Soups from the Tegernsee List

The Tegernsee list provides instructions for stores to be issued for soups, and it does so twice, in headings 3 and 11. I do not know why.

Tegernsee monastery, 1560 print courtesy of wikimedia commons

3 This much is brought to the kitchen for 40 persons

For almond soup: 3 lbs of almonds, 1 lb umbaden or a semel loaf to lay it in.

For fig soup 3 lbs of figs, 4 Maß of wine, 2 semel loaves, 2 (pieces of?) bread, toasted, 1 drink of (read trinken for trucken) honey, spices and saffron.

For hemp soup: 6 lbs of hemp, 3 Maß of wine, 1 semel loaf, apples pounded into it, vinegar, a little yellow colouring (gilbt)

Leafy green (kraut) soup: 2 lbs of hemp, spices and yellow colouring, one toasted slice of bread (pavesen).

Root vegetable soup (ruebensuppen): one toasted slice (pavesen) of bread laid into the bowl, and the roots poured over it with the soup, a little yellow colouring and spices.

With pea and chickpea (or lentil) soup (zizersuppen) nothing but spices and yellow colouring, toasted bread laid in (the bowl)

haubetsuppen: Make a slice of bread (pavesen), cut it this way and that so it nonetheless holds together, toast it, pour pea soup on it (serve) one small pot (häfl) ziseindel sauce on the slice of bread, one Maß of wine for the sauce.

Crawfish soup: 3 Maß of wine, 2 semel loaves, 2 (pieces of) bread toasted, spices and yellow colouring, and cubed bread put into it.

For fish soup: 3 Maß of wine, 1 semel loaf, spices and yellow colouring.

For a yellow, sharply seasoned soup over the fish, 7 Maß of wine, 1 spoonful of ginger, 1 spoonful of pepper, if you wish to have it better, grate gingerbread (leczelten) into it.

Thick spicy sauce (galrätl) for fish: 3 Maß of wine, 4 semel loaves, 4 (pieces of) bread, spices, a drink of (?) honey.

Jellied fish (sulzvisch): For gobies (koppen), 9 Maß of gobies, 7 Maß of wine, 2 spoonfuls of saffron, 2 spoonfuls of ginger, an equal quantity of pepper, grated onion, add gingerbread (leczelten).

For other fish, 20 Maß of wine, 2 spoonfuls of saffron, an equal quantity of ginger, 3 spoonfuls of pepper, 1 spoonful of cinnamon, equally as much nutmeg and cloves, 1 lb of raisins poured over it, and six almonds, liver, and sausage on it. In summer, take 8 Loth of isinglass so they gel, or the toasted bones of pike, powdered and laid into the galantine, or dried bean flowers powdered and tied in a nice cloth and laid into it, the size of an egg. This is particularly good.

For a green galantine (gruener sulsen) 1 Maß of wine, 12 eggs, vinegar, and pepper.

And again:

11 For 40 persons, you send the below-listed things to the kitchen

For almond soup, you send 2 small heaped bowls (näpfel) and one level bowl of almonds, 1 lb umedümb (?) or a semel loaf to mix in, toasted bread in cubes is put in.

Fig soup: 3 or more lbs of figs, 4 Maß of wine, 2 semel loaves and 2 (pieces of) bread, toasted are put in and spices, 1 drink of honey.

Crawfish soup: 3 Maß of wine, 2 semel loaves, 2 (pieces of) bread, and spices and bread are put in.

Hemp soup: 6 bowls (schüssel) of hemp, 3 Maß of wine, one semel loaf, apples pounded into it, vinegar and spices.

Potherb soup (krautsuppen): You take hemp soup and cut 3 pavesen (broad slices) from one (piece of) bread lengthwise and toast the same to go into it, and spices.

Root soup (ruebensuppen): 3 pavesen from one (piece of) bread and they are toasted, and the soup with the root vegetables poured on them and spiced.

Onion soup: 22 (pieces of) bread cut as though for a fat soup (smalzsuppen), you serve a little spice (and?) ginger on it.

Pea or chickpea (or lentil?) soup: 6 (pieces of) bread cut into small slices (snitlen) and toasted, 3 or 4 in the bowl for each, and spiced

haubete (?) soup: 2 or 3 pavesen cut from a (piece of) bread and those same pavesen cut this way and that, or torn, so that they still remain whole, spiced and coloured yellow, and pea soup poured on it and then a small heap of fruit sauce (zisendel) on the pavesen.

Fish soup: For fish soup, 3 Maß of wine, 1 semel loaf, and spices.

Item for a spice yellow sauce (süpplen) for fish, take 5, 6, or 7 Maß of wine and spices. If you wish to make it good for holy seasons or for other reasons, you add good large porzen kuechen (?) gingerbread loaves (leczelten) to it.

Item for jellied gobies: 6 or 7 Maß of wine and 7, 8 or 9 Maß of gobies, depending how much there is, and about two spoonfuls of saffron, two of ginger, 2 spoonfuls of pepper, about 60 onions, and gingerbread (leczelten) grated into it as properly needed.

For jellied fish, 18 or 20 Maß of wine, 2 spoonfuls of saffron, 2 spoonfuls of ginger, 3 spoonfuls of pepper, 1 spoonful of cinnamon (zymkör), 1 spoonful of nutmeg, 1 spoonful of cloves or more, six almonds in it for each person, a good pound of raisins, livers and sausages distributed on it. In summer, you add isinglass so the jellied fish gel more readily, or powdered bean flowers, tie those in a fine cloth the size of an egg, that is especially good.

This is almost the same text, but not quite. We can imagine it being written down again as a copy for use in a different location and bound together later, or maybe to reaffirm instructions, but we do not really know the context. Both versions allow us some interesting glimpses of how a large, wealthy kitchen was run.

What I find interesting is the way weight and volume measures are used interchangeably. This becomes even more pronounced in other sections, but is already evident here as 3 pounds of almonds equal two heaped and one level näpfel. Also, there are quantities of spices given for the jellied fish, though we cannot reconstruct how big a spoon the author is referring to. An interesting aside is no less than three nostrums for ensuring the aspic would gel even in summer – isinglass, fish bones, and ground bean flower, all of which we know from other sources.

The list of soups is impressively varied and shockingly rich. There are none involving meat, of course, because Tegernsee was a Benedictine house whose members were forbidden the meat of four-footed animals. Nonetheless, this is not a deprived cuisine. Wine, dried fruit, spices, fine white bread, fish, honey, and gingerbread all display the wealth of what was one of Bavaria’s oldest abbeys. By 1500, the dead hand of Tegernsee held centuries’ worth of pious bequests and it shows.

Note that again, none of these ingredient list are complete. They only list what should be issued from stores, not whatever the kitchen had on hand or bought in fresh. But the relations of quantities andf ingredients give us an idea of the finished product and remind us that soups were not necessarily simple affairs. A hemp soup calling for bread, fruit, and spices is clearly more complex than simply boiling hempseed for their milk.

The haubete suppen is interesting because the dish seems to depend on the way the bread is cut. This is again something we have evidence for from a number of sources. Cutting breadrolls or pieces of bread into interesting patterns and serving them in soup see,ms to have been an expected skill in a cook, and the description is cursory enough to suggest people simply knew what this should look like.

The recipe collection from the monastery at Tegernsee (Bavaria) is an unusual source. It seems to have been produced to serve very specific practical purposes in the administration of that particular monastery, giving quantities for dishes and instructing the reader on which days what is to be served. A calendar and a short treatise on fishes are written in the same manuscript, the whole produced around 1500 and in use until at least 1534. The text was partially edited by Anton Birlinger in Germania 9/1864 ( pp. 192-207) who regarded it as a resource for linguistic study. I am relying on his edition for this translation.

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