Two fish dishes from the Kuchenmaistrey

1.iii Item if you would make sausages out of fish. Scale them and chop them small. Pound them in a mortar, add salt and spices, and fill the guts. Boil them like a fish with wine. Make a yellow pepper sauce (to pour) over it.

1.iiii Item to make small cakes of fish, whichever kind they be. Prepare them well, catch the blood, loosen (i.e. remove) the bones. Keep the heads, tails, and innards, throw out the gall. Then take the fish and chop them small unboiled, that is raw. Pound them well in a mortar. Add flour, raisins and good spices, salt and fat. Fry that well. And serve it in a saucer (ziseünlein) of grated gingerbread (leckchen), that is how it is made. The other (thing) of fish (is made) of the heads, bones and innards. You make a starter dish (vor essen) from that, nicely boiled in wine and seasoned like other fish, yellowed (with saffron) and spiced. Try it for salt(-iness) and serve it. These are two very courtly dishes made from fish.

These are interesting recipes illustrating the lengths to which cooks could go to process foods in the interest of showiness. The amount of labour and spices required elevated already expensive fresh fish to ‘courtly’ level.

The last part is hard to parse, presumably because every cook was expected to know how to make a vor essen. These dishes, often known as a fürhess, typically combined smaller, fiddlier parts of meat with a blood-bound, spicy sauce. That made them ideal to get another serving out of a small animal. The process must have been more complex than merely boiling fish heads.

My next (temporary) project are recipes from the Nuremberg Kuchenmaistrey produced around 1490. This was the earliest printed cookbook in German (and only missed being the earliest printed cookbook in any language by a few years). The Kuchenmaistrey (mastery of the kitchen) gave rise to a vibrant culture of amended and expanded manuscript copies as well as reprints spanning almost a century. The recipes seem designed to appeal to a wealthy, literate and cosmopolitan clientele.

This entry was posted in Uncategorised and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Two fish dishes from the Kuchenmaistrey

  1. Hairstyles says:

    Hey this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    • carlton_bach says:

      I’m very much not knowledgable about computers and use off-the-shelf WordPress software that allows me to do type and format without too much trouble. But it is rather basic and i still have much to learn.

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

    • carlton_bach says:

      Thanks. Pictures are difficult, but when I try out recipes, I always make some and if they turn out okay, I also post them here. Most days, there is only enough time for a quick translation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.