Dried Breadcrumb Supplies

Apologies for missing out on so much. Work continues to eat much of my time, and now there is the added prospect of a nationwide rail strike adding to tomorrow’s commute. Today’s recipe is from the Mondseer Kochbuch again, and very short:

138 To prepare a dry material (materi) that you keep to make it into spicy sauces (condiment)

A spicy sauce. Dry white bread and rub it through a sieve. Keep this in a leather bag so that it does not get wet. When you wish to eat, put this in wine and stir in fat, eggs, pepper, or whatever you have enough of.

There is, again, a very close parallel in Meister Hans:

#78 A dish of white bread

Item dry white bread and grate it through a sieve. Keep that in a leather bag so that it does not become wet. When you wish to eat it, lay it (out) and add to it fat, eggs, pepper or whatever you can get much of.

I suspect the Meister Hans manuscript has the intent of the recipe better. This is not about sauces, but about all kinds of foods. Laying in a supply of white breadcrumbs, and potentially even carrying it on journeys, made sense in an environment where this kind of bread was an important ingredient in upper-class cuisine, but not universally available. And you can basically make anything with it – there are a host of recipes from soups and porridges to pancakes and mortar cakes that use grated bread. Eggs, meat, and dairy would be easier to source. As an aside, using a leather bag to keep the breadcrumbs dry makes the whole thing ring true.

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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