Venison Meatballs from the Inntalkochbuch

This is a recipe that we could actually make with reasonable hope of a plausible outcome.

<<22>> Von wiltprat chnödel

Meatballs of venison

For a princely dish, 8 eggs. Break them into it, add spices and bacon chopped small. Parsley or sage go into the broth.

To modern Germans, meatballs are associated with making economies, with funds not quite stretching to ‘real’ meat, and the idea of them being a princely dish (ein fürst essen) is strange. In a world without mechanical grinders that can turn sinew and cartilage into edible Hack, the amount of labour to produce minced meat as well as the higher quality of meat required needs to be considered. This dish calls for chopping enough meat to absorb eight eggs, a considerable undertaking. In addition, medical opinion of the time held that a dish that combined its ingredients most fully would be closeest to the idea humoral balance. Chopping meat would have served that purpose.

We do not have any reference to the spices used here, but it is reasonably safe to refer to other ghame recipes for that. Generally, any undefined reference to ‘spices’ or ‘good spices’ leaves this to the professiopnal discretion of the cook familiar with the expectations of his time, the taste of his employer, and their medical needs.

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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