Another Instant Sauce

There is a parallel to the recipe for instant sauce from Meister Hans in the Mondseer Kochbuch:

140 A dry sauce

A different sauce. Take sage, mint, pennyroyal, parsley, young and old sorrel (seeds?) that are small. Wash the herbs nicely and dry them in the sun. Take with that pepper, galingale, ginger, cinnamon (cmoney), anise, cardamom, cubebs, cloves, ground nutmeg, grains of paradise, and a little cheese. This makes the sauce pretty. And dried white bread. Make a powder of all of this. When you wish to eat it, temper it with wine or with vinegar. You can keep this as long as you wish, and it is called dry sauce.

This is, again, clearly the same recipe despite a few differences. Meister Hans has:

A green sauce, make it thus and keep it

Item take sage and onions, parsley and sorrel old and young. Pick the herbs and wash them and dry them in the sun. Take with that pepper, galingale, ginger, cinnamon, anise, coriander, cubebs, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, and a little artickel (unknown), that makes the sage nice. And take dried white bread and make a powder of all of this. When you wish to eat it, temper it with wine or with vinegar. And keep (store) this as long as you please.

There are some points in whichg the sauces differ. Most saliently, the version in Meister Hans has onions as a primary ingredient while that from the Mondseer Kochbuch has mint and pennyroyal in addition to sage, parsley, and sorrel. I cannot see how this is anything other than intentional. There is also nutmeg rather than mace in the list of spices, but that is a matter of omitting or adding a single short word in German, so it can easily happen in transmission. Finally, the mystery word artickel is replaced by kes which what is clearly, but bafflingly cheese. I suppose a hard cheese like Schabziger or Pecorino could serve in this capacity. It might well make the final sauce a little more like a pesto. It could be worth trying out.

Again, this contrast does not help us answer the chicken and egg problem. Neither the recipe in Meister Hans nor that in the Mondseer Kochbuch look like they are corrupted copies of the other. Both make sense on their own terms. I still think there is a shared source somewhere in the early 1400s.

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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