The cookery of the late Middle Ages has been unjustly neglected. Numerous sources exist showing what food was customarily eaten across Europe by the aristocracy of the time, but it is only recently that scholarly research has extracted a number of recipes from the manuscript sources and made them generally available. The 7000 or so recipes which survive indicate how rich and varied a choice of dish the wealthy gastronome could enjoy. This study examines both the theory and practice of medieval cooking, demonstrating their complex interdependence. The master cook who laboured in the kitchens of the 14th and 15th centuries was a culinary savant. During his apprenticeship under other masters, he learnt a wide range of culinary skills, allowing him to use the standard facilities - the open fire, the mortar and the bolting-cloth - to their best advantage; he would have gathered a large repertoire of preparations for all occasions, in order to accomodate the seasonal scarcity of certain foods and the lean-day strictures of the Church. He also possessed a wealth of knowledge of the theoretical aspect of medieval cookery: he needed to understand thoroughly the inherent qualities of all the foodstuffs he handled, as determined by learned medical treatises, and to ensure that he never imperilled the health of his master's household by an unsuitable choice or combination of ingredients. With a very few exceptions, these ingredients are much the same as those in favour today.
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Terence Scully is Professor of French at Wilfred Laurier University, Ontario.
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Book Description Univ of Rochester Pr. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0851156118 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.2048674