The Forme of Cury
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''The Forme of Cury'' (''The Method of Cooking'', from
Middle French Middle French (french: moyen français) is a historical division of the French language French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured ...
: 'to cook') is an extensive 14th-century collection of medieval English recipes. Although the original manuscript is lost, the text appears in nine manuscripts, the most famous in the form of a
scroll '', Vatican Library The Vatican Apostolic Library ( la, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, it, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat, is the library A library is a curated co ...

scroll
with a headnote citing it as the work of "the chief Master Cooks of
King Richard II
King Richard II
". The name ''The Forme of Cury'' is generally used for the family of recipes rather than any single manuscript text. It is among the oldest extant English cookery books, and the earliest known to mention
olive oil Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olive The olive, known by the botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and ...

olive oil
,
gourd Gourds include the fruits of some flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), orders, 416 Family (biology), families, ...

gourd
s, and spices such as
mace Mace may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Mace (G.I. Joe), a fictional character in the G.I. Joe universe * Mace, a fictional character in the 1995 film ''Strange Days (film), Strange Days'' * Mace, a fictional character in the 2007 film ''Sunsh ...
and
cloves Cloves are the aromatic flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproduction, reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of ...
.


Context

The collection was named ''The Forme of Cury'' by
Samuel Pegge
Samuel Pegge
, who published an edition of one of the manuscripts in 1780 for the curator of the
British Museum The British Museum is a public institution dedicated to human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of hu ...

British Museum
,
Gustavus Brander Gustavus Brander Fellow of the Royal Society of London, FRS (172021 January 1787), England, English naturalist, who came of a Sweden, Swedish family, was born in London in 1720, and was brought up as a merchant, in which capacity he achieved succe ...

Gustavus Brander
. It is one of the best-known
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
guides to cooking. ''The Forme of Cury'' may have been written partly to compete with ''
Le Viandier ''Le Viandier'' (often called ''Le Viandier de Taillevent'', ) is a recipe collection generally credited to Guillaume Tirel, alias ''Taillevent''. However, the earliest version of the work was written around 1300, about 10 years before Tirel's bir ...
of Taillevent'', a French cookbook created at about the same time. This supports the idea that banquets were a symbol of power and prestige for medieval lords and kings.


Approach

In the preamble, the authors explain that the recipes are meant to teach a cook how to make common dishes and unusual or extravagant banquet dishes. They also note that the recipes were written with the advice of the best experts in medicine and philosophy. ''The Forme of Cury'' is the first known English cookery book to mention some ingredients such as
cloves Cloves are the aromatic flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproduction, reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of ...
,
olive oil Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olive The olive, known by the botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and ...

olive oil
,
mace Mace may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Mace (G.I. Joe), a fictional character in the G.I. Joe universe * Mace, a fictional character in the 1995 film ''Strange Days (film), Strange Days'' * Mace, a fictional character in the 2007 film ''Sunsh ...
and
gourd Gourds include the fruits of some flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), orders, 416 Family (biology), families, ...

gourd
s. Many recipes contain what were then rare and valuable spices, such as
nutmeg Nutmeg is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was release ...

nutmeg
,
ginger Ginger (''Zingiber officinale'') is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anythi ...

ginger
,
pepper Pepper or peppers may refer to: Food and spice * Piperaceae or the pepper family, a large family of flowering plant ** Black pepper * ''Capsicum'' or pepper, a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae ** Bell pepper ** Chili p ...

pepper
,
cinnamon Cinnamon is a spice SPICE ("Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis")Nagel, L. W, and Pederson, D. O., ''SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis)'', Memorandum No. ERL-M382, University of California, Berkeley ...

cinnamon
, and
cardamom Cardamom (), sometimes cardamon or cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genus (biology), genera ''Elettaria'' and ''Amomum'' in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to the Indian subcontinent and Indones ...

cardamom
. In addition to imparting flavour, many of the spices called for were included specifically to impart rich colouring to the finished dishes for the purpose of, as Pegge says, "gratifying the sight". There is a particular emphasis on yellows, reds, and greens, but
gilding Gilding is a decorative technique for applying a very thin coating of to solid surfaces such as metal (most common), wood, , or stone. A gilded object is also described as "gilt". Where metal is gilded, the metal below was traditionally in th ...
and silvering were also used in several of the recipes. Yellow was achieved with
saffron Saffron () is a spice derived from the flower of ''Crocus sativus ''Crocus sativus'', commonly known as saffron crocus, or autumn crocus, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classificat ...

saffron
or egg yolk, red with "sanders" (
sandalwood Sandalwood is a class of woods from trees in the genus ''Santalum''. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and, unlike many other aromatic woods, they retain their fragrance for decades. Sandalwood oil is extracted from the woods for us ...
) or , and green often with minced parsley. There are recipes for preparing many types of animal meat, including
whale Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully s. They are an informal grouping within the infraorder , which usually excludes s and s. Whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to the order , which consists of s. Their closest n ...

whale
, ,
curlew The curlews () are a group of nine species of bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * ...

curlew
,
heron The herons are long-legged, long-necked, freshwater and coastal bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a ...

heron
,
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquati ...
and
porpoise Porpoises are a group of fully aquatic marine mammals, similar in appearance to a dolphin Dolphin is the common name of aquatic mammals within the infraorder Cetacea. The term dolphin usually refers to the extant families Delphinidae (the ...

porpoise
. There are about ten vegetable recipes, including one for a
vinaigrette Vinaigrette ( ) is made by mixing an oil with something acidic such as vinegar Vinegar is an aqueous solution An aqueous solution is a solution Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, Making a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table ...

vinaigrette
salad, which indicates influence from Portugal and Spain, as French cooks rarely used vegetables at that time. There are also several
pasta Pasta (, ; ) is a type of food typically made from an unleavened dough of wheat flour mixed with water or eggs, and formed into sheets or other shapes, then cooked by boiling or baking. Rice flour, or legumes such as beans or lentils, are som ...

pasta
dishes, evidence of Italian influence. Some recipes in ''The Forme of Cury'' appear to have been influenced by the ''
Liber de Coquina The ''Liber de Coquina'' ("The book of cooking/cookery") is one of the oldest medieval cookbooks. Two codices survive from the beginning of the 14th century. Both are preserved at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France. Description The text ...
,'' which had contributions from Arabic cuisine. For example, the recipe for (see illustration) corresponds to the Arabic (a rich semolina pudding). The confectionery-like confirms the connection with Sicily (which had been Arab, Catalan and Norman), as it uses the Arab technique of cooking in soft ball syrup.


Sample recipe

The following is a recipe from the modern critical edition: : In modern English: :Sauce Madame. Take ,
parsley Parsley, or garden parsley (''Petroselinum crispum'') is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae that is native to the central and eastern Mediterranean region (Lebanon, Sardinia, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, southern Italy, Gre ...

parsley
,
hyssop ''Hyssopus officinalis'' or hyssop is a in the or mint family native to Southern , the , and the region surrounding the . Due to its purported properties as an , , and , it has been used in . Description Hyssop is a brightly coloured shrub o ...

hyssop
and
savory Savory or Savoury may refer to: Common usage * Herbs of the genus ''Satureja'', particularly: ** Summer savory (''Satureja hortensis''), an annual herb, used to flavor food ** Winter savory (''Satureja montana''), a perennial herb, also used to ...
, quinces and pears, garlic and grapes, and stuff the goose, geese with them, and sew the hole so that no dripping comes out, and roast them well and keep the dripping that falls from them. Take the gelatin and dripping and place in a cooking-pot. When the geese are roasted enough, take them off and chop them in pieces, and take what is within and put it in a cooking-pot and put in wine if it is too thick. Add to it powder of galangal, powder-douce and salt, and boil the sauce and dress the geese in dishes and lay the sauce on.


Modern recreations

The Café at the Rylands, in Manchester's John Rylands Library where the manuscript is kept, cooked ''Tart in Ymber Day'', ''Compast'', ''Payn Puff'', ''Frumenty'' and ''gingerbread, Gingerbrede'', accompanied by Piment (spiced wine), for invited guests in 2009.


See also

* Apicius – a collection of Roman cookery recipes * ''
Liber de Coquina The ''Liber de Coquina'' ("The book of cooking/cookery") is one of the oldest medieval cookbooks. Two codices survive from the beginning of the 14th century. Both are preserved at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France. Description The text ...
'' – 14th-century cookbook of Italian and French origin * ''Utilis Coquinario'' – another Middle English cookbook * ''
Le Viandier ''Le Viandier'' (often called ''Le Viandier de Taillevent'', ) is a recipe collection generally credited to Guillaume Tirel, alias ''Taillevent''. However, the earliest version of the work was written around 1300, about 10 years before Tirel's bir ...
'' – 14th-century French cookbook


Notes


References


Bibliography

* (modern critical edition) *


External links


British Library, Add. MS 5016
a 15th-century copy of ''The Forme of Cury'' in
scroll '', Vatican Library The Vatican Apostolic Library ( la, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, it, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat, is the library A library is a curated co ...

scroll
format.
John Rylands Library, English MS 7


*, an 18th-century edition
page images


at the Foods of England project

{{DEFAULTSORT:Forme Of Cury, The Medieval cookbooks Middle English literature History of English cuisine