Some venison recipes from the Inntalkochbuch

These are a good illustration of why working with historic recipes can be infuriating. All bits and pieces of information, but very little in the way of guidance in interpreting it.

<<17>> Von wiltprät im slaff

Venison im slaff (sleeping?)

Thus: Boil the venison first, then brown good pepper sauce and pass it through with Italian wine and use raisins and almonds.

<<18>> Nota

Note

If you want to boil venison well, do not take much wine and take good broth of beef or castrated mutton, pass it through with good pepper sauce and use cinnamon instead of cloves.

<<20>> Wiltprat aus einem guten pfeffer

Venison (to be eaten out of) a good pepper sauce

First scald it, then take good green (fresh?) broth and soften (i.e. simmer) it in that, then pass it through with wine or vinegar. Chop onions into it and add fat, and swaiffs ab (fry them? This may be a reference to adding fried onions)

<<21>> Ein riechpraten von wiltprat

A smelly roast (riechpraten) of venison which is old. Once it is half roasted, pour cold water over it, then place it near the fire and roast till done.

This is interesting, but in order to have any hope to understand what is going on, I will need to draw on parallel recipes. The pfeffer sauce is a broad category, basically a mixture of cooking liquid and spices thickened in some way – most often using bread or gingerbread, but also dried fruit and even an early version of roux thickening. The use of cinnamon ‘instead of cloves’ presumes the reader understands the usual spice mix, and while I assume the broth is passed through in recipe #20, the wording allows this instruction to refer to the meat. Finally, whatever the exact meaning of a riechpraten is, it is not easy to see what the water treatment is intended to achieve. It may well be entirely garbled and based on a rech (i.e. Reh – roe deer) roast.

This is the kind of thing we file away for future cross-referencing.

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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