Chequered Jelly from the Königsberg MS

A lovely, showy dish

[[17]] Wilthu machenn ein Sulzenn, die dreyerley Gestaltt hatt:

If you want to make a jelly of three kinds

Take isinglass and boil it in water. Then take thick almond (milk) and parsley chopped small, grind the almond milk into a plate, add a third of the milk and sugar it well. That will be green. Then take these (other?) two parts and boil them in a pan, sugar them, let them boil and pour off one part of it into a small pan as white. Make the third part yellow and pour and pour (repeated) that into a small pan too. Boil and boil (repeated) the green color in a pan, too, and pour all of it into a pan. Thus you have three colors. Let it stand until it hardens, then lift it over the fire, pull it off again quickly and turn it out onto a board. Cut it schagzaglet (chequered i.e. ‘like a chessboard’) and put it into a bowl, once white, then yellow, then green, until it is full. Do not oversalt.

The recipe exists in several other collections, and this version is slightly garbled. nonetheless, the intent is clear. You take sweet almond milk jelly made with isinglass (haueßen plossen – the swim bladder of the Hausen or European sturgeon, though in practice other sources of gelatin would have worked just as well), colour parts of it yellow and green, and let it gel in flat plates. It is then cut into quares and arranged in a chequerboard pattern to serve. No doubt it would have looked impressive enough on a platter.

The Königsberg MS was preserved in the archive of the Teutonic Order in Königsberg (today Kaliningrad) in Baltic East Prussia, though its language suggests that it belongs to a Central or South German background. It is not associated with any name that I am aware of and is dated to the late 15th century purely on the scribal hand. The recipe types match South German sources of that time. It was published in Gollub (Hg.): Aus der Küche der deutschen Ordensritter. in: Prussia 31 (1935) pp. 118-124.

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