Cherry sauce from the Kuchenmaistrey

A widespread recipe

4. xx. Item make tart cherry sauce thus. Pound them in a mortar with stones and all. Grate gingerbread into it. Pass it through a cloth with good wine. Pour it into a glazed pot and pound cloves and all manner of strong spices and also add a little salt. Boil it by the fire and then take it out (of the pot) into a wet bowl (ein feucht beck). Let it firm up (gesten) well and make small patties or an electuary.

There are almost as many recipes for sauce of tart cherries – Weichselsauce – as there are recipe sources. One from Cod Pal Germ 551 already featured here, and another very similar one was actually tried out this autumn. This recipe is interesting for the instruction to shape the result into küchlein – small patties, much like Quittenbrot. No doubt they would have been dissolved in some liquid, probably wine, before serving.

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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