Elderflower Porridge from Meister Eberhard

Another short recipe:

<<R5>> Ein holder muß zu machenn.

To make elderflower mus

Take elderflowers and grind them in cow’s milk and take flour and make a mus (porridge) from this. This is good for the head and the senses.

It’s just another mus here – in this case, a flour porridge. These are comoonplace dishes rarely described, and I suspect this one only was included at all because of the unusual flavouring.

Image courtesy of wikimedia Commons

Elderflower (sambucus nigra) are still popular in some European cuisines, and Swedish elderflower cordial (fläderblom) is often available from IKEA. Today, they have largely disappeared from German cookery, though. Medieval recipes sometimes record them being used to infuse milk or as a basis for battered fritters. I find the taste appealing, and if you cannot get fresh flowers in season, they are also used medicinally and thus sold dried in herbal supply shops.

Meister Eberhard is a recipe collection that belongs into a south German context, most likely associated with the court of Bayern-Landshut during its ascendancy in the first half of the 15th century. We know nothing about the putative author other than that he claims he was part of the kitchen staff there. The text contains an eclectic mix of recipes and dietetic advice heavily cribbed from a variety of sources, including the (unattributed) writings of St Hildegardis Bingensis. The text is published in A. Feyl: Das Kochbuch Meister Eberhards. Diss. Freiburg i.B. 1963 and online on the website of Thomas Gloning.

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