Two Trisanet Recipes

The Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch frequently instructs us to season dishes with a spice mixture called Trisanet. Towards the end of the book, we find two recipes for it:

Nuremberg spice merchant, fifteenth century, courtesy of wikimedia commons

78 A Trisanet

Take half a pound of sugar, one Lot ginger, one cinnamon, one quintelin mace, one quintlein galingale, pound it small with the ginger and the cinnamon bark.

79 Another Good Trisanet

Take two pounds of sugar, three Lot of cinnamon, two Lot of ginger, two Lot of galingale, one Lot of mace, one quintlin cardamom, a quintlin peppercorns.

These spice mixtures are interesting, and noticeably milder than the one we got from a fifteenth-century source. The dominant note is sweet, suggesting more than a passing relationship with the Zimtzucker of modern German cuisine. The exact weights are not easy to gauge since just about every town in Germany had slightly different standard measures, but the relations are stable. Assuming, as is likely, that the recipes use trade weights rather than apothecary weight, they are 1 pound = 32 Lot, 1 Lot = 4 quintlein. Using the Nuremberg trade pound, that makes (rounded to the nearest gramme):

Recipe #78: 255 g of sugar, 16 g of cinnamon, 16 g of ginger, 4 g of mace and 4 g of galingale

Recipe #79: 1,019 g of sugar, 48 g of cinnamon, 32 g of ginger, 32 g of galingale, 16 g of mace, 4 g of cardamom and 4 g of pepper

Given how commonly these are referred to in the recipes, it would make sense to keep a jar on hand in the kitchen.

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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