Tag Archives: English Food

Handwashing, Serving and Gifting in 14th Century

In about 1390, The Forme of Cury was compiled by Samuel Pegge (18th Century Vicar and Antiquarian). The actual book was written by the Master-Cooks of King RICHARD II, then much later, presented to Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth, queen of king Henry VII. was crowned A. 1487.

As with many historic cookbooks, the forward has a great amount of historic data about their current life (what they ate), social commentary, as well as some ideas as what happened before them. I will be posting some of the more interesting comments they make over the next few months in the blog.

Here is something about meat, how it is usually served, and why handwashing is done. There is also some other interesting points, however made by as far as I can tell, Samuel Pegge in the 18th Century:

“My next observation is, that the messes both in the roll and the
Editor’s MS, are chiefly soups, potages, ragouts, hashes, and the
like hotche-potches; entire joints of meat being never served, and animals, whether fish or fowl, seldom brought to table whole, but hacked and hewed, and cut in pieces or gobbets [77]; the mortar also was in great request, some messes being actually denominated from it, as mortrews, or morterelys as in the Editor’s MS. Now in this state of things, the general mode of eating must either have been with the spoon or the fingers; and this perhaps may have been the reason that spoons became an usual present from gossips to their god-children at christenings [78]; and that the bason and ewer, for washing before and after dinner, was introduced, whence the ewerer was a great officer [79], and the ewery is retained at Court to this day [80]; we meet with damaske water after dinner [81], I presume, perfumed; and the words ewer plainly come from the Saxon or French eau water.

Thanksgiving Turkey

By Patricia Lammerts

Unlike many new world foods, the turkey was accepted readily by the 16th century cook and diner. Why? Because the turkey is a very large bird, and, while its appearance would have been somewhat unusual for the 16th century person to behold, the concept of eating large birds was not foreign to them. Many people confused them with Guinea Fowl. They also were confused as to where turkeys came from. The common misconception was that they came from Turkey, hence the name.

References can be found concerning turkeys from England in 1541, where they were listed in sumptuary laws, along with other large birds. The price of purchasing a turkey was fixed in England in the mid-1550’s for the London markets and Thomas Tusser wrote in 1557 in his book entitled, “ A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie” of feeding turkeys on runcivall peas, and of eating them for Christmas.

Turkeys were not only accepted in England, but also in Italy and France. Liliane Plouvier wrote a learned paper on the history of turkeys in Europe. She found accounts of Queen Margueritte of Navarre raising turkeys in 1534, while 66 turkeys were served at a feast for Catherine de Medici in 1549. In Belgium, turkey was served three different ways [boiled with oysters, roasted and served cold, and baked in a pastry] for a banquet held in Liege in 1557.

Recipes for turkey can be found in Bartolomeo Scappi’s cookbook “Opera dell’arte del Cucinare”, printed in 1570. Recipes and a drawing of a turkey can be found in Marxen Rumpolt’s cookbook “Ein Neu Kochbuch” printed in 1581.

Here is the first recipe given by Rumpolt and the only one that talks about roasting and not grinding the meat for a terrine or a pie.

Warm abgebraten mit einem Pobrat/ oder trucken gegeben/ Oder
kalt lassen werden/ denn es ist ein gut Essen/ wen{n}s kalt ist.
Warm roasted off with a sauce/ or served dry/ Or
let it (get) cold/ because it is a good meal/ when it is cold.

This is a good sauce recipe from Robert May’s “The Accomplished Cook”:

_Sauces for all manner of roast Land-Fowl, as Turkey, Bustard, Peacock, Pheasant, Partridge_, &c.

4. Onions slic’t and boil’d in fair water, and a little salt, a few bread crumbs beaten, pepper, nutmeg, three spoonful of white wine, and some lemon-peel finely minced, and boil’d all together: being almost boil’d put in the juyce of an orange, beaten butter, and the gravy of the fowl.

Here is a stuffing recipe from Scappi:

To make various stuffings, of those one can stuff various joints of four legged animals, and many flying animals, the which one has to boil with water and salt. Cap CXVI

Take for every pound of old cheese grated, six ounces of fat cheese that is not too salty, & three ounces of nutmeg ground in the mortar and peeled, two ounces of crumb of bread soaked in [turkey] broth, & pounded in the mortar, three ounces of … fresh butter, three ounces of currants (dried grapes) peeled, half an ounce between pepper and cinnamon & saffron enough, mix everything together with eight eggs in the way that the stuffing is neither too liquid nor too firm.

Unfortunately, due to my mother’s recent death, I have been unable to redact these recipes into modern form. This will give a chance to those wishing to experiment.

Leche Lumbard

By: Mercy Asakura

Here is my first recipe post which I think is fitting for the first of the year.  I did this one many years ago and it’s the first recipe/redaction I have actually found.  Unfortunately my stash of recipes are lost.  Hopefully I will uncover them soon.

Here is the basics:


Leche Lumbard – from Forme of Cury:

66. Leche Lumbard. Take rawe pork and pulle of the skyn, and pyke out esynewes, and bray the pork in a morter with ayron rawe. Do erto sugur, salt, raysouns coraunce, dates mynced, and powdour of peper, powdour gylofre; & do it in a bladder, and lat it see til it be ynowhgh. And whan it is ynowh, kerf it; leshe it in liknesse of a peskodde; and take grete raysouns and grynde hem in a morter. Drawe hem vp wi rede wyne. Do erto mylke of almaundes. Colour it with saundres & safroun, and do erto powdour of peper & of gilofre and boile it. And whan it is boiled, take powdour canel and gynger and temper it vp with wyne, and do alle ise thynges togyder, and loke at it be rennyng; and lat it not see after at it is cast togyder, & serue it forth.

Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). London: For the Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.

Gode Cookery translation: Take raw pork and pull off the skin, and pick out the sinews, and pound the pork in a morter with raw eggs. Do there to sugar, salt, currants, minced dates, and powder of pepper, powder cloves; & do it in a bladder, and let it boil til it be done. And when it is done, carve it; slice it in the likeness of a peaspod; and take great raisins and grind them in a morter. Blend it with red wine. Do there to milk of almonds. Color it with sandlewood & saffron, and do there to powder of pepper & of cloves and boil it. And when it is boiled, take cinnamon powder and ginger and mix it up with wine, and do all these things together, and look that it be rennet (coagulated); and let it not boil after that it is cast together, & serve it forth.

My Redaction:

Meatloaf —

1 Lbs Ground Pork
1 Egg
4 Tbs currants
1/2 little box raisins
6 Large dates, pitted and minced
1/4 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/8 tsp black Pepper
1/8 tsp salt

Sauce —

2 cups Almond Milk
1/2 cup Red Wine
1/2 little box of raisins
3 strands of saffron
1/8 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/8 tsp ginger

For meatloaf:

1.  Take all of the ingredients and mix them up in a bowl together.  Try to get a consistent mixture so that all the fruit and spices are distributed evenly.

2.  Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and form meat mixtures into a shape (if you want to see the original directions for peaspod, please go to the website stated above).  Mine was a sun.  I tried to keep it no taller/thicker than an inch and a half so everything cooked evenly.

3.  Put in oven at 350 degrees for roughly 35 minutes.  I originally made a 2-pound batch, which I left in for 40 minutes, which was a little too long for my tastes (turned a little dry).  It should be a light golden brown.


1.  Place in saucepan everything but the ginger and rosemary.  Bring to a boil, and then bring temperature down to a simmer.  Allow to boil down for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

2.  Near the end of the simmering, add ginger and rosemary.  Because mine didn’t thicken, I added about 1 tablespoon arrowroot, but when I did it the second time, it thickened.  So go figure.

Plating the Meal:

1.  Clean the excess fat off of the meatloaf and then put in the center of a large plate.

2.  Pour sauce around the loaf (not over).

3.  Serve it forth.

When I cook I do fudge the measurements depending on the taste as I cook it. I realize that the first time I added a lot more pepper than noted above because I like pepper.  Also, I don’t like wine sauces, so I added more almond milk to balance off the wine flavor.  You can change things where you see fit.