Jelly by (yet) another name

The Mondseer Kochbuch has another recipe for meat in jelly. It is unremarkable except for the name:

123 A gelled broth of calves’ feet and udder

(marginalia: Galentein)

If you want to prepare a good gelled broth for one dish or two of calves’ feet or udder, take ten calves’ feet and an entire cow udder. Boil the udder and cut it into fine slices that are neither too large nor too small. Roast it on a griddle and drizzle it with vinegar and with honey. When these are roasted, distribute them in two serving bowls. When the calves’ feet are boiled, pound them well and pass them through with vinegar and half a courtly serving dish (hof schissel) full of the broth, a viertail (quarter) of vinegar and half a fierttal kanel (quarter of a kanne) of honey. Pass it through with that and throw in a lot of whole cloves and very finely pounded ginger and as much ground pepper as you can hold with three fingers, a little saffron, and a very small amount of salt. Raise it over the fire and let it boil up like an egg sauce, and pour it over the udder. This is called kalendin and Galentin.

I have written elsewhere about the difficulties we have interpreting words like galrey and sulz, and that though they could clearly mean a jelly, they did not always do so. Here, the recipe describes a jelly, though it is not quite evident how clear it would be given the amount of meat particles likely to pass into it. Calves’ feet would produce a large amount of gelatin, causing the broth to solidify when cool. Poured over pieces of cooked meat, this will make a dish very like later Sülze.

Aside from the question of opacity, we should take note of the comparison: The sauce is meant to boil up “like an egg sauce” which suggests it is viewed as similar to something like the egg sauce galdrein in recipe #127 which is clearly not a jelly. We may see these as entirely different classes of dish, but it seems people at the time did not. How and to what extent a sauce solidified was a matter of degree, not kind.

Finally, and most notably, though: This recipe is called neither a sulz nor a galrey. Instead, it uses a French loan word. Galentin or galentein is a cognate of galantine, the word used in contemporary French (and English) for these jellied dishes. The word, like many others, did not survive in the German tradition which only admits large amounts of foreign designations for dishes after the turn of the seventeenth century.

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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