Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Sixteenth Century Christmas Menu.

We have had some fun before with a marvelous book called The academy of armory, … (1588) by Randle Holme.  Although heraldry and weaponry are the major subjects of the book, many other topics are covered too – including food and cookery (otherwise, of course, it would not have featured here.) 

Luckily for us, the author includes a sample menu for a Christmas feast – and a very grand feast it is indeed.

A Christmas Days Feast.

First Course
A Collar of Brawn.
Stewed Broth of Mutton and Marrowbones.
A Grand Sallet
A Potage of Capons.
A Breast of Veal in stuffado
Boiled Partridges.
A Chine or Surloin of Beef roasted.
Mince Pyes.
A Jegote of Mutton with Anchovis Sauce
A made dish of Sweet breads
A Swan roast
A Pastie of Venison
A Kid with a Pudding in his Belly
A stake Pye.
A Haunch of Venison roasted
A Turkey roast, stuck with Cloves.
A made Dish of Chickens in puff Paste.
2 Geese roast, one larded.
3 Capons, one larded.
A Custard.

The Second Course.
Oranges and Lemons.
A young Lamb or Kid.
4 Rabbits, two larded.
A Pigg sauced with Tongue.
Ducks, some larded.
A made Dish in puff paste.
Bolonia Sausages. Anchovis, Mushrooms,
            Cavieare, Pickled Oysters, in a Dish.
Teales, some larded.
A Gammon of Westphalia Bacon.
Plovers, some larded.
A Tart in puff paste.
Preserved Fruit and Pippins.
A Dish of Larks
Neats Tongues.
Sturgeon, and Anchovis, and Jellies

As the recipe for the day I give you a little something from a source I have not used nearly often enough. To give it its full title, it is:

Epulario, or, The Italian Banquet: Wherein ins shewed the maner how to dresse and prepare all kinds of Flesh, Foules or Fishes.
As also how to make Sauces, Tartes, Pies, &c. After the manner of all Countries.
With an addition of many other profitable and necessary things.
Translated out of Italian into English (1598)

The recipe is essentially for a cherry-rose cheesecake. Sound good?

To make Tartes of red Cherries.
Take the reddest cherries that may bee gotten, take out the stones and stampe them in a morter, then take red Roses chopped with a knife with a little new Cheese and some old Cheese well stamped with Sinamon, Ginger, Pepper, and Sugar, and all this mired together, adde thereunto some egs according to the quantity you will make, and with a crust of paste bake it in a pan, and being baked straw it with Sugar and Rosewater.


Cape Coop said...

Now I am wondering at the combination, cherries roses, cheeses... how much, how much, and sugar IN the mix?

Shay said...

When I was growing up there was always an orange in our stocking. For some reason oranges said "Christmas" to my parents, who were both Depression babies.

Shay said...

Sorry...it kept asking me to type the two words, so I did!

The Old Foodie said...

Same when I was growing up!

The Old Foodie said...

Cape Coop - old recioe books were aides memoire for cooks who would have known the proportions.
Frustrating, dealing with very old cookery books!

Anonymous said...

Looking at the menu, I notice there are several entries where a particular type of bird is offered, some larded, some not. I wonder why? For that matter, I wonder why anyone would think a goose needed larding!

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Sandra - I was a bit surprised by larding a goose too. I guess it all showed off the skills of the cook, which was important if one wanted to appear wealthy and important oneself.

Regula @ Miss Foodwise said...

Maybe our tradition of Sinterklaas (Saint Nickolas) can shed some light on the oranges.
The old man - virtually the same man as father christmas - came from Spain where he lived, he would come on a ship full of oranges and clementines to give to the children as sweeties. Traditionally we got chocolate and oranges and clementines rather than candy. As childrew we always thought that the abundance of clementines in the stores were there because Sinterklaas brought it with hime from spain.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Regula, sorry for the late response, I have had a very hectic few weeks! Thanks for your information - local knowledge is always great!