Sauce for Beef from Cgm 384 (and everywhere else)

As we return to Cgm 384, this is one recipe we find in almost every recipe collection:

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35 Sauce (Seltz) for a Loin Roast (lentpraten)

Take the loin roast of a calf and roast it. Take rye bread and vinegar and parsley, pound that in a mortar, and pass it through a cloth. That will be a sauce, serve it with the roast.

The first interesting point is that this recipe specifies the cut to be roasted, a Lendenbraten (loin roast). The name still exists, and was historically used synonymous with Mürbebraten, another word we encounter a number of times. What we can’t say is whether the words then meant what they do now, but surely it is a high-end cut of fine, roastable muscle meat.

The sauce is not very interesting. There are parallels in Cod Pal Germ 551, the Königsberg MS, and a slightly more elaborate one in the Oeconomia ruralis et domestica that has the added advantage of accidental puerile humour:

Rindfleisch im Aschloch

Beef in Chives

(marginalia: To cook beef in chives)

Cook the beef well in salt so that it turns out tender. Shell chives, as much as you think is good, add unripe grapes and parsley, and boil this in a fat beef broth (Rindernen suppen). When you see fit, place the meat on a serving bowl and pour this over it.

The sauces differ in detail – the one in Cgm 384 is bound with bread and depends on vinegar for its sour note while the one in the Oeconomia uses unripe grapes and no binding agent is mentioned. The basic flavour is the same, though. Aschlauch – in various forms – is derived from the word ascalonica and originally probably referred to shallots, but in most German texts of the fifteenth and sixteenth century where we can be sure tends to mean chives. It is certainly a green allium flavour. Add a vinegary bite and you have it.

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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