Nut Porridge from the Innsbruck MS

Just a brief recipe today, from the current translation project:

16 If you would make a puree of nuts, let the nuts boil in a pan until their skins come off. Then pound them and pass them through with semel bread that is toasted (pawt). Season it and add fat, and do not oversalt it. If you wish, add eggs and make it the thickness of a bread porrtidge (semel müez) etc.

This is an interesting recipe, but not a particularly adventurous one I think. Basically, nuts (the unqualified word most likely means walnuts) are laboriously blanched, then mashed and turned into a bread porridge with some unidentified cooking liquid. A recipe in Meister Eberhard that is similar, though not identical, uses milk:

To make a good mus

Take nut kernels (nuß kernn) and pound them small and pass them through a cloth with sweet milk. Add crumbs of sweet fine white bread (semell) crumb that has been well boiled, add enough fat and stir in egg yolks. Spice it well and do not oversalt it.

I feel a nagging uncertainty about whether today’s recipe might refer to unripe nutsa, but it seems unlikely both from context – it is accompanied by almond recipes that clearly are for ripe kernels – and for culinary reasons. Unless they are thoroughly leached, unripe walnuts are very bitter.

The Innsbrucker Rezeptbuch is a manuscript recipe collection from a South German/Austrian context. It dates to the mid-fifteenth century and survives as part of a set of medical and culinary texts bound together. The editor Doris Aichholzer published it together with two related manuscripts and drew attention to the less elaborate, more practical recipes. The manuscript is of unknown provenance, but has been owned by the Habsburg emperors since at least the early sixteenth century. It is now held at the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna. An edition, German translation and commentary can be found in Doris Aichholzer: Wildu machen ayn guet essen… Drei mittelhochdeutsche Kochbücher, Peter Lang Verlag Berne et al. 1999

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