely different, of course. Nowhere is that made clear.
|Wood, Jacqui. Tasting the Past: Recipes from the Stone Age to the Present.|
Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2009. Print. ISBN 978-0-7524-4794-0.
The author is a food historian for a British TV program. This may explain why her emphasis is on making modern-like, non-scary dishes rather than, say, historically accurate ones. As she herself puts it:
"There was a school of thought arguing that, unless you found the actual residue of a particular meal in a pot, then you could not say categorically that our ancestors ate it. I, however, approached the subject in a different way. If we watch a TV documentary about an Amazonian tribe, we all assume that if there were tasty plants near them in the forest they would have known about them and eaten them. So I did not see why our ancestors should have been any different."In other words, "making stuff up and calling it historical".
She does sometimes use actual recipes - for example, this one - but never with the original given, so that you could judge whether her interpretation is accurate. Hint: it isn't.
|Ashley, William. The Bread of our Forefathers: An Inquiry in Economic History.|
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928.
The author's forefathers don't predate the 18th century, apparently. Discussions of the different breeds of grains grown in England during the last few hundred years, but that's about it.
|Bailey, Adrian. The Blessings of Bread.|
New York: Gramercy, 1988. Print. ISBN 0-517-226359.
A coffee-table book with no serious interest in history. Look at the period illustrations on the first forty pages, and ignore the rest.
|David, Elizabeth. English Bread and Yeast Cookery.|
Newton: Viking Penguin, 1977. ISBN 0-9643600-0-4.
One of the seminal books on baking throughout history, with many historic recipes and good detail. Exceedingly good for the novice baker. Most of the recipes are 18th century and later, however.
|Desportes, Françoise. Le Pain au Moyen Âge (Bread in the Middle Ages).|
Paris: O. Orban, 1987. Print. ISBN 2-85565-350-9.
The best book I've found for baker's marks (it has actual pictures of surviving dies). Mainly limited to France, but perhaps that's because it's in French. This makes it difficult for those who don't speak the language, obviously.
|Dupaigne, Bernard. Antonio and Sylvie Roder, trans. The History of Bread.|
New York: Harry N Abrams, 1999. Print. ISBN 0-8109-3438-8.
An oversize coffee table book. Historical eras are summed up in one page. Some decent pictures, but may be useful only to a complete novice.
|Galavaris, George. Bread and the Liturgy: the Symbolism of Early Christian and Byzantine Bread Stamps.|
Madison, Milwaukee, and London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1970.
I thought that given the title, it would focus on secular bakers' marks. That shows my ignorance of Catholic ritual. It's actually a study of the liturgy of the early Byzantine Church. Bread, where mentioned, is strictly the unleavened Host used in services. Bread stamps, in this context, are used to imprint decorative elements upon the Host: crosses, fish, etc.
|Goodwin, Gillian. Manchet & Trencher.|
London: Gelofer P.s, 1983. Print. ISBN 0-9506529-3-8.
Mostly 17th-century baking recipes. There is also some fun baking trivia here. Did you know that in some Islamic traditions, Adam was the first baker? The tree of knowledge was wheat, which was reduced to its current small size for its role in the fall of Adam and Eve.
|Holt, Richard. The Mills of Medieval England.|
Oxford, UK: B. Blackwell, 1988. Print. ISBN 0-631-15692-5.
I rated this two books, not because its scholarship is lacking, but more due to the relatively abtruse subject matter. Don't bother to read it unless you are passionate about mill technology. Or if, like me, you are interested in the subject matter solely because of its links to bread.
|Jacob, H.E. Six Thousand Years of Bread.|
New York: Lyons & Burford, 1997. Print. Reprint of the original edition of 1944. ISBN 1-55821-575-1.
History written in a lyrical documentary style, much in favor at the time. If that doesn't annoy you, there is lots of information about bread's historical role. The book is especially good talking about ancient Egypt and Rome.
|Moritz, L.A. Grain-Mills and Flour in Classical Antiquity.|
New York: Oxford Univ., 2002. Print. Reprint of the original edition of 1958. ISBN 0-19-814221-8.
A very scholarly work. I took a while to read it, because my eyes kept glazing over (and I'm interested in this sort of thing!) The book is essentially two separate monographs slapped together: one on Greek and Roman mills, the other (surprise!) on flour. Way too technical for my level of interest, although if I were researching a master's thesis I'm sure I'd find it invaluable.
Some fun trivia from the book, though: the Roman equivalent of "knowing one's place" is "To know the color of one's bread". That's because high-class people have refined sensibilities, so their digestion can't handle coarse bread. Peasants, of course, would get sick if they ate white bread, so you do them a favor by only providing them coarse stuff. This line of thought continued well into the 19th century.
|Peachey, Stuart. The Book of Breads 1580-1660.|
New York: Stuart, 1996. Print. ISBN 1-85804-082-5.
Some useful recipes, but unfortunately the source documentation is referenced only in cryptic codes. If you already have the works, you can backtrack to figure them out (e.g. GHHK61 = The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin, p. 61. But if that's the case, why do you need this pamphlet? Sigh.
|Peachey, Stuart. Bakers 1580-1660.|
Bristol: Stuart, 1998. Print. ISBN 1-85804-115-5.
Intended "to look at the possessions and lifestyle of bakers primarily by using details of their possessions and homes from probate inventories." A laundry list of dead bakers' stuff.
|Phillips, Gordon. 1666 and All That: A History of the Bakers’ Company.|
[London]: Bakers' Co., Granta, 1993. Print. ISBN 0-906782-97-X.
The title led me to believe that the subject would be 17th century at best. Happily for me and my obsessions, the book was commissioned by the London Bakers' Company as a sort of sequel to Sylvia Thrupp's work and it contains much pre-16th century information. (The title comes from the Great Fire of London, which was accidentally started by a baker to Charles II. One trivia bit from the book is that the Bakers' Company put up a plaque in 1986 acknowledging their role in the fire's start, but with enough lawyer weaseling to preclude any modern claims for damages.)
Information in the book is somewhat disjointed; the author jumps around from topic to topic and from era to era. It also skims the surface rather than being as in-depth as I would like. Still, there are lots of intriguing excerpts for me to research further. And the best bit from my view: there is a two-page color spread of the 1569 charter granted by Elizabeth I!
|Plaetinck, Walter, van der Linden, Renaat, and Mertens, Phil. Le Rayonnement du Pain. (The Influence of Bread.)|
Tielt: Imprimerie Lannoo, 1980. ISBN 90-209-0933-9.
A French coffee-table book. Some historic information, but mostly concerned with modern decorative bread. There are some great pictures of medieval heraldic wafer irons, though.
|Sheppard, Ronald, and Edward Newton. The Story of Bread.|
London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1957.
Exceedingly dated and mostly modern. Is that a contradiction in terms? Well, what I mean is that the history is 19th century on, and the "research" reflects its '50s publication date. Many absolute statements given with no supporting documentation.
|The "Staff of Life", A Short History of Milling.|
Adelaide: Sands and McDougall, 1883.
"Compiled by E.F.L.H." If I was the author of this vanity press, I wouldn't give my name either. It's a love-fest to a 19th century Australian miller named John Dunn. Two chapters of history are, um, scantily researched: the complete history of milling, from 800 BC through the (then) modern day, takes up a whopping five pages. You get the idea.
|Thrupp, Sylvia. The Worshipful Company of Bakers: A Short History.|
Croydon: Galleon Press, 1933.
All right, I'm biased here. Only truly useful to a bread geek. But if that's the case, you'll find this a nifty book. It's got a black-and-white picture of the 1569 Guild charter; a little bit of information on bakers' marks; and lots of obscure history of the London guild that so far, I haven't found anywhere else.
|Watts, Martin. The Archaeology of Mills & Milling.|
Charleston: Tempus Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-7524-1966-8.
Similar in style to, and possibly conceived as a companion to Richard Holt's work. Many good drawings and pictures. Concentrates primarily on English milling in the pre-medieval era. If you want to see a reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon horizontal waterwheel mill, this is the book for you.
|Wood, Ed. World Sourdoughs From Antiquity.|
Berkeley, Calif: Ten Speed, 1996. Print. ISBN 0-89815-843-5.
Written by a baker who, for a National Geographic special, attempted to bake bread in replicas of ancient Egyptian ovens. Mostly a bread recipe book, although there is good information on the history of different grains.
|Ziehr, W. and Bührer, E.M. Le Pain à Travers les Ages: Paysan, meunier, boulanger.|
Paris: Editions Hermé, 1985. ISBN 2-86665-011-5.
A French coffee table book about bread. Too bad; with a name like "Bread Through the Ages", I was hoping for better. Mostly modern and no documentation. Some good pictures, though, including a 5500-year-old loaf of bread discovered in Switzerland. (No, they didn't try to eat it after digging it up.)
Documentary or Secondary Sources
|Adamson, Melitta Weiss. Food in the Middle Ages: a Book of Essays.|
New York: Garland Pub., 1995. Print. ISBN 978-0-8153-1345-8.
Ten short essays on various aspects of medieval food. They have essentially nothing in common - they range from a discussion on "tempering", to a tantalizing overview of a 1451 cooking manuscript from a German monastery, to the use of pears as a pregnancy imagery in Chaucer. The authors include reputable names and some of the essays are engaging, but I wouldn't need to read it more than once.
|Albala, Ken. The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe.|
New York: University of Illinois, 2007. Print. ISBN 978-0-252-03133-5.
Well-documented information on banqueting in a narrow focus of years: 1520 to 1660. The areas covered include not just the types of foods used, but "national" cookery, carving, and sources of the time condemning banquets. There are a few recipes included, too.
|Albala, Ken. Eating Right in the Renaissance.|
New York: University of California, 2002. Print. ISBN 0-520-22947-9.
To date, the best book I have read on humour theory. In a somewhat dry but excellent work, Albala documents and contrasts the various humoural theorists' works from the 1470s to 1650. The author's stated goal is to better understand the workings of the Renaissance mind by its ideas on food, and he does an admirably complete job.
|Alcock, Joan P. Food in Roman Britain.|
Grand Rapids: Tempus, Limited, 2001. Print. ISBN 0-7524-1924-2.
Documentary evidence, rather than recipes; lots of pictures and drawings. Chapters on meat, fowl, vegetables, nuts, and so forth (as well as a lengthy section on baking). Also drinks, kitchen utensils, furniture, army diets, and more. Well documented by archaeological digs.
|Arano, Luisa Cogliati. Oscar Ratti and Adele Westbrook, trans. The Medieval Health Handbook (Tacuinum Sanitatis).|
New York: G. Braziller, 1976. Print. ISBN 0-8076-0808-4.
This is taken from four related 14th century works of humour theory, one of which Spencer translated in her book. The pictures are smaller and mostly black and white, but are more complete. I also like this translation better.
My personal (non-bread) favorite:
"Chatting. Nature: it induces sleep.
|Backhouse, Janet. Medieval Rural Life in the Luttrell Psalter.|
Toronto: University of Toronto, 2000. Print. ISBN 0-8020-8399-4.
A very short book with selected good-quality reproductions from a 14th century illuminated manuscript. Pictures of cooks, a banquet, farming, etc. I like the kitchen tools. One of my friends once made me a giant flesh hook based on these illustrations.
|Banham, Debby. Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon England.|
Grand Rapids: Tempus, Limited, 2004. Print. ISBN 0-7524-2909-4.
"What did the Anglo-Saxons eat?" The author attempts to answer this, using archeological evidence. While nowhere as complete as Ann Hagen's books, it is much easier to read. Some sections are more in-depth (such as the chapter on bread). Excellent footnotes and bibliography, too. It's a pity the book is only 96 pages...
|Brears, Peter. Cooking & Dining in Medieval England.|
Blackawton, Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books, 2008. Print. ISBN 978-1-903018-55-2.
A gargantuan quantity of useful information about feasting and dining in the 14th and 15th centuries. Also kitchen layout, tools, staffing levels... just wow.
|Brooks, Phillips V. Kitchen Utensils: Names, Originals, and Definitions from the Early Middle Ages to the Mid-Nineteenth Century.|
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Print. ISBN 1-4039-6619-2.
A compendium of kitchen utensils, but you probably guessed that from the title. The lists are organized by type (serving dishes, drinking vessels, cutlery) and each term has a definition, documented variant spellings with sources, and the earliest known citation. Some pictures, too. So you can find out such vital information, for example, that a "pottle" dates to 1300 and is a liquid measure equal to two quarts, and was variously spelled potel, potell, potelle, pottel, and pottell.
|Carlin, Martha, and Joel Rosenthal ed. Food and Eating in Medieval Europe.|
London: Hambledon, 1998. Print. ISBN 1-85285-148-1.
Eleven shortish essays on various food-related topics such as food in The Canterbury Tales, the Anglo-Saxon feast hall, medieval wedding banquets, etc. Everyday-life type info, and worth reading.
|Centre Universitaire d'Études et de Recherches Médiévales d'Aix. Banquets et Manières de Table au Moyen Âge (Banquets and Table Manners in the Middle Ages).|
Aix-en-Provence: L'Université de Provence, 1996. ISBN 2-901104-38-9.
38 articles and 562 pages, all in modern French. The articles I've skimmed seem okay, but the collection didn't impress me enough to justify the effort of mentally translating the whole thing.
|Cheke, Val. The Story of Cheese-Making in Britain.|
London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1959.
Mainly concerned with the eighteenth century on. The short shrift given to early history (the chapter on "Cheese from Saxon to Tudor Times" allots twenty pages to 1100 years!) don't justify buying the book.
|Crossley-Holland, Nicole. Living and Dining in Medieval Paris: The Household of a Fourteenth Century Knight.|
Wales: University of Wales, 1996. Print. ISBN 0-7083-1368-X.
Another good book regrettably out of print. The author discusses 14th century urban French life, from the standpoint of the middle class. She also identifies who she thinks is the author of the anonymous Le Menagier de Paris. I'll accept her arguments. (Of course, I don't have the scholarly background to disagree, but still, the book seems reasonably persuasive.)
|Dalby, Andrew. Dangerous Tastes: the Story of Spices.|
New York: University of California, 2000. Print.
A relatively easy-to-read overview of the history of spices: the trade routes, uses, and suchlike. I found it useful, despite the standard weaknesses of such a survey (most spices have a page or two devoted to their use). The organization is a bit arbitrary and not the easiest to follow. Excellent bibliography, though.
|David, Elizabeth. Harvest of the Cold Months: the Social History of Ice and Ices.|
New York, N.Y: Viking, 1995. Print. ISBN 0-670-85975-4.
I rated this "pick through with care" not because it's a sloppy work, but because ices and sorbets date to the 1650s at the earliest. Still, an interesting read for historical value.
|Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food.|
Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print. ISBN 0-19-211579-0.
Okay, this massive work (850+ 9x11-inch pages in 6 point type) is probably not complete, in that I am not sure anyone could get every single food item. It does not claim to list all possible fruit breeds, for example. Still, it ranges from aardvark to zucchini. Not bad for twenty years' worth of work!
(I pointed out to Mr. Davidson that his entry on "Shrewsbery Cakes" is incorrect, in that the earliest recorded recipe I've seen dates to 1621, rather than 1734 as published. It might have gotten a mention in the next update, if he hadn't died.)
|Dawson, Mark. Plenti and grase: Food and Drink in a Sixteenth-Century Household.|
New York: Prospect Books, 2009. ISBN 978-1-903018-56-9.
I read this a few months ago, and I forgot to make any notes on it. I can't remember what it was about beyond what's mentioned in the title, either. Based on that damning with faint praise, I'm giving it a 2-book rating.
|de Worde, Wynkyn. The Boke of Kerunyge.|
Lanham: Archaeological Institute of America, 2003. Print. ISBN 1-870962-19-2.
Or, as it would be written today, The Book of Carving. A facsimile of the 1508 original dealing with proper table manners. Fun information to properly serve a meal, spelling out how to fold the three required tablecloths, wrapping bread for service, and how many trenchers each guest should have based on rank. As promised by the title, carving methods are also revealed:
"To sauce a capon.
|Egan, Geoff. Medieval Household; Daily Living c.1150-c.1450.|
London: Stationery Office Books, 1998. ISBN 0-11-290490-4.
The sixth book in the Museum of London series, detailing medieval finds from archeological excavations around London: things that fall under the household label. This means lots of spoons, candlesticks, keys and locks, trivets, etc. The author apologizes that for budgetary reasons, they used mostly pictures rather than hand-drawings; personally, I find the pictures easier to see and use for documentation.
|Feild, Rachael. Irons in the Fire: a History of Cooking Equipment.|
Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire: Crowood, 1984. Print. ISBN 0-946284-55-5.
"The Black Death brought prosperity and bricks to medieval England." That about sums up the depth of this book's research.
And I do mean depth. Some nice pictures of medieval firedogs and trivets, though. (If you don't know what those are, well -- read this book or, better yet, a more scholarly one like Geoff Egan's.)
|Flandrin, Jean-Louis, Massimo Montanari, and Albert Sonnenfeld. Food: A Culinary History.|
New York: Penguin (Non-Classics), 2000. Print. ISBN 0-14-029658-1.
An assortment of short articles, organized from ancient Greek and Roman times on. The quality is uneven: the first five pieces (all on ancient times) each use the same vastly over-cited quote from Brillat-Savarin ("Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are"). This epigram was authored 2000 years later than their subject matter!
Also, some of the later material on medieval times is written with a blatant Marxist spin (i.e. proto-capitalist nobles unjustly enriching themselves by exploiting the downtrodden workers' labor) -- I find this distracting, and just get annoyed at the preaching.
|Fletcher, Nichola. Charlemagne's Tablecloth: A Piquant History of Feasting.|
New York: Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Group Ltd ), 2005. Print. ISBN 0-75381-974-0.
Random anecdotes in no particular order. The bibliography is good, though - the author made an attempt to document the tales she chose for the book. They range from pre-history to near-modern, so it's difficult to use as a form of documentation.
|Freedman, Paul H. Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination.|
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. Print. ISBN 978-0-300-15135-0.
An interesting read on why medieval Europe coveted spices - not just for their flavors, but also fashion, conspicuous consumption, medicine via humour theory, and ultimately their "virtue" and symbolic nature.
|Furnivall, Frederick J. ed. Caxton's Book of Curtesye.|
Washington D.C.: Early English Text Society, 1998. Reprint of the original 1868 edition. Print. ISBN 0-85991-950-1.
A 15th century book of manners. There are two versions of the text, one circa 1477 and the other dated 25 years later; they are presented on opposite pages for comparison. The poem enjoins a child to
"shall not Also at the borde youre naylis pare, Ne pike not youre teth wyth youre knyff".Seems fairly sensible, really.
|Furnivall, Frederick J. ed. Early English Meals and Manners.|
Detroit: Singing Tree Press, 1969. Reprint of the 1867 edition.
Many books of manners and health collected together. They run the gamut from "a lytyl Reporte of how Young People should behave" to how to stay healthy, to the best way to carve meats at the high table. Utterly fascinating, and I doubt that one percent of this was ever actually followed.
|Grant, Mark. Galen on Food and Diet.|
New York: Routledge, 2000. Print. ISBN 0-415-23233-3.
I found this hard to read; but then, I don't enjoy vivid descriptions of black and yellow bile -- especially before breakfast. Galen did much to codify humour theory -- that what you eat affects your physical health by its humours, or properties; this was the basis for European medicine, and perhaps cookery, for most of the Middle Ages. One example, chosen (ahem) purely at random:
Garlic "heat[s] the body, as well as both thinning the thick juices and cutting through the viscous juices in it... on the whole they should not be served until [it has] been cooked. But garlic is eaten not just as an accompaniment to bread, but also as a medicine for the health, because it contains aperient [laxative] and discutient [dissolving] powers."
|Hagen, Ann. A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink: Processing and Consumption.|
Pinner, Middlesex, England: Anglo-Saxon Books, 1994. Print. ISBN 0-9516209-8-3.
Two (unfortunately, poorly-bound) comprehensive works on early Anglo-Saxon food. The books cover roughly from the 5th century to the 11th. Documentary evidence, rather than recipes; but knowing the breeds of cows kept, for example, is useful stuff if you are trying to judge how much meat we get per animal as compared to what they could. One of my favorite bits: the Saxons would dip birch twigs in liquid yeast, hang dry, and store it that way -- their equivalent of today's modern dried yeast packets.
The two books have been re-issued as one in a much better binding, which I do not have.
|Hagen, Ann. A Second Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink: Production & Distribution.|
Hockwold cum Wilton, Norfolk, England: Anglo-Saxon Books, 1995. Print. ISBN 1-898281-12-2.
|Hammond, P.W. Food and Feast in Medieval England.|
Grand Rapids: Sutton Publishing, 1998. Print. ISBN 0-905-778-251.
A good read, which counts for a lot on a fairly dry subject. Hammond does a surprisingly in-depth overview of what people ate (breaking it down by country, town, and gentry), as well as table manners and feast menus. Many good pictures and drawings.
|Hampton Court Palace. The Tudor Kitchens.|
Printline Limited, 1991.
Pretty pictures of the kitchens at Hampton Court (duh) that have been redone in their original 16th century style. Unfortunately, a fair number of typos and no documentation; seems aimed at the ignorant tourist trade.
|Harrison, Molly. The Kitchen in History.|
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972. ISBN 0-684-13302-4.
Some decent drawings of kitchen equipment. Unfortunately, the author also believes that medieval food was heavily spiced to disguise the taste of rotting meat. Sigh... we'll probably never get rid of this myth. Bark!
|Henisch, Bridget Ann. Fast and Feast.|
New York: Pennsylvania State UP, 1976. Print. ISBN 0-271-00424-X.
A good background from the 13th to 15th century, on kitchens, cooks, manners and serving methods, and so on. Lots of good pictures from period manuscripts (including a bread trough).
|Henisch, Bridget Ann. The Medieval Cook.|
London: Boydell Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-84383-438-0.
A decent introduction to the duties and perceptions of medieval cooks. I didn't learn anything new, but it's a good starter that pulls in a fair amount of disparate information into one place.
|Huggett, Jane. The Mirror of Health: Food, Diet, and Medical Theory 1450-1660.|
New York: Stuart, 1995. Print. ISBN 1-85804-076-0.
A good brief overview, but incomplete. The attribution is also inconsistent. Still, a worthwhile starting point.
"Bread is above all things man's proper food."Some things never change.
|Jaine, Tom ed. Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery 1988: The Cooking Pot.|
London: Prospect Books, 1989. ISBN 0-907-32542-4.
The Symposium proceedings: twenty-five short articles on such varied subjects as the Maya chocolate pot, cannibalism, mortars and pestles, and medieval French pots. The articles are good, short, overviews; generally not more than a couple of pages.
|Jobard, E. ed. Essai sur l'Histoire de la Moutarde de Dijon (Essay on the History of Dijon Mustard).|
Luzarches: Réunis de Senlis, 1978. Reprint of the original 19th century edition.
A vanity press work, put together with a high degree of care. The cover is tooled leather (with a drawing of the mustard plant), and the pages are carefully sewn together. (My wife, who has studied bookbinding, tells me this is a very good quality book. I just smile and nod.) (Hey, wait a minute -- that's what she does when I start talking about bread!)
The book itself is small and quite short. Oh, and in French. The most important thing for my interests is that Dijon mustard, in its current form, dates only to the early 18th century. However, the city itself was known for mustard since the 13th century. So what makes Dijon-style mustard different? It's traditionally made with verjuice, not vinegar.
|Kurlansky, Mark. Cod.|
New York: Penguin (Non-Classics), 1998. Print. ISBN 0-14-027501-0.
I enjoyed this book and learned more than I expected. However, the back cover does a better job proving the subtitle ("A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World") than does the main text.
|Kurlansky, Mark. Salt: A World History.|
New York: Penguin Books, 2003. Print. ISBN 0-14-200161-9.
A popular history rather than one directed at scholars. This is not a disqualifier; but it does mean no footnotes (despite a lengthy bibliography). The narrative is somewhat disjointed, as it leaps from one anecdote to the next. Some are documentably false, such as the one about Charlemagne eating Roquefort. Still, as a start you could do much worse.
|Lysaght, Patricia ed. Milk and milk products from Medieval to Modern Times.|
Edinburgh: Published by Canongate Academic in association with the Department of Irish Folklore, University College Dublin and the European Ethnological Research Centre, Edinburgh, 1994. Print. ISBN 1-898410-12-7.
Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Ethnological Food Research, held in 1992. The book consists of many short articles on varied topics revolving around milk. As is often the case with symposium proceedings, the articles are generally well-documented; however, their scope varies wildly and very little has to do with medieval times. Oh well.
|Mead, William Edward. The English Medieval Feast.|
New York: Barnes & Noble, 1967.
The book starts well, with decent factual research. But then it slips into an anti-medieval screed: (after quoting a recipe)
"If, by some miracle, a satisfactory dish resulted from vague directions of this sort, the cook was certainly to be congratulated."And Mead reiterates the lame spices-were-used-to-cover-rotting-meat theory.
|Mennell, Stephen. All Manners of Food.|
New York: University of Illinois, 1995. Print. ISBN 0-252-06490-9.
The book is subtitled "Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present", but don't be fooled. Most of the book is concerned with the 18th century on. More to the point, this is a work of historical sociology rather than cooking. The author is primarily concerned with how attitudes toward food differed from England to France. Very well documented, but not directed to my interests so I ended up basically skimming the last third.
|Paston-Williams, Sara. The Art of Dining: A History of Cooking & Eating.|
New York: Harry N Abrams, 1994. Print. ISBN 0-8109-1940-0.
Gorgeous pictures of houses kept in the British National Trust, arranged from late medieval through Edwardian times. Also a decent overview of various foods for each period. The author includes recipes "appropriate to the time of each house". Well, the original is given, at least. Ogle the pictures.
|Rohde, Eleanour Sinclair. The Old English Herbals.|
Minneapolis: Dover Publications, 1971. Reprint of the original edition of 1922. ISBN 0-4862-6193-X.
Descriptions and snippets from herb books, dating from the 10th through the 17th centuries. Mostly background information on plants, although a bit of humour theory is mentioned.
|Ross, Barbara trans. and ed. Accounts of the Stewards of the Talbot Household at Blakemere 1392-1425.|
Keele: Centre for Local History, University of Keele, 2003. Print. ISBN 0-9536020-4-4.
Transcribed audits of household expenses for the 14th century Talbot household. Bean-counting of the most literal sort. Thus extremely boring, although I can see how it could be useful to scholars to know that a household of (approximately) 40 people consumed over forty thousand loaves of bread or 17 pounds of pepper in a year.
|Scully, Terence. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages.|
Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell, 1995. Print. ISBN 0-85115-611-8.
Unlike many of Terence Scully's other works, this is not a translated recipe collection. It is his view of why medieval people cooked the way they did -- humour theory and medicine, ingredient availability or lack of same, culture, and so forth. The author has axes to grind with which not all food researchers agree, but he certainly sets forth prodigious documentation to support his ideas. And I certainly can't say that's bad.
|Seton, Walter ed. A Fifteenth Century Courtesy Book.|
London: Oxford University Press for the Early English Text Society, 1962. Reprint of the original edition of 1914.
Actually three separate texts: a 15th century book of manners, an undated but probably contemporaneous Franciscan set of rules titled "The Thirde Order of Seynt Franceys", and a 15th century rules manuscript for their sister order, the Order of Saint Clare, called "The Rewle of Sustris Menouresses enclosid".
The first text is a short, six-page work for servants, "A Generall Rule to Teche euery Man to Serve a Lorde or Mayster". How to set tables, serve food, what the order of servants is in the household, etc. The other two detail rules for each order.
|Shephard, Sue. Pickled, Potted, and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World.|
New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Print. ISBN 0-7432-1633-4.
Decent information on the different methods of preserving foods throughout history. The main problem I have, however, is the lack of footnotes -- Shephard cites many interesting anecdotes. Unfortunately, many of these cry out "urban myth" to me. An example:
"Louis XIII of France loved [dried mushrooms'] woodland scent so much that he lay on his deathbed in 1643 threading mushrooms onto strings for drying."A good story, yes. Actual historical fact? It seems unlikely, and without documentation I can't judge the source material.
|Smith, R.E.F. and Christian, David. Bread & Salt: A social and economic history of food and drink in Russia.|
Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge UP, 1984. Print. ISBN 0-521-25812-X.
Despite its name, there is not much in here on bread -- the book focuses on the history of Russian food in general. This is not inherently bad. However, most of the book deals with the 18th century on. Probably due to the scarcity of earlier source material, but still.
|Spencer, Judith, trans. The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti.|
New York: Facts on File, 1984. Print. ISBN 0-8160-0138-3.
Humour theory from Abulcasim's 11th century manuscript. This edition was illuminated in 14th century Italy, and is also useful for looking at clothing from that period. The healthful uses and dangers of ingredients are given, as well as those of fabric types, rooms, and activities such as vomiting and sporting contests. Personality traits (shyness, anger) are also listed. Good large, color pictures.
|Tannahill, Reay. Food in History.|
New York: Stein and Day, 1973. Print. ISBN 0-8128-1437-1.
As the title suggests, the book covers a broad range of times and topics. It suffers from the usual defects of its type -- a lack of detail, which is unavoidable if the author truly wants to cover everything; and a weakness for neat-sounding, but poorly-documented anecdotes. Worth skimming through as an overview, but don't use for any serious research.
|Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne. Andrea Bell, trans. History of Food.|
New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998. Print. ISBN 0-76070-969-6.
This is such a broad topic that it is easy to forgive the author for not researching as thoroughly as it should have been (some stories cited are documentably apocryphal). What I cannot forgive, however, is her bias that everything good was invented by the French. Yes, many things were -- but many more weren't; a more objective researcher would admit that, and it calls all her research into question.
|Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham. Savoring the Past: The French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789.|
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. ISBN 0-684-81857-4.
This work mentions that some past food historians have translated grains of paradise as cardamom... but says that it is wrong! Pretty good information on cooking methods and types of foods. Few pictures. Only the first hundred pages deals with pre-1600, so I would have liked more detail.
|Wilhelm, Stephen, and James E. Sagen. A History of the Strawberry: from Ancient Gardens to Modern Markets.|
Berkeley: University of California, 1972.
Most people probably don't know that the modern strawberry is a hybrid of the European woods strawberry, the California beach strawberry, and the Chilean strawberry. Even fewer probably care. I found it interesting, though, in an overly-technical kind of way.
|Wilson, C. Anne, ed. . 'Banquetting Stuffe': The fare and social background of the Tudor and Stuart banquet.|
Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1991. Print. ISBN 0-7486-0103-1.
Papers from a Leeds Symposium. Good background information, especially on sugar. Much of it is mid- to late-17th century.
|Wilson, C. Anne. Food and Drink in Britain: From the Stone Age to the 19th Century.|
Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-89733-364-0.
A reprint of the 1973 British edition. Scholarship has advanced since this was first published, but it is still a good overview for basic documentary information -- although footnotes are somewhat scanty. The book is organized by broad food groups (wild game, dairy, cereals) and moves forward from Neolithic to the 1800s or so within each chapter. Original recipes are scattered throughout, but this is not a cookbook.
|Wilson, C. Anne, ed. Waste Not, Want Not: Food Preservation.|
Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1991. Print. ISBN 0-74860-119-8.
Six brief articles from a Leeds Symposium on Food History, dealing with smoking, potting, and other ways of preserving food. Only about 25% of the book is concerned with pre-18th century times, so it is of limited use for my interests. Well-researched though.
|Woolgar, C.M. ed. Food in Medieval England: Diet And Nutrition.|
Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print. ISBN 0199-27349-9.
A series of papers that look at various aspects of medieval English diet primarily through archeology. The authors do not limit themselves to describing bones found in rubbish pits (although that's there, too) but also address changes in nutrition, the typical urban diet vs. what was eaten in monasteries, and regional differences both within England and between the island and Europe. It seems to be well documented and while it's a bit dry, there's lots of good information there.
I'm particularly amused to know that "at Glastonbury Abbey, we know how much came from the monastic garden, and the calculation can be made that garlic supplies were sufficient for a monk to have three cloves of garlic per day." Compared to monks, I don't consume that much.
|Wright, Clifford A. A Mediterranean Feast.|
New York: Morrow, 1999. Print. ISBN 0-688-15305-4.
This book is a massive tease: it has a promising title, enormous heft and on the cover is a late 15th century Botticelli painting of, yes, a Mediterranean feast. The history, ecology, and geographical information appears reasonably well documented, but the recipes are all modern! I felt cheated -- so it gets a zero book rating.
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