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Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony Paperback – January 1, 1999


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Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony + Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks + The Medieval Cookbook: Revised Edition
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Product Details

  • Series: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: George Braziller; 1St Edition edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080760898X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807608982
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Any even faintly literary types, be they cook or history buff, should be absolutely delighted with this book. -- Julia Child, Boston Globe

About the Author

Madeleine Pelner Cosman is Director of the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the City College of City Universoty in New York

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Customer Reviews

I made about ten recipes from the book, and they all turned out well.
Dawn
We prepared these for an event and they were served flambe at the conclusion of a game feast.
Barbara Nostrand
Thankfully, my teacher told me the title and I immediately purchase this book.
A_TiffyFit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By MemElaina on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Buy this book for the illustrations if you want, but don't be lured into believing that the scholarship is accurate! Cosman does NOT document her recipes (as a matter of fact, she has admitted in lectures to making some of them up), she does not give original recipes and sources, and she continually substitutes ingredients and methods unknown in Europe in the Renaissance. This book is old and the "fantasy" research is long outdated by the excellent work of Hieatt, Santich, Redon, Scully, and the like.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By robertwestfall on March 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Although this book claims to be a historical reference about 1500c cookery it is not an accurate reference. The recipies are not historically accurate, and the book does not provide the original recipes. [bad], "exploitive", "fantasy" are words that my wife (a food historian) uses to describe this book.
Recommend anything by terrance scully.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
Lots of information about food preparation and laws in medieval Europe, including modern "adaptations" of medieval recipes. Unfortunately, many of these adaptations are extremely loose, e.g. not showing the original recipe being "adapted", and using ingredients that don't remotely resemble anything available in medieval Europe. Enormous bibliography, but no indication of which source any given recipe or statement came from, so there's no way to check their accuracy.
On the positive side, the book includes many quotations from sumptuary and sanitation laws, which give insight into medieval food practices.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Francis Poong on December 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Most of the book is a disucssion of various aspects of food in medieval society. The writing style is light and quick to read while giving a lot of information. Her foot notes and bibliography are EXTENSIVE. The recipes at the end are not the main point ofthe book. Many of them are delicious but they are not what you want if complete authenticity is what you are looking for. If you want a "flavor" of the middle ages, they are fine. Again, the best thing about the book are the references.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. L. R. Reed on July 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
I cook, a lot. I am a historical interpreter and a 15th century re-enactor, and I love the taste of really good food. For those who don't care if this is historically accurate or not, then I think you've missed the point of owning a "medieval cookbook". If you like odd mixes of spices and experimentation, then have at it. For me, I'll pass having sampled several of these recipes that I found totally unpalatable.

So that you don't think it's all wine vinegar, I will offer up a few excellent titles for your approval. If you're interested in ceremony and how things are done at the table regarding manners and how to serve the high table, read the following:

The Babees Boke of Manners
The Boke of Keruynge (Book of Carving) 1508 (Southover Press Historic Cookery & Housekeeping): The Book of Carving (Wynkyn de Worde)

If you want real medieval cookbooks with the documentation to back up the recipes contained between the covers, then I'd like to suggest the following cook books:

Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks, an excellent beginners book (1996)
The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy (2000)
Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations(2002)

There are others, but these are the three that I use often, and most new comers to the world of medieval cookery will discover that many of the recipes are very pleasing to the modern palate.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Hagen on October 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Another reviewer has taken the author to task for not being absolutely authentic in every detail. I have been cooking from this book for 20 years and with very few exceptions each recipe has been very well received by the literally hundreds of people I have served. Some of my favorites - the Roste (a beef roast cooked in a lovely goo of fruits, honey and beef juices) the Fruytes Ryal Rice (sounds ghastly but beautiful and tasty), and the Blak Perys (my favorite dessert of any time or place).
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. Angus Macdonald on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
My background is in Medieval History. I have always been fascinated with flavours and sounds in addition to kings and social movements. This, of course, led to the discovery of Fabulous Feasts.
Now as to the 100% accuracy of the recipes, I am unable to vouch. I can say, however, that they are all clearly discribed and easy to follow. I have a particular fondness for the arbolyetts and the parsley bread. I have cooked, at one time or another over the past 15 years, about 2/3 of the recipes -- some are definitely acquired tastes and some are pure show-stoppers.
Cosman also does a marvelous job of giving you food lore and manners of the latter half of the Middle Ages. From the salacious to the practical, all sorts of information is here. Her bibliography is helpful for those who want to follow further in her footsteps and her list of where to get the ingredients is good, but a bit dated. WARNING: at least one of the spice stores listed has shut since this book was first released.
This is a book for cooks and amateur historians. It is not a HISTORY book, but rather a cookbook that gets into a bit of history and allows you to sample the tastes of another time and place.
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