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The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy Paperback – April 15, 2000
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is organized by chapters which are very similar to a contemporary cookbook, covering Soups and Pastas; Porees and Vegetables; Meats cooked in Sauces; Roasted Meats; Fish; Pies and Tarts; Sauces; Eggs; Fritters and Breads; and Sweetmeats. The selection of recipes is much more interesting than in `The Medieval Cookbook' and the `arrangement' is as good or better than `Pleyn Delit', with much more background given for each individual recipe than either of the other two books. See my review of `Pleyn Delit' for a complete list of interesting things to do with these books.
The most impressive contribution of `The Medieval Kitchen' is its generalizations about medieval cooking in 50 pages of introductory essays on aspects of these 600-year old French and Italian cuisines. The highlight of this overview is the observation that 14th and 15th century European cooking was in love with spices in general and the `cookie spices', cinnamon and cloves, in particular. One may think that this is due to the influence of contact with the Moslem world, especially as the use of these spices is still strong in Sicily and Spain, but the authors state that this influence is overstated. Interest in spices was home bred.Read more ›
Like other works, such as Pleyn Delit, the original recipes in their original language are given. Like other cookbooks, this one groups recipes by type (fish, meats, sauces, etc.). Unlike other works, however, this one has an appendix that gives complete lists of each source's recipes, allowing you to see, at a glance, all the recipes taken from a given work. This is, to me, the book's biggest strength. I can access all the recipes taken from the "Libro de arte coquinaria" and "Le Menagier de Paris", for example. There are even some unpublished sources, such a manuscript stored at New York's Pierpont Morgan Library with a couple of recipes of note listed.
The few recipes from this book that I've tried have been stellar--tasty and easy to make, such as the herb soup and the fruit-based meat sauces. Most of it's accessible to regular diners. Some of the recipes sound absolutely mouthwatering--"Summertime Cerulean Blue Sauce", for example, which is colored by blueberries and flavored by ground almonds and ginger, and officially used on meat, but would probably be absolutely delicious on desserts.
Among its other resources, the book also lists mail-order sources for some of the more exotic spices and ingredients, such as the verjuice called for in many recipes. It also has good information about the history of the region, with its foreward and the historical notes on most of the recipes--what dish to serve it with, other recipes it's similar to, and more. Its index is quite complete, also a boon to a history wonk.Read more ›
This book was developed by two French historians, Odile Redon and Fancoise Sabban, and Silvano Serventi, an Italian historian. Gorges Duby, a well known French historian who specializes in the study of the Middle Ages wrote the forward, and the book was translated by Edward Schneider.
The historical sources for the book are listed in a separate 'Bibliography' and the recipes are matched with their original documents in 'Recipes by Manuscript Source' -- just in case you feel the authors omitted something and you want to check it out.
The authors make suggestions for substitutions for ingredients that may be hard to find. Since I live in the U.S. I could have a problem finding 'Bitter Orange Juice' for my 'Dover Sole' -- or the Dover Sole for that matter. No problem, I can substitute an American fish of similar texture and lemon juice.
If you enjoy cooking and want to experiment, or collect cookbooks and enjoy reading them, or are interested in the history of the Middle Ages, you will want this little book. And, the next time you read one of Sharon Penman's novels, you'll have a better grasp of the dinner menu.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent resource for someone that is looking to cook for historical groups, such as the SCA. I've used this book in the preperation of 2 feasts, and we have gotten great... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Shannon Keys
Lot's of data, but it's not a go-to as a recipe book. I've had better luck with... Read morePublished 5 months ago by T. Carling
I am an author of historical fiction set in Renassaince Italy and France and this book provides valuable information about what my characters might expect to eat. Read morePublished on March 2, 2014 by Amelia Pasch
I bought this for a friend, but I have had my own copy for many years. This is my most well used and well loved medieval cookbook. Read morePublished on December 26, 2013 by Cheryl Hall
This is a delightful book of recipes from the time after the fall of the Roman Empire and before the sailing of Columbus. Read morePublished on November 16, 2013 by S. Linkletter
This well book gives a detailed account of Medieval recipes and an insight into the food and cookery of the time. Read morePublished on May 21, 2013 by Frances S. Heales
More complicated recipes than in "To The King's Taste" but a window into the medieval world. Read morePublished on May 5, 2013 by Julia Jonathan