Three Latin recipes from Meister Eberhard

The manuscript ascribed to Meister Eberhard is obviously pieced together from a variety of sources, among them the manuscript tradition that produced Cod Pal germ 551 and the Königsberg MS. We get an impression of the rather haphazard process from the fact that the language occasionally switches to Latin. That is the case in this block of three brief and sadly uninformative recipes:

<<R18>> Item vt scito coquantur carnes.

Know how meat is cooked

Take several pecia (this usually means a piece or part, but here seems to refer to a discrete quantity) of wine and put them into a pot to the raw meat and thus it is cooked.

<<R19>> Item ad extrahendum sal de cibo nimis salsato.

How to extract salt from food that is salted too much.

Put wheat flour into a piece (pecia) of linen cloth and put it into the food to boil (bulire).

Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

<<R20>> Item ad appetitum comedendi valet illa salsa facta cum aleo.

This sauce made with garlic aids the appetite for food

Take about thirty grains of pepper and crush it together, and eat it on an empty stomach for two days. Also take three leaves of sage and a moderate measure of salt. Or add garlic and pimpernel and make juice (of it).

The third recipe is interesting because it has a close, but still different parallel in Kuchenmaistrey 5.xxxi.:

Item for one who has no appetite to eat, make him a sauce of garlic and take three leaves of sage and a little bread and salt. Pound that and mix it with vinegar and add the garlic. Take two toes (?) of ginger and thirty peppercorns, pound them small and add them. Pour on vinegar and mix it well. You shall eat this sauce for three or four days, then you will gain a good appetite to eat.

The Kuchenmaistrey text is in German, though that itself does not matter as much as we would think. The target audience of urban professionals, clergy and nobles would have included plenty of fluent readers of Latin, and much culinary writing is very basic. More interestingly, it contains more detailed instructions as well as an expanded list of ingredients. This is interesting in a speculative sense because the Kuchenmaistrey is clearly dependent on the tradition of Cod Pal Germ 551. If this recipe was also part of the same transmission chain, it indicates another lost text that the author of the printed work drew on. Of course, the recipe itself is so basic it could easily have come to the Kuchenmaistrey through an entirely different channel as well.

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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