Bitter orange sauce from the Kuchenmaistrey

Novelty, exotic and expensive.

3. xiii. A sauce of bitter oranges (bamerantzen), those are small Italian sour apples. You press them out by themselves and they produce a good sour wine of fine taste. You add nothing but cinnamon flower (zimerpü) on the sideboard. This is a sauce for the enjoyment of lords and it does not keep because the apples always need to be pressed fresh. The sauce is good with all birds, chickens and venison.

Bitter orange juice with spices is a familiar combination in Italian medieval cuisine, not least in the fourteenth-century opusculum de saporibus. By the fifteenth century, it is clearly new enough to the citizens of Nuremberg to need explaining, though. The art in this recipe lies less in the preparation than in the sourcing of the ingredients.

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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