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How To Cook a Golden Peacock
Enseingnemenz Qui Enseingnent à Apareillier Toutes Manières de Viandes
A Little Known Cookbook from Medieval France
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The How to Cook a Peacock Series now includes three books:
How to Cook an Early French Peacock, a translation from the Latin of Anthimus' De Observatione Ciborum, a sixth century dietetic written in a letter to a Frankish king,
How to Cook a Peacock, Jim Chevallier's translation of Taillevent's fourteenth century Le Viandier:
and now How to Cook a Golden Peacock, a translation of the lesser-known medieval cookbook Enseingnemenz Qui Enseingnent à Apareillier Toutes Manières de Viandes:
About the Enseignements
"The Enseingnemenz Qui Enseingnent à Apareillier Toutes Manières de Viandes (Enseignements qui Apprennent à Préparer Toutes Sortes de Viandes; “Teachings Which Teach How to Prepare All Types of Foods”) was a latecomer in food history, one of a handful of medieval cookbooks to be discovered after Taillevent's Viandier had long been considered the first French cookbook...
Like several other of the previously unknown documents, this one was already in a library's collection but unknown to the world until a researcher discovered it; in this case, Louis Douet D'Arcq, an archivist at what was then the Imperial Library and is today the French National Library. The volume in which he found it had belonged to Philip the Fair's celebrated surgeon Henri de Mondeville and includes his treatise on surgery, as well as other works on both medical matters and food. This pairing was not at all unusual for the time; the two subjects were intimately linked and de Mondeville's own work includes very specific instructions about what patients should eat (often, it should be said, NOT the kind of food described in the current work).
....the Enseignements is very valuable in its own right. If it is far less organized than its more famous successors and includes far fewer recipes, the ways in which it both resembles and differs from these works is revealing and allows us to trace at least a tentative outline of how French cuisine developed from the start to the end of the fourteenth century – the century in which, if French cuisine was not actually invented (it had been developing for some time), it first became widely influential beyond the kitchens of noble households."
The unknown author
"Unlike the Viandier, which bore its (supposed) author's name from the start and the Menagier de Paris (whose author has been tentatively identified), this work is anonymous and is very likely to remain so.
Can we make any guesses about the author's identity? The text itself is said to contain some Norman words and de Mondeville himself was Norman; but it is very unlikely that a prominent surgeon would have written the text himself. It may be that the text was copied from an earlier document and so whoever copied it may be responsible for errors or changes in the document.
Otherwise, a few things can be deduced about the author, almost certainly a professional cook (and so very likely male). He writes at the end of serving a master and would himself have been attached to a household (at least in the past); probably a household of some importance for his notes to have been thought worthy of preserving (certainly a rich one, to judge by the spices used). If he wrote all this down at the start of the fourteenth century (or perhaps earlier, if someone else transcribed his document), the cuisine he is describing would have been from (at latest) the end of the thirteenth..."
The Enseignements compared to the Viandier and the Menagier de Paris
"Whether he wrote it or assembled it from previous kitchen notes, Taillevent's Viandier remains the most well known and influential of French medieval cookbooks; the recipes in the Menagier de Paris were almost as influential. Since these also appeared towards the end of the fourteenth century, it is doubly useful to compare this work with these later ones; first, because so many ideas of medieval cuisine have been formed by the later works and secondly because differences between those two and this one to some degree reflect differences in sophisticated French cooking between the early and later part of the century.
The most obvious differences are structural. Not only is the Enseignements a much briefer work, it is less organized than the Viandier (which itself is often summary to a fault) and certainly than the Menagier. While it is clear that it does not contain anything like the hundred or more recipes in most versions of the Viandier, it is difficult to say exactly how many recipes it does contain, since some dishes are referenced in such cursory fashion.
One structural element is an artifact of this brevity. Taillevent and the Menagier describe sauces in separate sections. In the Enseignements, these are described "in line"; that is, as part of the same recipes in which they are first used. It takes some analysis to see that the document includes recipes for the following named sauces: green; parsley and spices in vinegar; garlic; cameline; and white garlic sauce. A number of other combinations are described without being given a specific name..."
Interested in medieval and other early French food?
Table of Contents
Few modern cooks will find it convenient to use a piglet for the original recipe here. But the stuffing, with cheese, eggs, chestnuts and pears flavored with spices and sugar. has, at the least, possibilities. Having made the stuffing, you might roll it in a veal scallop or slice of pork shoulder.
Teachings Which Teach How to Prepare All Types of Food
These are the teachings which teach how to prepare all types of food. First, all types of meats and the sauces which go with them, such as pork, veal, mutton, beef, and after other less large meats, like kid, lamb and piglet, and after all types of bird, such as capons, hens, geese, domestic and wild ducks, and after all sorts of wild birds, such as cranes, wild geese, herons, scoter ducks, colandes, noncelles, puffins, partridge, turtledoves, wild hens, plovers and all the sauces that go with them. And after, civets and purées of hares and rabbits, and civets and brewets of everything, and the pottages one can make of them. And after, salt and fresh water fish and all the sauces that suit them, made in every guise.
Pork, the loin roasted, in winter, and in summer, in green garlic. And who wants it in civet, put it into pieces, then cook onions in lard, and beat together pepper and other spices and burnt bread, and blend in a mortar, then mix in the water in which the pork will be cooked, then set to boil and put in the torn-up pieces and salt, and put all this in bowls and onion on them.
The other parts of fresh pork in summer with green sauce, without garlic, pepper, and ginger and parsley and sage soaked in verjuice or vinegar or pure wine; and if they are salted, mustard. The four feet and the ears and the snout, in a sauce of parsley and spices soaked in vinegar. Pork intestines in a good roast with garlic or verjuice. The spleen in brewet in pieces, with a little water in the pan, and then when it is cooked take out the water and keep it, then take liver and bread and pepper and spices, and pound together without burning the bread, and soak in the water in which it has been cooked, then arrange in the way I have said, and take vinegar and put it with burned bread, well crushed in a mortar.
Fresh beef, with white garlic; salted, with mustard. Lard beef filet well, it is good in pasties....
Veal, roasted; the loin parboiled in water, then larded and roasted; and eat with green garlic, or with pepper. And if you want it shredded, parboil it in water, and then put into pieces in the pan, and then fry the pieces in lard or with fatty bacon, and then put beaten egg over it, and then sprinkle it with pepper. It will be shredded. And if anyone wants it in a pasty, parboil it in water, then lard it, chop it up into pieces, and put them in a pasty.
Fresh mutton, in winter and in summer, must be cooked with sage and with hyssop and with parsley, and eaten with green sa uce; the salted, with mustard. And who wants the ribs roasted, he can eat them with the above sauce.
Meat of a piglet, roasted; but before it is better to scald it and take out the innards, and cook it whole, and then cook eggs, the yolks hard, and chestnuts roasted on the fire, and slices of May cheese, and saint-Rieul or Chailloux pears, cooked on the coals; then hash it all together and sprinkle cinnamon, pepper, and ginger, and other spices, and salt on it; and put it in the piglet's caul, sugar it, and divide it up among the four members. And this dish must be eaten as [with?] a stuffing.
Swans and peacocks
All swans, peacocks: first drain out all the blood through the head, after, split them down the back to the shoulder and gut them, and then put them on skewers with the feet and the heads; then crush up saffron and white bread mixed with wine, and crush up egg yolks and saffron, and dab the birds with these, using a feather, and sprinkle powder over it, which is also of all spices, except zedoary and hartwort. And when the swan or the peacock is cooked, wipe it, wrap it in a towel, and take it so to the table, and give to the lord the neck and the head, and the wings and the thighs, and the rest to the others.
If you want to make galantine of large pike, take pepper and cinnamon and ginger, and crush it all together, and mix with strong vinegar, and cook your fish, and put it in.
Pasties tasting of cheese
If you want to make pasties which taste of cheese, or flans in Lent, take the roe of carp or of a large pike, and bread, then pound it all together, and mix with almond milk. And if you see that it is too white, put in a little saffron. And of this, you can make pasties and flans in Lent; they will have the taste of cheese.
All translations copyright 2012 Jim Chevallier.
Please do not reproduce or post elsewhere without prior permission.