Kuchenmaistrey in Print! And Pea Patties

I am glad to tell you today that, at long last, the technical issues have been resolved and it is possible to get a print version of my translation of the Kuchenmaistrey.

The printed book can now be ordered here

To celebrate the occasion, I would like to share the recipes for peas and pea patties in that book:

1.lviii Item a courtly dish of peas. Boil and shell the peas well in water. Drain the broth and keep them for (i.e. to serve with) toasted sops, seasoned with spices so it is barely noticeable (kaum zu brüffen) and coloured yellow. Take the peas into a clean wide bowl (becken) and mash them well with a large spoon. Take them for a dish and put them into a fine colander (pfeffer pfan). Pass them through with your hand into nice serving bowls. Raise the colander high so that the peas come out separately (gezettelt) like earthworms, big and small. Try to keep those whole and not break them, and make them go into the bowl and not hang over (the bowl’s edge) and let them harden (gesteen). Then take and boil good wine with honey to sprinkle over this and strew sugar on it. This tastes good if the peas are not oversalted, therefore try them first before you pour off the broth and colour it yellow.

Item make good patties from the other part of the peas thus. Strew your hands with flour and press the patties together. Make a batter of yellow-coloured wine and dredge the patties in that. Lift them into a pan with a spoon and fry them, as many of them as you wish. Serve good pea broth over them, coloured yellow and seasoned with salt and spices, and serve it. Strew raisins in it and pure butter. Covered in a courtly fashion, this is served to a prince.

1.lix Item again of pea patties that are fried gently and well. (They are) served in a pepper sauce of toasted white bread seasoned with salt in its proper manner. Try this (before you serve it).

1.lx Item if you would skilfully make a pepper sauce of flour, fry (bren, lit: burn) flour in fat. Not too quickly. Temper it with wine, colour it yellow and spice it. Fry pea patties as described above and pour the pepper sauce over them. If you have small boiled raisins, strew them into this and make the pepper sauce for that, be it with wine or with water.

1.lxi Item if you would serve a courtly dish to your guests on a fast day, take care (fleiß dich) with the pea patties with good dried pears nicely peeled and prepared. Lay them into the serving bowl with the pea patties. Take the soaking water of the pears (dz birn wasser) and mix a little honey with it. Make a sauce (ziseündlein) or a pepper sauce, seasoned well in its proper manner, over the patties and the pears. Put pure butter and fresh ginger on them and serve it. If you do not have pears, make roast apples, quartered or dredged in a batter and fried in fat.

Yes, 1.lx is a roux, what Germans call an Einbrenne. It is not the earliest instance either. The story that this was invented in France in the reign of Louis XIV is wrong.

The entire sert of recipes nicely illustrates how a base process – cooking peas – could lead into a variety of dishes, in this case mashed peas with honey sauce and fritters that in turn go with a number of sauces and accompaniments. Especially the final version – buttered pea fritters served in a saffron roux sauce with fried pears or apple slices and raisins – is an attractive and refined dish. Depending on the availability of winter stores of long-lasting fruit, but no fresh meat or herbs, this dish would be well-placed on any wintertime fast day.

The Kuchenmaistrey (mastery of the kitchen) was the earliest printed cookbook in German (and only missed being the earliest printed cookbook in any language by a few years). The book gave rise to a vibrant culture of amended and expanded manuscript copies as well as reprints spanning almost a century. The recipes seem designed to appeal to a wealthy, literate and cosmopolitan clientele.

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