Journal of the Early Book Society

Review of Medieval Food and Drink

The proceedings of the 1994 Acta conference, this volume includes nine essays dealing with aspects of the theory and practice of medieval cookery and of the social, historical and literary significance of food in the Middle Ages. In "Mixing It Up in the Medieval Kitchen," Terence Scully analyzes the way that the theory of humours underpinned the concern of cooks to combine ingredients in accordance with the medical science of the time. Marianne Hansen, in her essay "'And Thus You Have a Lordly Dish': Fancy and Showpiece Cookery in an Augsburg Patrician Kitchen," makes the first English translation of some showpiece recipes from the manuscript written in 1553 by Sabina Welser of Augsburg. Medieval French hunting treatises are the subject of an essay by Nadine Bordessoule, titled "'De Poil ou de plumes': The Taste of Game in Medieval French Treatises of Hunting," in which she considers the gastronomic and social ways in which game was regarded. Barbara Evans, in "Cretoyne, Cretonnee: Two Versions of a Fourteenth-Century Court Recipe," compares French and English recipes. The Tuscan work of Martino, the still unedited source of Platina's more famous Latin text, is the subject of the essay, "Martino and His De re coquinaria," by Mary Ella Milham. In "The Progeny of Apicius: Antiquarian Responses to Historical Cookery," George R. Keiser analyzes the impact of an eighteenth-century edition of Apicius on the study of historical cookery in England, while another literary essay, "Food for Thought: The Banquet of Poetry in Dante and Charles of Orleans," by Diane R. Marks, explores the paradoxes of banqueting metaphors in the "outsider" poetry of Dante and Charles d'Orleans. Other essays include "Eating and Drinking in the Bayeux Tapestry," by Rouben Cholakian, and "Apples Beyond the Pale: The Irish Costermonger in the English Garden of Eden," in which Jonathan Gil Harris explains the derogatory association of apples with the Irish in Tudor England. Perhaps the greatest value of this interesting collection is the wide range of perspectives it opens on comparative aspects of late medieval studies.

Evelyn Mullally,
Queen's University of Belfast

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Rev 6/98