Another Mustard Recipe

Meister Hans has yet another recipe for a mustard, one that keeps:

Recipe #170 Aber ain seniff ze machen

White mustard, courtesy of wikimedia commons

Again how to make a mustard

Item if you would make a mustard, take wine and honey boiled well together and skimmed nicely. And while it boils, you should stir it strongly. Afterwards, put it into a pot while it is hot and add the mustard flour until it is so thick that the spoon will stand in it. Then cover it with a crust of bread and close it well, leave it standing overnight on a stove or behind one (uf der helle – in the gap between stove and wall). Then it ferments like a dough. Afterwards, set it in a place where it will neither freeze nor yet stand too hot, and if you would eat of it, take it out with a spoon and stir it with wine.

The recipe itself is not really complex – mix wine and honey, stir in ground mustardseed. We even get a reasonable idea of proportions, though how much honey goes into the wine (or wine into the honey?) remains unanswered. The resulting thick mash is stored in a warm place (the gap between the stove and the wall was used for such purposes in many South German homes) until it ferments – whatever this process looks like in practice. Depending on the proportion of honey to wine, I suppose some form of alcoholic fermentation would be possible. Afterwards, it can be kept for later use and diluted in wine.

This recipe seems to have some things in common with the more frequently attested cinnamon honey mustard which is also meant for long-term storage. It may be a more plebeian version, or the unrecorded proportions may have varied so much the result would be very different. Certainly it is an interesting thing to note and though I do not have time to play with it properly right now, I will keep it in mind.

One of the most extensive and interesting medieval recipe collections in German is a manuscript dated 1460 and ascribed to one Meister Hans, cook at the Wurttemberg court. It was often treated as a solitary, the work of a single cook, but there are too many parallels with contemporary manuscripts from Southern Germany to make this plausible. The recipes are an eclectic mix, many terse and simple, others detailed and sprinkled with anecdotes. The entire text was newly edited and extensively commented for Tupperware Deutschland by Trude Ehlert: Maister Hansen des von Wirtenberg Koch, Frankfurt (Main) 1996.

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