A green sauce from the Kuchenmaistrey

This may be the most common type of medieval sauce.

4. i. If you would have good green sauce of herbs, collect pepperwort (pfefferkraut), mint (deymenten), chard (mangolt), and sorrel (ampffer). Strip out the stalks and ensure you have a glazed pot with a lid. Take white bread and soak well it in wine or in vinegar. Grate gingerbread and pound the herbs and (pound?) all of that together well and pass it through a cloth with the vinegar and wine the bread was soaked in. Season it with spices. Try the sauce and keep it in a glazed pot over the year.

There are a large number of recipes for these thickened, vinegar-based herb sauces, including some whose base is dried to a powder and reconstituted at need. This one is made in season and then stored. Many German recipes sources emphasise the keeping qualities of sauces, implying something like a condiment shelf in well-stocked kitchens.

The ingredients are not entirely clear. Mangolt is clearly chard (beta vulgaris) and ampffer sorrel (rumex acetosa). Deymenten is a kind of mint, but it is not clear which one, and the identitiy of pfefferkraut is dubious, though either pepperweed (lepidium latifolium) or summer savoury (satureia hortensis) are good candidates. The spices are left entirely undefined, and given similar recipes go with anything from just pepper to highly complex mixtures of numerous spices, we have great latitude in their reconstruction.

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 (mastery of the kitchen) was the earliest printed cookbook in German (and only missed being the earliest printed cookbook in any language by a few years). The book 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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