Cooking Rice

Time is in very limited supply, but I would like to point out an interesting parallel. This recipe from the Mondseer Kochbuch (and its parallels) provides an illustration of the way rice was prepared:

164 To prepare rice well

Of rice. Wash it nicely with warm water. Place it in a pot and pour on warm water so that it stands one thumb’s depth above the rice. Set it over the fire hot or cold. When it begins to produce scum (faim auf werffen), pour off the broth (i.e. cooking liquid). Set it aside and let it cool. But when you wish to prepare it, pour on almond milk and set it on the coals, and stir it so that it stays whole, When it begins to thicken, whiten it with the milk. If you wish to know whether it is fully cooked, take three grains between the fingers. If they disintegrate like cheese curds (als die ziger) so that nothing hard remains, it is done. Serve it with sugar.

This matches the ingredients and quantities recorded in the Tegernsee list remarkably well:

Rice Mus (Reismueß): For rice, ane large heaped bowl (näpfel) of rice and one level one, that makes six pounds, and of almonds one small heaped bowl (näpfel) and one level one, that makes two pounds of almonds.

Between these two, we can begin to reconstruct an actual recipe. Of course it is still not entirely clear how much almond milk is prepared from two pounds of almonds, but the general proportion makes sense. This is how we get closer to as better understanding of medieval cuisine.

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 the book stating it 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 currently held as Cod 4995.

The collection shows clear parallels with both the Buoch von guoter Spise and the Meister Hans recipe collection. 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

This entry was posted in Uncategorised and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *