Another Parallel for Gespott in May

The recipe is also in the Innsbruck MS:

The Month of May, 16th c. Flemish Book of Hours courtesy of wikimedia commons

76 If you would make a gespot in May, take a flowing cheese and slice it into a courtly serving dish (hoff schüssel) (in pieces) larger than a finger. Break eggs into it, stir it well, and fry it in May butter etc.

We have come across this recipe more than once before, and compared to the recipes found in Meister Eberhard and both sections of Cod Pal Germ 551, this one is short. The instructions given there are more detailed and Cod Pal Germ 551 II specifies a stirring technique that unfortunately is hard to interpret:

35 A dish in May

If you would make a dish in May that is called a gespot (mockery?), take flowing cheese onto a serving dish and cut it into thin slices. Take six eggs with that and break them over the cheese. Also take May butter into a pan. Put the cheese with the eggs over a fire and draw it under the middle (zeuch es unter miten – I suspect a pushing motion from the sides to the centre of the pan) until it is smooth. Serve it, and do not oversalt it.

Above all, this is yet another of the dishes assocviated with the month of May that I spoke about at the culinary symposium of the Instytut Polski this April. It combines the culinary delights of the season – fresh cheese, eggs, and unpreserved May butter. I am not entirely sure how to interpret the intendecd outcome, but it may be meant as a kind of cheesy omelet, stirred until it is smooth and just barely cooked. I do not think the pieces of ‘flowing’ (i.e. fresh, not aged) cheese are meant to stay intact. As to why it is called a gespot or gespott, I have no idea. The word can mean a mockery, but that need not be the origin of the name. Regardless, it could be quite attractive.

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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