Bohemian and Hungarian Sauce Recipes

The Staatsbibliothek in Munich holds a manuscript dating to the second half of the fifteenth century that includes, among a number of astrological and medical texts, a set of four sauce recipes it refers to as Bohemian and Hungarian. The recipes themselves are written in a South German dialect and it is not quite clear what makes them either Bohemian or Hungarian and which is which. Nonetheless, they are among our earliest writen records of Central East European cuisine and thus of interest.

Dining scene from the Bible of King Wenceslas (c. 1390-1400) courtesy of wikimedia commons

I started a translation quite a while ago and now finally took the time to complete and check it. Thus, I can now make it available for download on my site. The recipes from Cgm 349 include

  • a blood-based sauce for carp
  • a ginger sauce for roast capon
  • a clove sauce for carp or pike
  • a blood-based pepper sauce for venison.

Other than the evident taste for high quality fish, I cannot say what the geographic character of these dishes might be. They would not really be out of place in a German cookbook of the time. There may be nothing more than a general association of Hungary and Bohemia with regal splendour and luxury. Both realms had wealthy and powerful dynasties, and the Luxemburg dynasty that ruled Bohemia held the imperial crown from 1346 to 1437, holding court in Prague.

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