Almond milk rice pudding from the Inntalkochbuch

A classic – not necessarily attractive by modern lights, but extremely popular as a high status dish.

<<8>> Ein mandel mues ze machen

To make almond porridge

Take rice, wash it well in water and dry it on a cloth. Then pound it small in a mortar and sieve it through a cloth. Make thick almond milk, put it by the fire and grind (mal) the pounded rice into it, about half a spoonful, and some sugar.

In modern culinary grammar, this is not much to write home about: almond milk, rice flour, sugar, a colourless, soft, bland dish. By medieval lights, it was a luxurious dish. Almonds and rice were expensive imports, sugar a coveted spice and the combination was even thought to be humorally beneficial to people of subtle constitution. Who, after all, would not like to consider themselves of subtle constitution?

There is not very much to say about how it was made. Note that the recipe works in small quantities – the ‘half a spoon’ mentioned is probably a cooking ladle rather than an eating spoon, but this is still a small portion. Mus is often cooked individually.

The Inntalkochbuch is from a monastic library in Bavaria’s Inntal region (the Inn is a tributary of the Danube), dating to the late 15th/early 16th century. It is written in Upper German and strongly reflects local culinary traditions, though some of its recipes are commonplaces found elsewhere.

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