Friday, May 17, 2013

The Goldsmiths’ Feast.


On Sunday it will be Saint Dunstan’s Feast Day, and therefore day when the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths used to hold their annual elections and feast, Dunstan being their patron saint.

In the year 1444, it seems from their account books that the goldsmiths must have had a fine old time with plenty of music and wine and a nice clean hall for their feast.

s
d
To minstrels
1
6
8
Their hoods and dinner
0
12
8
18 lb of spices
1
1
0
200 pepyns [pippins]
0
1
8
400 blanderett
0
3
8
16 gallons of wine
0
18
8
Bread
0
9
4
Ale
0
9
8
1 hogshead of wine
1
16
4
Keeping of the cupboard
0
0
8
Hire of earthen pots
0
0
4
3 pikes and a jowl of fresh salmon
0
7
8
5 lampreys and 2 green [fresh] fishes
1
10
8
7 crabbys [crabs]
0
0
7
10 roches
0
0
6
Bread
0
0
6
1potel wine, to the cooke
0
0
5
1 quartr coles [coals]
0
0
7
Washing of napery
0
0
7
For white cupps
0
0
9
For making clean the hall
0
0
2

This all-fish meal was presumably held on a ‘fast” day. The account does rather seem incomplete – there is not much food for the quantity of wine and other beverages, and of spices? On the other hand, I don’t know what “blanderett” are, and neither does the Oxford English Dictionary. The nearest word I can find is blaundrell (“a kind of white apple formerly very much in repute” – but with the pippins, it would have been a real apple feast, which does not seem likely. Any ideas?

From The Forme of Cury, the manuscript cookery book of the Master Chefs of King Richard II, compiled around the year 1390, I give you a nice dish of salmon in an almond milk broth with leeks and saffron.  

Cawdel of Saumon.
Take the guttes of Samoun and make hem clene. perboile hem a lytell. take hem up and dyce hem. slyt the white of Lekes and kerue hem smale. cole the broth and do the lekes therinne with oile and lat it boile togyd yfere . do the Samoun icorne therin, make a lyour of Almaundes mylke & of brede & cast therto spices, safroun and salt, seethe it wel. and loke that it be not stondyng [stiff, or thick.]

3 comments:

Piet said...

That sounds like an enormous amount of spices, too, even if the wine was being warmed and spiced.

Lapinbizarre said...

"One pottel wine" for consumption after the feast, one hopes.

kitchen hand said...

Could the first quantity of wine have been the medium for cooking the fish with the apples and the mysterious blanderett - a kind of sweetish fish and fruit stew revved up with the quantity of spices?

I love 'stondyng' - it reads so easily as 'stodgy'.