Two Scented Sauces for Poultry

Again from the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch:

M0016368 H. Brunschwig, Liber de Arte Distillandi de Compositis Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images A single still with receiver on a brick furnace Liber de Arte Distillandi de Compositis Brunschwig, Hieronymus Published: 1512 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

21 How you shall cook partridges

Item roast the birds, and when they are roasted, cut them apart in the middle and place them in a bowl. Cover them so they do not get cold. Take bitter oranges (sawr Pomerantzen), cut them apart and squeeze them out. Take a little sugar into a bowl, and also Trisanet and cinnamon, strew this over the birds and cover them with the bowl again. You may also well add rosewater or lavender water, a little, so they smell nice. Lay the bird in the middle and then pour on a little sweet wine, strew Trisanet over it and cinnamon, press out the saffron (probable error: for saffran read safft – juice) and set the bowl over coals like a Schuesselmus. Cover it nicely and let it get hot. Thus they will have the tingle of bitter oranges (pitzlens nach den Pomerantzen) and become a little sour and thick. Leave it covered, serve it and take off the bowl, thus they smell good. But you shall not prepare much liquid (pruee) with them, only take a little of each (ingredient).

22 A Sauce (pruee) over Chickens

Take small raisins (Rosinlein), remove the pips, also take weinberlein (a different kind of raisin), and pound them small in a mortar. Take Malvasyer (malmsey wine) and force (zwing) them through a nice cloth. Thus it turns brown. Let it become hot in a nice pot. Draw the chickens off the spit, lay them in a bowl, strew Trisanet on them, and also pour the sauce over them. Take Spickwasser (most likely lavender water) and rosewater, pour it into the bowl, and set it over coals like a Schuesselmus. Let it become hot, but not boil, otherwise the scent of the waters and spices goes away. Also (add) cinnamon bark and pass through the raisins and then serve it covered at the table.

I apologise for missing two days, I caught one of the respiratory viruses going around and am still not quite recovered. But to celebrate my nose clearing up, here are two scented sauces. Like the earlier plum sauce, they are brought to the table warm in a covered dish and opened on serving with a flourish to give the recipient the full benefit of their odour. To get the timing right – soon enough for the sauce to be properly heated, not too long so the scent does not dissipate – must have been a challenge for the cook. Again, the scent is produced with spices – cinnamon and the ubiquitous Trisanet mix – and distilled waters, in this case rosewater and lavender water. There is no mention of grating the orange peel in recipe #21, something that most modern cooks would likely do. This may simply not have occured to the author, or the state oranges, still a relative novelty and luxury, arrived north of the Alps made it impractical. Citrus fruit can be stored for a very long time and still be juiced, but the skin tends to dry out fairly quickly.

The short Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch was first printed in Augsburg in 1559 and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1560 and subsequently. Despite its brevity, it is interesting especially as it contains many recipes for küchlein, baked or deep-fried confections, that apparently played a significant role in displaying status. We do not know who the famous cook referenced in the title may have been or if he ever existed.

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