Suckling Pig from Cgm 384 II

Another short recipe today:

Seventeenth-century Spanferkel courtesy of wikimedia commons

28 Roast Suckling Pig

Fill a young suckling pig thus: Take eggs and break them into fat and stir them well and thoroughly. Then take the lungs and the liver and the kidneys, or the lungs alone, and chop them very well together. Spice it and colour it. Then lay out (erstreks) the pig into a cauldron and after that, stick it on a long spit. Grease (salb) the pig evenly on the outside so that the skin does not burn nor become too hard. You may also fill it with whatever you please, like a goose. And draw a roast sausage through its mouth lengthwise.

Brief and technical, and not very surprising: The pig is filled with a spicy stuffing which is made with various organ meats and scrambled eggs. This combination is not uncommon and also features in other dishes. It is parboiled, and the word erstreks (very roughly to lay out or stretch out) suggests that it needs a large cauldron to ensure the body can later be spitted lengthwise. This is necessary to roast the animal properly – if the back is hunched, it will cook unevenly. After spitting, the cook must baste it regularly to ensure the skin does not burn or become too hard, as it easily will. All of this is familiar to anyone who ever roasted a Spanferkel. One main difference is the sausage place in the mouth where modern tradition would put an apple.

We have parallel recipes for this, the closest again in the Rheinfränkisches Kochbuch:

51 If you would roast a suckling pig well and cleanly, take eggs stirred in fat (eyer in smalcze = fried eggs, stirred, I think) and chop the lungs with that. Season it well and fill it with that. Boil it in a cauldron and then roast it on a spit, and draw a sausage through its mouth lengthwise. It is also good to fill it with juniper berries and garlic, if you like that kind of thing.

Meister Hans has a slightly different take on suckling pig:

Recipe #228 Wie ma klaine spanfäckel pratn und beraitn sol
How to roast and prepare small suckling pigs
Item take a suckling pig and roast it at a low temperature (
prat es küel) and split it in half with the head (i.e. including its head). Then take the lungs or hard-boiled eggs and two slices of soft white bread, saffron, pepper, salt and finely chopped bacon. Fill the suckling pig with it, stick it on a spit and drizzle it with fat.

Not a great deal of difference, but I suspect the bacon, egg and bread stuffing will appeal to modern audiences more.

Bound together with medicinal, veterinary, and magical texts, the culinary recipes of Munich Cgm 384 were partly published in 1865 as “Ein alemannisches Büchlein von guter Speise“. The manuscript dates to the second half of the fifteenth century. My translation follows the edition by Trude Ehlert in Münchner Kochbuchhandschriften aus dem 15. Jahrhundert, Tupperware Deutschland, Frankfurt 1999, which includes the first section of recipes not published earlier.

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