Spicy Garlic Sauce

A quick recipe from the Mondsaeer Kochbuch today, there may be none for the coming days. Work is crazy.

139 To prepare a sauce naturally (natürlich)

If you wish to prepare a natural sauce, take three heads of garlic and more pepper than ginger. Temper this together and let it become brown. That is called a natural sauce. You shall eat it in cold weather.

This is an interesting and potentially quite good recipe if enjoyed in moderation. It makes sense, by contemporary lights, to eat it in cold weather since its intense spices were considered warming. What I cannot quite fathom is why it was called ‘natural’ (natürlich). At the time, this was not the antonym of ‘artificial’, but rather usually referred to the nature of something, its inherent qualities. There may be something missing in transmission.

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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