Medicinal wine in times of plague, from the Kuchenmaistrey

5. xix. Item wormwood wine is good for disease (vnlust) when you drink it or mix it with other wine or makeit into a sauce with nut kernels and fine bread soaked in wine to which wormwood was added, well pounded and passed through (a cloth) with good wine. This is a sauce with which it is good to eat all dishes of meat and fish at a time when illness and death goes around, be it of poisonous air or of evil water.

It is common in Hungary, where there are evil waters and much fog, for rich people to boil wormwood in wine and usually make it as we boil elecampagne wine here in autumn. Quite as elecampagne wine is sweet, wormwood wine is bitter. And the people there are strong and healthy in evil, swampy lands.

5. xx. Item nettles pounded with a good wine or with vinegar passed through (a cloth) and poured into a glass and kept. This strained wine kills the worms. If you would put distilled liquor (gebranten wein) into it, whatever you brush with it, it will hold off the worms, vermin, and rotten flesh. And if there was any animal that has rotten flesh due to an illness, add a little alum to it and it burns it away (es etzt sich auß). Also note that where you put the wormwood wine, the horseradish wine and the nettle wine, no spider will come, neither midges nor other worms, toads or snakes.

The elecampagne wine referenced in 5.xix is

5. xv. Item if you would make elecampagne wine, take well-washed elecampagne root, cut it in pieces, and take fresh must from the press. Pour that into a cauldron, add the root and let it boil. When the upper skin (ober rind) detaches from the core (kern), it has boiled enough. Then pour the boiled wine into the cask with the must of which you would make elecampagne wine, well strained through a cloth beforehand, and let it ferment well together (wol vnter einandr yeren), then you have good elecampagne wine. You may also temper and prepare wine of other herbs such as sage or whatever herb you may wish.

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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