You cited Charles Perry and the translation of the “An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook from the 13th Century.” That work was a joint effort led by Mr. Perry and the work of a number of talented people. The original was published in 1992 and has for decades appeared at
Unfortunately, for your article you linked to the bowdlerized reorganized web edition produced by Candida Martinelli. Ms Martinelli originally took the Perry edition without permission and put it up on her website and for sale as a print on demand book. It was only after numerous complaints that she begrudgingly admitted there was an original free edition. These days she finally says “My thanks to all who worked on translating this book, and for putting it free on the Internet. That was very generous of you.”
Given that the original Perry edition is available, why didn’t you use the original work and reward that effort?
Thank you for explaining this situation, of which I was unaware. I have changed the link.
“Baghdad was sacked by the Moghuls”
The Mongols. The Moghuls were quite a bit farther east.
Note that while European cookbooks almost never give quantities, al Warraq, writing in the 10th century, frequently does. If one believes that European cuisine is in part derived from Islamic cuisine, you can use his book to get at least a guess at proportions.
Also, there are a few European sources that give you some useful information to check your intuitions. Le Menagier’s recipe for Hippocras has quantities for all ingredients. Du Fait de Cuisine doesn’t give quantities for the recipes but it does give a shopping list at the beginning, with quantities, for the entire feast, which gives you information on things such as the ratio of spices to meat.
Thank you for your corrections and useful resources. The problem with the medieval recipes for hippocras is not a lack of quantities but the fact that the spices are ground. Renaissance hippocras, because steeped with crushed spices, is much quicker and easier to filter–and it is every bit as pungent.
You have provided a link to a *pirated* version of the 13th century anonymous Andalusian cookbook. The owner of that site has altered the text a great deal. The original source – from which she took it – is http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Andalusian/andalusian_contents.htm
It is less convenient than the pirated PDF, but it is true to the original. I think you do the public a disservice by linking to the pirated version.
Thank you. I have changed the link based on what you’ve told me.
Greetings! A great read. I am an amateur history re-creational hobbyist, and interested very much in recipe reconstruction. Recently, I fell into the process of getting a translation of a cooking manuscript, _The Science of Cooking_ completed. This manuscript most likely dates from somewhere between the late 1500’s and about 1620. All this is in preface to note this is the time period that the Ottoman Empire rolled into the Hungarian area. Since the translation is freely available (see the blog below), you may want to take a look in your spare time—I’d love to hear what influences you spot. I’ve found a bit…the use of gum tragacanth, but would love to hear what you spot!
Thank you for writing. I’m delighted that you enjoyed the post. Your manuscript is quite early, and I will definitely take a look at it. The incursion of the Ottomans into Europe does complicate the question of eastern influence. I know very little about Eastern European and Balkan cooking, but I am aware that these cuisines include many obviously eastern-derived dishes. I have seen gum Arabic in medieval English recipes but not gum tragacanth, but then I haven’t been looking for it. It is common in Renaissance English recipes.
You speak about the English, but what of the Scots? Young Scottish gentlemen in the late seventeenth century often studied at Dutch universities as Scots law had more similarities to Dutch law than English law.
On April 8th 1705 Lady Grisell Baillie paid two pounds eight shillings (Scots money, = four shillings sterling) in Edinburgh for a ‘waffill yron’. She may have developed a taste for waffles when her family, and also her future husband, were in exile for several years in the 1680s in Holland, though the fact that a waffle iron was available to buy in 1705 in Edinburgh is surely significant.
Thank you for this comment! I did not know about the similarities between Dutch and Scots law, and I did not know that Lady Grisell Baillie spent several years in exile in Holland. This is an important thing to know, as her menus are a critical resource.
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