Advice on Seasoning Venison

It’s Halloween, I have to prepare a cooking workshop in two weeks’ time, and I haven’t slept enough; Only a short excerpt from the Mondseer Kochbuch today.

107 Which venison should be seasoned and which should not

Note to which kind of venison you should add spices to the pot, or not. You shall add spices to the pot with all kinds of venison except roast deer and roe deer. With those, you serve it separately in its own bowl. But with hares, squirrels, and birds, with all these you add spices to the pot. Now note: You shall also not add pepper (sauce), spices, or salt to the pot if the venison has been salted before.

This comes under the heading of “good to know”. Just like the occasional references to serving sauces ‘under’ or ‘over’ a given dish, it points to a set of culinary conventions we have at best ca hazy understanding of.

The Mondseer Kochbuch is a recipe collection bound with a set of manuscript texts on grammar, dietetics, wine, and theology. There is a note inside that part of the book was completed in 1439 and, in a different place, that it was gifted to the abbot of the monastery at Mondsee (Austria). It is not certain whether the manuscript already included the recipes at that point, but it is likely. The entire codex was bound in leather in the second half of the fifteenth century, so at this point the recipe collection must have been part of it. The book was held at the monastery until it passed into the Vienna court library, now the national library of Austria, where it is now Cod 4995.

The collection shows clear parallels with the Buoch von guoter Spise. Many of its recipes are complex and call for expensive ingredients, and some give unusually precise quantities and measurements. It is edited in Doris Aichholzer’s “Wildu machen ayn guet essen…” Drei mittelhochdeutsche Kochbücher: Edition, Übersetzung, Quellenkommentar, Peter Lang, Berne et al. 1999

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