Sow’s Stomach

Here is another interesting recipe from the Mondseer Kochbuch:

128 To fill sows’ stomachs

How to fill a pig’s stomach. Take pork, chopped eggs, white bread, sliced fat meat, pepper, caraway, saffron and salt. Then temper (tempier) it all together and fill a pig’s stomach with it, but not too full, and boil it when it is raw (seud in grün). When it is cooked, loosen the filling from the stomach entirely, cut it in slices, and chop it well with eggs.

This is obviously related to modern Saumagen of political fame, the dish that Helmut Kohl tested the digestion of visitors of state with, but that is not what makes the recipe interesting. Filling stomachs with food and boiling it was a common technique. The interesting point about this recipe is that we find something very similar in the Meister Hans collection:

Recipe #65 fülle den magen also

Fill the stomach thus

Item take chopped pork, eggs, cut white bread, fat meat, pepper, caraway, saffron and salt and temper it all together. Full the stomach with it not too full and boil it green (raw?). When it is boiled, loosen the filling from the stomach. Cut it into four pieces and chop it with eggs (the pronoun here suggests it is the stomach, not the filling, that gets chopped)

The phrasing is very similar, the intended outcome obviously the same. To all intents and purposes, this is the same recipe, and that matters. The Meister Hans collection is dated explicitly to 1460, but the Mondseer recipe collection is bound with a text dated to 1439. That undercuts the idea that the Meister Hans collection is what it purports to be, the recipe collection of a master cook. It allows for two or three possible conclusions: If Meister Hans is a recipe collection produced by an individual, then the surviving manuscript is a late and possibly corrupted copy. There is, in fact, a cook by the name of Hans recorded in the household of Wurttemberg in the early 1400s. If the collection was produced at that time, would allow for a recipe (in fact, it is more than one) from it to appear in a separate collection in 1439. Conversely, if Meister Hans is a collection produced in the typical German style, by mixing and matching recipes from various sources, then its attribution was faked for an unknown reason. It may have happened in deliberate imitation of the Viandier of Taillevent, a recipe collection ascribed (possibly falsely) to Guillaume Tirel, cook to the king of France. We find another recipe collection ascribed to one Master Eberhard of Landshut at the same time that clearly is no such thing. It is, of course, possible that copying written recipes, possibly in the style of a loose-leaf binder, was how cooks of the time exchanged and recorded recipes and this is one that Meister Hans copied from the manuscript tradition that includes the Mondseer Kochbuch, but I think that is very unlikely.

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

This entry was posted in Uncategorised and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *