Fritters (maybe) in Sauce from Cgm 384 II

Here is the recipe I referred to the day before yesterday:

65 Fritters (bachen) in a sauce (or bowl? Jussel)

For fritters in a Jussel (sauce), take grated cheese and flour, break eggs into it, and season it well. Knead it together and roll it out on a board and make long, thin strips of it and fry them in fat. After that, cut them into a sauce (or bowl? Jussel).

The fritters here are a basic, but very attractive part of medieval cuisine. I have made variations of them numerous times, and they are always popular: Versatile, low-threshold, child-friedly historic dining. If you uise a mild cheese, they combine with sweet and fruit-based sauces to gently guide the hesitant towards the popular combinations of sweet and savoury in medieval cooking. Served as a side dish, they can allow for a riskier meat because any picky eaters can have their fill of them. I love my ‘medieval cheese straws’.

What makes this recipe interesting is its reference – the second time in this collection – to Iussel. the word is consistely capitalised and looks temptingly like a reference to a sauce, one that was in some way felt to be foreign, with the word either taken from the Middle Latin iusculum or from possibly French. There is no indication what kind of sauce this was, but clearly it was unlike the ones described with the familiar terms pfeffer and galray. One might speculate that they were vinegar- or onion-based. However, there is at the very least a possibility that this interpretation is completely off. A parallel recipe in the Inntalkochbuch has:

7 Zu ainem pachen in ainer schüssel
For a fritter (served) in a bowl
Take grated cheese and flour in equal amounts, break eggs into it and season it well, knead it together and roll it out on a board. Make the dough into strips (
struczel), fry them in a pan in fat and then cut them in(to?) a bowl.

Iussel has become schüssel, a simple serving bowl. I contend that the latter is the misreading, a later generation of cooks no longer understanding a technical term. The Inntalkochbuch is about 150 years later than Cgm 384. However, it is also possible that the error is in Cgm 384 and the quest for the elusive iusculum a wild goose chase.

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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