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The Medieval Cook


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`Stylish and racy... An excellent book and a delight to read, written with panache and entirely convincing.' Professor PETER COSS, Cardiff University.

This book takes us into the world of the medieval cook, from the chefs in the great medieval courts and aristocratic households catering for huge feasts, to the peasant wife attempting to feed her family from scarce resources, from cooking at street stalls to working as hired caterers for private functions. It shows how they were presented in the art, literature and moral commentary of the period (valued on some grounds, despised on others), how they functioned, and how they coped with the limitations and the expectations which faced them in different social settings. Particular use is made of their frequent appearance in the margins of illuminated manuscript, whether as decoration, or as a teaching tool.


Bridget Henisch has tackled an enormous subject, the cook in western Europe, and expertly marshalled evidence throughout the medieval period. MEDIUM AEVUM
It is an attractive piece of work, beautifully illustrated, making the subject highly approachable for the general reader. [...] A useful and highly entertaining introduction to the study of the necessity and artistry of cookery in the Middle Ages. THE RICARDIAN
This admirable book is based on a much wider field than the art of the period. It shows a remarkable range of literary and historical sources. SPECULUM
An accessible overview of medieval culinary practice that will entertain and inform the general public. [...] The general audience will be seduced by the lively medley of cooks and kitchens the book presents. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW
Pour reprendre les termes du professeur Peter Cross de l'Université de Cardiff, l'ouvrage de l'historienne américaine Bridget Ann Henisch est écrit avec panache et conviction. Elle entralecteur dans l'univers multiforme des cuisines médiévales. L'auteure visit aussi bien celles fonctionelles et propres de la haute aristocratie que celles souvent frustes et sales des classes socials moins élevées. HISTOIRE ET IMAGES ME


First Published: 19 Feb 2009
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843834380
19 black and white illustrations
Pages: 256
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
BIC Class: HBLC1

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Preface
  • 2  The Cook in Context
  • 3  The Cottage Cook
  • 4  Fast Food and Fine Catering
  • 5  The Comforts of Home
  • 6  The Staging of a Feast
  • 7  On the Edge: the Cook in Art
  • 8  Select Bibliography
  • 9  A Selection of Medieval Recipes
  • 10  Suggestions for Further Reading

A Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

A Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases