Meat mash from the Kuchenmaistrey

For the aged and toothless. I had worse in hospital after jaw surgery.

2. iiii. If you would make pounded chickens, boil old and fat chickens well. Skim the broth and make it as clear as a broth of water, and do not pour any more (water?) into it. Salt it, and do not overboil it. Take out the chickens and reserve the broth. Pour off the fat into another pot and let the lean broth stand in the other pot. Then throw the chickens onto the chopping surface (banck), pull out the large bones and then chop them very small. Soak a crumb of white bread in the lean broth very thoroughly. Then take the bread and the chicken and pound them together in a mortar. Pass (zwing, lit. force) it through a pepper cloth (a cloth for straining spices, or possibly one infused with spices) with the old (i.e. original) chicken broth, pound it again and pass it through again.

If it is too thin, add more white bread and pass it through (again). If it is too thick, pass it through the cloth without bread. Put it into a pan, boil it and season it with spices and salt. As it has passed through the fine (cloth). Put pure fat on top of it beforehand (before serving?). Thus remember all manner of pounded birds are made thus and boiled with strained (seid) colours.

2. v. Item of other meat that you must pound because old and sick people have no more teeth and cannot chew. Take veal or venison that is suitable for roasting and that you would make meatballs from. This meat should be recently slaughtered, fresh and nice. Boil it without salt, skim it well, pour off the clear broth and reserve it. Pound it in a mortar very well with a little white bread and pass it through a cloth with the broth. Before you store it (wor behalted) mix it with wine and vinegar, in noticeable quantity (zu brüffen).

If you would have it thick, beat egg yolks with the same broth that you passed through. If you would have it thin, leave it without eggs, but (make it) with spices and salt. Put pure butter on it and serve it. If you would serve it thin, prepare toasted bread and serve it thin like a soup, that is good and proper.

This is pretty much stereotypical medieval fare, overcooked, mashed, and heavily spiced. Of course most wasn’t like that, but some was. What I find intribuing is the insistence of putting fat on top. This may be a reference to sealing cooked meat under a layer of melted lard or butter the way that became common in the early modern age – or it may not. I’m not quite ready to take that leap on the strength of this recipe.

I will continue posting recipes from the Nuremberg Kuchenmaistrey produced around 1490, but my mode will change. Instead of translating one daily and posting it here, I will try to use what time there is to translate as much as I can and post only some of them here. Once the entire text is done, I will try to get it published either as a book, or online.

The Kuchenmaistrey 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.

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