A French Meal for The Coronation of
TRM Morguhn & Meirwen
"A Spring Supper by the Seine"
March 31, 2001
The Cauldron Bleu Cooks Guild
Barony of Thescorre
Head Cook and Feast Researcher
Her Ladyship Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina
Lord Cadifor Cynan and Lord Ruairidh
Lady Morgaine of Donegal, lunch crew
Lady Bryn ni MacRose, bread baker & lunch crew
Lady Olivia d’Anjou
Baron Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn, butlering mentor
Benefactor of the Barony Energizer Jean, head baker
Lady Birgitta Fridriksdottir
Lady Otelia d’Alsace
Baroness Mistress Michaele del Vaga
Lady Katrina of York
Benefactor of the Barony Holly of Blackrock Castle
Lord Ulric, the Evil Overlord
Lord Eric Grenier de Labarre, known as Grendel
Lady Peregrine of Thescorre
Lady Pleasance de Coignieres
Lord Mateo il Polizi Chiaza
Lady Astrid Brandsdottir
Lady Mea Culpa
Baroness Mistress Sadira bint Wassouf
Lord Stefan Wolfgang von Ravensburg
Clean Up Coordinator
Lord Caradawc Cuin Treine
Recipe Book Publishing
Lord Stefan Wolfgang von Ravensburg
Lord Eric Grenier de Labarre, known as Grendel
(Stonehenge, Medieval, and Times New Roman fonts)
All redactions of period recipes Chris Adler©2001, except where noted.
Scented Handwashing Water
Hippocras (spiced grape juice)
Freshly Baked Bread Trenchers
Freshly Beaten Butter and Honey Butter
Civé de Veel (wine-braised beef)
New Peas (peas simmered in broth)
Brodo of Red Chickpeas (herbed chickpeas)
Saulse Cameline (cinnamon sauce)
Aulx Vers (green garlic sauce)
Jance de Gingembre (ginger almond sauce)
Entremets: Presentation of Subtleties
Chappons aux Herbes (chicken sautéed with herbs and cumin)
Roman Cabbages (salad)
Ris Engoulé (fancy rice for meat-days)
Entremets: Presentation of Subtleties
Coney (rabbit stew)
Funges in Pastry (mushroom tarts)
Leek Pourrey (simmered leeks)
Issue de Table
Candied Orange Peels
Gauffres (wafers flavored with ginger, lemon, or anise)
Dragees (candied anise, coriander, fennel, and caraway seeds)
Well met, good gentles, and welcome to your meal! What we have prepared for you tonight is an abbreviated version of a period feast. A complete late-14th Century French meal would have included several kinds of fish and many more kinds of fowl and meats, some fruit, and sausages in addition to the roasted meat, vegetables, rice, and sweets I have chosen for this feast. The following is an example of such a dinner from Le Ménagier de Paris, dated 1393. – Katja
Dinner for a Meat Day served in Thirty-one Dishes & Six Courses:
First course. Grenache & roasts, veal pasties, pimpernel, pasties, black-puddings and sausages.
Second course. Hares in civey & cutlets, pea soup, salt meat & great joints, a soringue of eels & other fish.
Third course. Roast: coneys, partidges, capons etc., luce, bar, carp & a quartered pottage.
Fourth course. River fish `a la dodine, savoury rice a bourrey with hot sauce & eels reversed.
Fifth course. Lark pasties, rissoles, larded milk, sugared flawns.
Sixth course. Pears & comfits, medlars & peeled nuts. Hippocras & wafers.
To Prepare Water for Washing the Hands at Table, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Set sage to boil, then pour out the water & let it cool until it is just warm. Or you may instead use camomile or marjoram, or you may put in rosemary; & boil them with orange peel. And bay leaves are good too.
"The feast opened with a trumpet fanfare. The guests entered and took part in a handwashing ceremony. As they held their hands over a basin, herb-scented water was poured over them by a page who then proferred a linen napkin." - Wheaton, Savoring the Past
Scented Handwashing Water: Chamomile, Orangeflower Water, water
Trenchers, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
"Now we shall talk about the quantities of the things spoken of above & what goes with them & the prices, & who provides them & sells them. At the baker's, ten dozen flat white bread baked one day ahead & costing one denier each. Trencher bread, three dozen of half a foot in width & four fingers tall, baked four days before & browned, or what is called in the market Corbeil bread."
"Item, two bread-slicers, of whom one will crumb the bread & make trenchers & salt-cellars out of bread, & will carry the salt & the bread & the trenchers to the tables, & will provide for the dining-room two or three strainers for the solid leftovers such as sops, broken breads, trenchers, meats & such things."
"There are no recipes for the making of bread in these early French manuscripts. Baking was a separate and distinct craft in the Middle Ages. However, here and there in these and other documents we may come across a good many references to various types of bread and their uses… The Ménagier’s trencher bread was made in relatively small flat loaves, turned over in the oven in order to smooth both sides, dense and coarse in substance, and with hard crusts; it was the thickness that could be sliced horizontally in two so that with one of its tough crusts upwards it could become two trenchers." - Scully, Early French Cookery
Bastons, Beinecke Manuscript, 15th Century
Make a stif bature of yolkes of eyron, & paryed flour, & sigure, a grete dele, & a lytle yest of new ale. set hit by the fyre, or els in a pot boylyng, that hit may take a lytyl hete. When hit is rysyd, sweyng hit well togedyr that hit fall doun ayene. Loke thy oven be hote, & clene swepyd; poure hit on the floure of the oven & bake hit as french bred.
Trenchers, Salt Cellars, and Breadcrumbs
26 C water (6 qt + 2C)
3-4 T yeast
1 C + 2 T honey
1 C + 2 T salt
9 lb. King Arthur white whole-wheat flour
16.25 lb. King Arthur all-purpose flour
Proof yeast in water with sugar. Add half the flours and let the sponge/biga rise. Add the rest of the flours and knead until elastic. Let rise until doubled. Shape into flat round loaves and let rise at room temperature until doubled again. Bake at 375 for 35-40 mins. X30
As you can see and as Terence Scully explains, Le Ménagier mentions bread several times but offers no recipe. I selected an English bread recipe from approximately the same time as the French dishes selected for this meal. Note that it contains eggs and a lot of sugar, so it was intended more as a biscuit recipe than a bread recipe. However, medieval bread recipes are very scarce, so this is the best I could come up with from the time period! — Katja
Ris engoule’é(Fancy Rice for Meat-Days), Viandier of Taillevent, 1370
Cull the rice & wash it thoroughly in hot water & set it to dry by the fire, then cook it simmering cow’s milk; then add ground saffron infused in your milk, to lend it a russet colour, & greasy beef broth from the pot.
20-25 lbs. rice, water, saffron, salt.
Garnish with saffron threads.
I opted to do a fast-day version of this rice, without the meat broth or milk, in deference to the vegetarian and lactose-intolerant gentles at feast today. Rice boiled simply with water is quite period; see the late-period English source, The Closet of The Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie, Opened, for such a recipe. — Katja
As to new peas, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Sometimes they be cooked with sewe of meat & brayed parsley to make a green pottage & that is for a meat day; & on a fish day, they be cooked in milk with ginger & saffron therein. In new peas cooked to be eaten in the pod, you must add bacon on a meat day: & on a fish day, when they are cooked, you separate the liquid & add underneath melted salt butter, & then shake it.
Garden Peas in Broth
20 lb. fresh peas
2 qt. chicken stock
2 bunches fresh parsley
Gently heat new peas in chicken stock for 10 minutes. Season with freshly minced parsley and salt to taste. Garnish with parsley sprigs.
To Take The Salt Out Of Butter, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Put it in a bowl on the fire to melt, & the salt will sink to the bottom of the bowl, & the salt thus obtained is good for stew, & the rest of the butter is sweet. Another way, put your salt butter in sweet fresh water, & beat it & knead it, & the salt will stay in the water.
Freshly Beaten Butter
2 qts fresh heavy cream, pinch salt
Since this kitchen is blessed with a large industrial mixer, I finally get my wish to churn fresh butter at an event! Although the French source used to document this meal only stresses the important of unsalted butter, later period sources, such as Gervase Markham’s The English Hous-Wife, describe the actual beating of fresh cream into butter. — Katja
How to make sundry sorts of most dainty butter with the saide oils, Jewel-house of Arte & Nature, 1594
In the month of May, it is very usuall with us to eat some of the smallest, & youngest sage leaves with butter in a morning, & I think the common use thereof doth sufficiently commende the same to be wholsome, in stead whereof all those which delighte in this heabe may cause a few droppes of the oile of sage to be well wrought, or tempered with the butter when it is new taken out of the cherne, until they find the same strong enough in taste to their owne liking; & this way I accoumpt much more wholsomer then the first, wherin you will finde a far more lively & penetrative tast then can be presently had out of the greene herbe. This laste Sommer I did entertaine divers of my friends with this kinde of butter amongst other country dishes, as also with cinnamon, mace, & clove butter (which are all made in one selfe same manner) & I knew not whether I did please them more with this new found dish, or offend them by denying the secret unto them, who thought it very strange to find the naturall taste of herbs, & spices coueied into butter without any apparent touch of color. Ore, if by som means or other you may not give a tincture to your creme before you chearne it, either with roseleaves, cowslep leaves, violet or marigold leaves, &c. And thereby chaunge the color of your butter. And it may be that if you wash your butter throughly wel with rose water before you dish it, & work up some fine sugar in it, that the Country people will go neere to robbe all Cocknies of their breakfasts, unlesse the dairie be well looked unto.
De Obseruatione Ciborium (On the Observance of Food), 6th Century
"The same is true if anyone suffering from consumption eats fresh butter. However, the butter should be unsalted, because it does a great deal of harm if salted. The butter should be blended with a little honey, & the patient should lie on his back & slowly lick this mixture. For those afflicted with consumption I stress that this mixture is fine for those are not seized by the condition for any length of time"
Freshly Beaten Honey Butter
2 qts fresh cream
1 C honey, warmed
The ubiquitous SCA condiment, honey butter, does not appear to have been served in period as a bread spread; rather, it is documentable as medicine in the 6th Century. In a late 1500s English source, I found the above documentation for a butter spread sweetened with sugar and spices, but not honey. Therefore, honey butter is not accurately period. – Katja
Moustarde (Mustard), Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Item, if you would make mustard in the country in haste, bray mustardseed in a mortar & moisten it with vinegar & run it through the strainer & if you would pepare it at once, set it in a pot before the fire. Item, if you would make good mustard & at leisure, set the mustardseed to soak for a night in good vinegar, then grind it in a mill & then moisten it little by little with vinegar; & if you have any spices left over from jelly, clarry, hippocras or sauce, let them be ground with it & afterwards pepare it.
½ lb. mustardseed
½ lb. vinegar/water
1 T. salt, pinch sugar
Grind the mustardseed and mix with salt and watered vinegar to make a thick slurry. Let mellow, unrefrigerated, for a month.
Cive’ de veel (Veal Stew), Viandier of Taillevent, 1370
Roasted on a spit or on the grill, without overcooking, cut up into pieces & fried in grease with chopped onions; steep burnt toast in wine & beef broth or in pea puree, & boil your meat with this; then add ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, grains of paradise, & saffon for colour, infused in verjuice & vinegar. It should be thick, there should be enough onions, the bread should be dark & sharp with vinegar, & it should be yellowish.
Bruet of Savoy, Du Fait de Cuisine, 1420
To give understanding to him who will be charged with making this bruet, to take his poultry & the meat according to the quantity which he is told that he should make, & make ready his poultry & set to cook cleanly; & meat according to the quantity of potage which he is told to make, & put to boil with the poultry; & then take a good piece of lean bacon in a good place & clean it well & properly, & then put it to cook with the aforesaid poultry & meat; and then take sage, parsley, hyssop, & marjoram, & let them be very well washed & cleaned, & make them into a bunch without chopping & all together, & then put them to boil with the said potage & with the meat; & according to the quantity of the said broth take a large quantity of parsley well cleaned & washed, & brayed well & thoroughly in a mortar; and, being well brayed, check that your meat is neither too much or too little cooked & salted; and then according to the quantity of broth have white ginger, grains of paradise, and a little pepper; and put bread without the crust to soak with the said broth so that there is enough to thicken it; and being properly soaked, let it be pounded & brayed with the said parsley & spices, & let it be drawn & strained with the said broth; and put in wine & verjuice according as it is necessary. And all of the things aforesaid should be put in to the point where there is neither too little nor too much. And then, this done, put it to boil in a large, fair, & clean pot. And if it happens that the potage is too green, put in a little saffron, & this will make the green bright. And when it is to be arranged for serving, put your meat on the serving dishes & the broth on top.
Haricot, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Cut it into small pieces, then bring it just to the boil, then fry in bacon grease, & fry with onions chopped small & cooked, & mix in beef stock, & add mace, parsley, hyssop & sage, & put it on to boil together.
75 lb. beef
5 lb. onions
4 bunches parsley
1 qt. wine
3 qt. beef stock
Marinate, brown, roast 350 degrees for 2 hours or until 155 degrees. Garnish with marjoram.
Obviously, my recipe is a combination of the period beef dishes cited above and not a strict redaction of a single dish. Since so many of the meat and fowl dishes in the period French resources ALL contain cinnamon, ginger, sugar, saffron, and vinegar, I tried to vary the tastes in this feast by restricting each ingredient to only certain recipes (within the parameters of the existing period recipes). I also combined the cooking techniques – browning the meat, but using whole roasts and cooking them in wine and stock. This, and the other two meat dishes, are purposely a little less seasoned than the original period recipes suggest so that diners may better enjoy the selection of sauces served tonight on these dishes. – Katja
Chappons aux herbes (Capons with herbs), Viandier of Taillevent, 1370
Set them to cook in water, bacon fat, parsley, sage, hyssop, dittany, wine & verjuice; saffron & ginger are optional.
Comminee d’almandes (Cuminade of Almonds), Viandier of Taillevent, 1370
Thoroughly cook your poultry in water, quarter it & sautee it in bacon grease; then grind almonds, moisten them in your broth & set them to boil with your meat; add ginger & cumin infused in wine & verjuice.
35 lbs. chicken parts
1 qt. olive oil, 1 qt verjuice
freshly ground cumin, dittany of crete, salt
Pat dry, flour, saute in oil and season with herbs. Deglaze pan with verjuice. Garnish with almonds.
Again, this redaction is a combination of the ingredients and techniques in two different fowl recipes, and the chicken may be dressed with the sauces. – Katja
Coney Soup, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
First, Garenne coneys are known by the fact that the nape, that is to say from the ears to between the shoulders, is of a color between brown & yellow, & they are all white under the belly, & all four limbs on the inner side to the feet, & they must have no other white spot on their bodies, Item, you will know if they are in their first year, by a little bone on the joint of the fore-leg closest to the foot, & it is sharp. And when they are too old, the bones in the joint are united; & it is the same for hares & dogs. Item, you will know if they are freshly taken by the eyes not being sunken: you cannot open their teeth: they hold themselves straight on their feet; & when cooked, the belly remains whole. And if they have been long taken, they have sunken eyes: the mouth can easily be opened: you cannot hold them up straight; & when cooked, the belly falls to pieces: in winter, coneys taken eight days previously are good, & in summer, four days, as long as they have not been in the sun. And when they have been well chosen & skinned, then cut them into square pieces, & put them on to parboil, then put into cold water: then on each piece, on each side, three bacon strips; then put on to boil in water & in wine afterwards. Then grind ginger, grain, a clove, & moisten in beef stock or in the rabbit stock, & with a little verjuice, & put in a pot & boil till done.
Sops of Hares, Du Fait de Cuisine, 1420
At the beginning of the sops of hares it is necessary that the hares be skinned well & cleanly, & scorch them over a fair clear fire, & then split them well & carefully, & take out the refuse; & be advised that for those which are whole one splits the gut & takes away the liver within, & removes from it the gall, & washes them well in very good claret wine; & those which are torn by dogs should be scorched & cleaned & washed in fair small casks in fair fresh water, & those which are not torn should be cut up in fair pieces & put in a fair & clean pot. And then take fair beef broth & also take some of the wine in which one has washed the said hares, & strain it through a fair strainer, & then pour it in with the said meat of hares, & fill your pot as much with broth as with good claret wine. And take a good piece of bacon from a good place & clean it & wash it very well & parboil it a little, & then throw it in; & according to the broth which there is put in whole sage well washed & verjuice, & salt in reason, the spices cinnamon, ginger, grains of paradise, pepper, cloves. And let it boil until it is time to dress it; and, if it would cook too much, let it be drawn back while putting your meat out into fair & clean cornues. And you should have a great deal of fine white bread, & slice a full bowl of it to make sops of hares.
½ lb. bacon
1 lb. onions, chopped
½ qt. red wine
½ qt. beef stock
fresh sage, grains of paradise
Cut rabbit into pieces, rinse, and dry. Saute onions in bacon, then add meat. Deglaze with red wine, add stock to cover and seasonings, and simmer. Garnish with sage leaves.
I’ve always wanted to serve rabbit or venison at a feast since they’re such period dishes, and I finally get my wish! As with the beef and chicken dishes, this redaction is a combination of the ingredients in two rabbit recipes and may be dressed with the sauces. Coney was very common in Medieval cuisine, but we rarely eat it today in America, so please do try this unusual dish. – Katja
Brodo of red chickpeas, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
To make eight platefuls, take a libra & a half of chickpeas & wash them in hot water, drain them, then put them in the pot in which they will be cooked. Add half an oncia of flour, a little good oil, a little salt, & about twenty crushed peppercorns & a little ground cinnamon, then thoroughly mix all these things together with your hands. Then add three measures of water, a little sage, rosemary, & parlsey roots. Boil until it is reduced to the quantity of eight platefuls. And when they are nearly cooked, pour in a little oil.
15 lb. chickpeas (I used Indian blackish-red and beige ones)
water to cover
olive oil to taste
salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and sage
Simmer until cooked through, season with oil and seasonings. Garnish with rosemary leaves.
This dish provides some non-lactose protein for vegetarians. – Katja
To Make Cameline Sauce, Viandier of Taillevent, 1370
Grind ginger, a great deal of cinnamon, cloves, grains of paradise, mace and, if you wish, long pepper; strain bread that has been moistened in vinegar, strain everything together & salt as necessary.
Saulse cameline (To make a Camelin Sauce), Viviendier of Taillevent, 1370
Get white bread toasted on the grill, set it to temper in red wine & vinegar, & strain it, along with a good deal of cinnamon, & ginger, cloves, grains of paradise, mace, long pepper & a little saffron. Finish it off either boiled or not as you like. Some people put sugar in it.
5 C breadcrumbs
4 C red wine vinegar/water
¼ C spices (cinnamon, cloves, grains of paradise, long pepper, sugar)
I find it interesting that Cameline was very popular in both France and England at the same time, but the English recipes include raisins or currants and ground nuts. I prefer the English version, but made the French version tonight in keeping with the rest of the menu. – Katja
Aulx vers, Viandier of Taillevent, 1370
Grind garlic, bread & greenery, & steep this together in verjuice.
Green Garlic Sauce
3 heads garlic
3 C breadcrumbs
1 C fresh minced parsley
4 C verjuice
Funges in Pastry, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Mushrooms of one night be the best & they be little & red within & closed at the top; & they must be peeled & then washed in hot water & parboiled & if you wishto put them in a pasty add oil, cheese, & spice powder.
10 lb. fresh mushrooms
1 qt. olive oil
4 C whole milk ricotta
½ lb. Reggiano parmesan
Clean the mushrooms, either rinsing or peeling the skins. Dry thoroughly. Slice or chop evenly. Heat a sauté pan and when hot add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mushrooms and spread out. Sprinkle seasoning over and let sit for a few minutes until the mushrooms are starting to brown. Stir mushrooms around to thoroughly coat them, then let them sit again and cook off the moisture. Pour into a dish and let cool. Drain the ricotta if necessary, and mix with the parmesan. Add the mushrooms, stir thoroughly, taste for seasoning, and refrigerate. Make pie dough and fill pasties as turnovers, pillows, cut-out rounds, or however you choose - just keep them roughly 2" in diameter. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 40-45 minutes. Serves 8-12. Paint with fleur de lys.
To make the White Leek Sauce, Du Fait de Cuisine, 1420
Have him who is charged with them get his leeks & chop them up small, wash them well & put them to boil. Then have him get a good chunk of salt pork back, clean it very well & put it with them to boil; & when they have boiled at length, take them out & put them on good clean wooden tables, & keep the bouillon in which they have boiled. There should be a good mortarful of white almonds; take the bouillon in which the leeks have boiled & draw out your almonds in it, & if there is not enough of that bouillon, get beef or mutton bouillon, & watch that it is not too salty. After that set your broth to boil in a good clean kettle. Then take two good clean knives & chop up your leeks, then take & grind them in a mortar; once they are ground, put them into your broth, made of equal quantities of almonds & water, half boiled. After they have boiled, when they get to the dressing table, place your meat in good dishes & then pour some of that leek broth over top.
6 lb leeks, white part only
5 cup vegetable broth
½ lb. bacon
1 cup ground almonds
½ C butter
½ C beef broth
Chop and clean the leeks well. 1/3 of them go into a saucepan with the ¾ cup broth and bacon. Boil until the leeks are very soft and the liquid is almost gone. Heat 1 cup of water to boiling, add the ground almonds, stir and let sit. Strain. Combine in a Cuisinart the cooked leeks, bacon and strained almond milk. Whiz until smooth,. Add spices to taste. Meanwhile put the rest of the leeks into a large sauté pan with butter. Sauté until just soft. Add ¼ more liquid and cover. Simmer until soft. Stir in the leek puree and warm through. Serves 6. ©1999 A. Rousseau
I was blessed last year to attend an amazing SCA banquet in Colorado and to taste this dish there. I asked the laurel who cooked it for her redaction, and promised myself that if I ever did an early French feast that I’d serve this. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. – Katja
To make powdered hippocras, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Take a quarter of very fine cinnamon selected by tasting it, & half a quarter of fine flour of cinnamon, an ounce of selected string ginger, fine & white, & an ounce of grain of Paradise, a sixth of nutmegs & galingale together, & bray them all together. And when you would make your hippocras, take a good half ounce of this powder & two quarters of sugar & mix them with a quart of wine, by Paris measure. And note that the powder & the sugar mixed together is the Duke's powder.
Take four ounces of very fine cinnamon, 2 ounces of fine cassia flowers, an ounce of selected Mecca ginger, an ounce of grains of paradise, & a sixth of an ounce of nutmeg & galingale combined. Crush them all together. Take a good half ounce of this powder & eight ounces of sugar, & mix it with a quart of wine.
8 gals. grape juice
cassia chunks, freshly grated nutmeg
sliced fresh ginger root, galingale
whole grains of paradise
½ lb. sugar
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate, letting the mixture steep. Strain out the spices before serving.
I can’t serve alcoholic beverages at a feast, as per SCA Inc. policy. Instead, I have flavored grape juice with the spices that commonly flavored the wine hippocras. In this way, diners will have a similarly tasting drink, albeit non-alcoholic. – Katja
Jance de gingembre, Viandier of Taillevent, 1370
Grind fresh ginger & almonds, but no garlic, infuse this in verjuice, then boil it. Some people put white wine into it.
1 hand fresh gingerroot
1 lb. ground almonds
1 lb. bread crumbs
verjuice, bitter orange juice/water with a little sugar
Roman Cabbages, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
And when the heart of the cabbage, which is in the midst, is plucked off, you pull up the stump of the cabbage & replant it in fresh earth, & there will come forth from it big spreading leaves; & the cabbage takes a great deal of room & these cabbage hearts be called Roman cabbages & they be eaten in winter; & when the stumps be replanted, there grow out of them little cabbages which be called sprouts & which be eaten with raw herbs in vinegar; & if you have plenty, they are good with the outer leaves removed & then washed in warm water & cooked whole in a little water; & then when they are cooked add salt & oil & serve them very thick, without water, & put olive oil over them in Lent.
Red Cabbage Salad
red cabbage, herbs, lettuces, olive oil, salt
Gauffres (Wafers), Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Wafers (Gauffres) be made in five ways. By one method you beat up the eggs in a bowl, then add salt & wine & throw in flour, & mix them, & then put them on two irons, little by little, each time as much paste as the size of a leche or strip of cheese, & press them between the two irons & cook on both sides; & if the iron doth not separate easily from the paste, grease it beforehand with a little cloth moistened in oil or fat. The second method is like to the first, but you put in cheese, that is to wit you spread out the paste as though to make a tart or pasty, & then you add the cheese in leches in the middle & cover the two ends; this the cheese remaineth between the two pastes & is this set between two irons. The third method is that of Strained Waffles & they be called strained for this reason only, that the paste is clearer & it as it were boiled clear, after the aforesaid manner; & onto it one scatters grated cheese; & all is mixed together. – The fourth method is flour made into a paste with water, salt, wine without either eggs or cheese. Item, the wafer makers make another kind called big sticks, which be made of flour made into a paste with eggs & powdered ginger beaten together, & then made of like size & in like manner to chitterlings, between two irons.
4 C sugar
1.5 lb. butter
8 C flour
½ tsp salt
ginger extract, lemon extract, and anise extract. Shelley Stone©2000.
To Make Candied Orange Peel, Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
Divide the peel of one orange into five quarters & scrape with a knife to remove the white part inside, then put them to soak in good sweet water for nine days, & change the water every day, then cook them in good water just till boiling, & when this happens, spread them on a cloth & let them get thoroughly dry, then put them in a pot with enough honey to cover them, & boil on a low fire & skim, & when you believe the honey is cooked, (to test if it is cooked, have some water in a bowl, & let drip into this one drop of the honey, & if it spread, it is not cooked; & if the drop of honey holds together in the water without spreading out it is cooked;) & then you must remove your orange peel, & make one layer with it, & sprinkle with ginger powder, then another layer, & sprinkle etc., & so on, & leave it a month or more then eat.
Candied Orange Peel
2 C honey
Rinse and peel the fruit. Bring the peels to a boil in a saucepan with 1 pint of cold water. Boil for 10 minutes, drain off the water, add a pint of fresh water. Repeat this process twice. Drain, add another quart of water and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain, cook 2 Cups water and 2 C honey down to a syrup. Lower the heat and add the peel. Cook until soft ball stage, and cool in a bed of sugar or on a rack.
Notice that this candied orange peel recipe specifies honey, while ones in later-period English and French resources specify sugar. It’s interesting just how much of an influence sea transportation during the Age of Exploration had on cuisine – sugar transported west via overland merchants in earlier centuries was far more expensive, and thus used in much smaller quantities in cooking. – Katja
The art of comfet-making, teaching how to cover all kinds of seeds, fruits or spices with sugar, Delights..……
First of all you must have a deepe bottomed bason of fine cleane brasse or latten, with two eares of Iron to hang it with two several cords over a bason or earthen pan with hot coales. You must also have a broad pan to put ashes in, & hot coales upon them. You must have a clean latten bason onto melt your sugar in, or a faire brasen skillet. You must also have a fine brasen ladle, to let run the sugar upon the seeds. You must aslo have a brasen slice, to scrape away the sugar from the hanging bason if neede require. Having all these necessarie vessells & instruments, worke as followeth. Choose the whitest, finest, & hardest sugar, a qarter of a pound of Anniseed; or Coriander seeds, & your comfits will be great enough; & if you will make them greater, take halfe a pound more of sugar, or one pound more, & then they will be faire & large. And halfe a pound of Annis-seeds with two pounds of sugar, will make fine small comfits. You may also take quarter & a halfe of Annis-seeds, & three pound of Sugar, or halfe a pound of Annis seeds, & foure pound of sugar Do the like in Coriander-seeds. Melt your Sugar in this manner:viz. Put three pounds of your powder-sugar into the bason, & one pint of cleane running water thereunto; stirre it well with a brazen slice, until all be moist & well wet: then set it over the fire, without smoke or flame, & melt it well, that there bee no whole gristie sugar in the bottome, & let it seethe mildely, untill it will streame from the Ladle like Turpentine, with a long streame, & not drop: when it is come to this decoction, let it seethe no more, but keep it upon hot embers, that it may run from the Ladle upon the seeds. To make them speedily, let your water be seething hot, or seething & put powder sugar to them: cast on your sugar boiling hote: have a good warme fire under the hanging Bason Take as much water to your Sugar, as will dissolve the same. Never skim you sugar, if it bee clean & fine. Put no kind of starch or Amylum to your sugar. Seeth not your Sugar too long: for, that will make it black, yellow or tawnie. Moove the seeds in the hanging bason as fast as you can or may, when the sugar is in casting. At first coate put on but one halfe spoonefull with the ladle, & all to move the bason, move, stirre & rubbe the seeds with thy left hand a pretty while, for they will take sugar the better, & drie them well after every coate. Doe this at every coat, not onely moving the bason, but also with the stirring of the comfits with the left hand, & drying the same, thus dooin you shall make good speed in the making:as, in everie three houres you may make three pound of comfits. And as the cofits doe increase in greatness, so you may take more Sugar in your ladle to cast on. But for plaine comfits, let your Sugar be of a light decoction last, & of a higher decoction first, & not too hote. For crips & ragged comfits, make your sugar of a high decoction, even as high as it may runne from the ladle, & let fall a foothigh or more from the ladle, & the hotter you cast in your sugar, the more ragged will your comfits bee. Also the comfits will not take so much of the sugar as they will upon a light decoction, & they will keepe their raggednesse long. This high decociton must serve for eight or ten coates in the end of the worke, put on at every time but one spoonefull,and have a light hand with your bason, casting on but little sugar. A quarter of a pound of Coriander seeds & three pound of sugar will make great huge, & big comfets. See that you keepe your Sugar alwaies in good temper in the bason, that it burne not into lumpes or gobbets: & if your sugar bee at any time too high boyled, put in a spoonefull or two of water, & keep it warily with the ladle, & let your fire alwaies bee without smoke or flame. Some commend a Ladle that hath a hoel in it to let the sugar run thorow of a height: but you may make your comfits in their perfect forme & shape, onely with a plain Ladle. Wehn you comfits be make, set your dishes with your comfits upon papers in them, before the heat of the fire, or in the hot Sunne, or in an Oven after the bread is drawne, by the space of an houre or two: and this will make them to be very white. Take a quarter of a pound of Annis-seeds, & two pound of Sugar & this proportion will make them very great: & even a like quantity take of Carroway-seeds, Fennell seeds & Coriander seeds. Take of the fines Cinamon, & cut it into pretty small stickes beeing dry & beware you wet it not, that deadeth the Cinamon: And then worke as in other comfits. Doe this with Orenge rindes likewise. Worke upon Ginger, Cloves, & Almonds, as upon other seeds.
Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393
First, for five hundred walnuts, take a pound of mustard-seed & half a pound of anise, a quatrain & a half of fennel, a quatrain & a half of coriander, a quatrain & a half of caraway seed, which is a seed eaten in dragees…
Dragees (sugared seeds)
1 cup fine sugar
½ C coriander, anise, caraway, and fennel seeds
½ C hot water
Cook a sugar syrup to the soft ball stage. Spoon some over dry seeds and stir them around with a fork. Keep adding syrup and stirring the seeds to build up layers of candying. Let cool between layers.
Note that the French source calls these sweet "dragees," while the later source (which actually explains the process) calls them "comfits." – Katja
Research Sources for Redactions and Feast Service
Le Ménagier de Paris (The Goodman of Paris): A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by A Citizen of Paris, 1393; translation by Eileen Power, Harcourt Brace and Company, New York, 1928.
Janet Hinson translation available on-line at
The Viviender: A 15th Century French Cookery Manuscript – A Critical Edition with English Translation, Terence Scully, Prospect Books, 1997.
Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptation, D. Eleanor Scully and Terence Scully, University of Michigan Press, 1995.
The Viandier of Taillevent (Guillaume Tirel, the Provisioner) : An Edition of All Extant Manuscripts (c. 1370), edited by Terence Scully, University of Ottawa Press, 1988.
Du Fait de Cuisine (On Cookery), Maistre Chiquart Amiczo, 1420; translation, Terence Scully, Vallesia, 1985. Elizabeth Cook translation available on-line at
Savoring the Past: The French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789, Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, Simon & Schuster, 1983.
For bread and spiced butter recipes (non-14th Century French sources):
Jewel-house of Arte & Nature, Hugh Plat, 1594, English.
De Obseruatione Ciborium (On the Observance of Food), Anthimus, 6th Century Greek, Mark Grant translation, 1996.
Yale University’s Beinecke Manuscript, 15th Century English recipes, from An Ordinance of Pottage, Constance B. Hieatt, Prospect Books, 1988.
For the dragees (non-14th Century French source):
Delights for Ladies, to adorne their Perfons, Tables, Clofets, and Diftillatoriess, With Beatuies, Banqvets, Perfumes & Waters, 1609
As always, my deepest gratitude and affection to my longtime devoted and demented crew for their work in this undertaking: Lady Katrina, Lord Ulric, Holly, and most of all, my mother Jean. Mom, you are my steadfast cheerleader and my inspiration. Thanks for teaching me how to cook, and to love cooking… and many thanks for you and Holly driving six hours time and again just to cook for others!
My heartfelt love and appreciation to Lord Grendel for his patience, honesty, and support in trying dish after dish, helping with shopping at the crazy Rochester Public Market, proofing the recipe booklet, and putting up with the endless nights of my research, writing, cooking, planning, equipment organization, carloading, and all the other work and fun that goes into making a feast. My love, you are the most precious gift in my life. Thank you for taking such sweet care of me while allowing me to fulfill my goal of cooking a kingdom-level feast.
My ongoing thanks to Baroness Mistress Michaele for lending me French sources, holding Cooks Guild meetings, buying nice new baronial pitchers to replace the old grody ones, and helping me so much in so many ways for several years.
My thanks to Lord Stefan for quietly and patiently printing the menu and lugging all the equipment AGAIN!
My thanks to Mistress Alison and THL Timothy for letting me cook their event feast and for their enthusiastic willingness to accomodate my requests for setting up the feast hall and serving this meal.
My thanks to Baroness Mistress Rhiannon the Curious for her gracious and patient help with all those confusing French aigus and graves in these recipes…
Finally, my gratitude and tired hugs to all the wonderful gentles who come to play with me in kitchen and put this feast on the tables this day! A head cook alone cannot prepare a feast and thus I cannot take sole credit for this feast’s work. I bow to all you good gentles and give you thanks from my heart. May the feast be worthy of your hard work.
Now, eat! Eat! You’re all too thin…
Chris P. Adler© 2001