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The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

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The medieval kitchen revealed: the master cook who worked in the noble kitchens of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries had to be both practical andknowledgeable. His apprenticeship a(c)quainted him with a range of culinary skills and a wide repertoire of seasonal dishes, but he was also required to understand the inherent qualities of the foodstuffs he handled, as determined by contemporary medical theories, and to know the lean-day strictures of the Church. Research in original manuscript sources makes this a fascinating and authoritative study where little hard fact had previouslyexisted.Numerous recipes, extracted from manuscript sources, indicate how rich and varied a choice of dishes the fifteenth century gastronome could enjoy. In this fascinating study Dr Scully examinesboth the theory and practice of medieval cooking, demonstrating their complex interdependence.
During his apprenticeship the medieval master cook learnt a range of culinary skills using the standard facilities — open fire, the mortar and the bolting-cloth —to their best advantage. He had a large repertoire of preparations in order to accommodate the seasonal scarcity of certain foods and the lean-day strictures of the Church. He was also familiar with the inherent qualities of all the foodstuffs he handled, as determined by contemporary medical treatises, in order to ensure that he never imperilled the health of his master's household by an unsuitable choice of ingredients. With few exceptions, these ingredients are much the same as those used today. It is the how and why of theirdifferent treatment that makes the cookery of five centuries ago of such interest.
TERENCE SCULLYis professor of French at Wilfred Laurier University, Ontario.

Reviews

A compendium on practically all aspects of the art of cooking and dining... Because of the author's familiarity with all aspects of the subject we are offered this rara avis: a book which interests the specialist and the general reader; which allies common sense with scholarship; and which presents the theory and practice of medieval cooking for the scholar and the practitioner... has its place on the shelves of the practical cook as well as on those of the scholar: both can feed on it! HISTORYA much-needed, authoritative treatment of (its) subject. SPECULUM

Details

First Published: 24 Aug 1995
13 Digit ISBN: 9780851156118
Pages: 284
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
Subject: Medieval History

Details updated on 05 Jan 2010