[Sca-cooks] Venison, baked or roasted

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Thu Aug 20 05:55:36 PDT 2009

Alex Clark wrote:
> I have a few questions about the recipe "To bake venison" in the new 
> TI. Unfortunately, for such a short recipe a few questions put almost 
> everything into question.
> Firstly, in its original context the recipe is between recipes for pie 
> and roast venison. The recipes in general are not well sorted, so I 
> would certainly not suppose just from this that the baked venison has 
> something to do with pie, but it is clear that a distinction is being 
> made between baking and roasting. It is my understanding that the 
> usual way to bake would have been in a crust, and not in what modern 
> people call a roasting pan. Perhaps that is why the pan is still said 
> to be for roasting, even though it is used in an oven?
For people who don't have TI or have a copy at hand of

      A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye

, the recipes for those two in the 1575 edition are as follows:

To bake Venison.
Take nothinge but Pepper and
salte, but lette it have ynoughe, and if
the Venyson be leane, Larde it through
with baken.

To roste Venison.
Rosted Venison must have Veniger su=
ger, and Cinnamom, and butter boyled
upon a chafingdish with coles, but the
sauce may not be to tarte, and then lay
the Venison upon the sauce.

(from medievalcookery.com)

Or in the Frere edition, as per Thomas Gloning they are

      To make Pyes

Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne
mynced and ceasoned wyth pepper and salte,
and a lyttle saffron to coloure it, suet or
marrow a good quantite, a lyttle vyneger,
prumes, greate raysins and dates, take the
fattest of the broathe of powdred beyfe, and
yf you wyll have paest royall, take butter
and yolkes of egges and so tempre the flowre
to make the paeste.

      ¶. To bake Veneson.

Take nothynge but pepper and salte, but
lette it haue ynoughe, and yf the Veneson be
leane, larde it throughe wyth bacon.

      ¶. To Rooste Veneson.

Roosted Veneson must have vyneger,
Suger and Cinomome and butter boyled upon a
chafing dyshe with cooles, but the sauce maye
not bee to tarte, and then laye the Veneson
upon the sauce.

My impression is that "To bake Veneson" is related to the preceding 
recipe "To make Pyes". Mutton and beef are covered
in that recipe. Oh, we should also mention venison, so we'll just put in 
a note about using venison.
The next recipe "To Rooste Veneson" mentions the usual way that we would 
handle venison. There we have taken care of venison.
By the way, "Baken Veneson" appears as a dish in the second course of a 
Flesh Day dinner and again at a supper..

Now let me play librarian and bibliographer.
I have done quite a bit of work with these early English printed 
cookbooks and this one is of course quite interesting.
We have 4 editions of A Proper New Booke of Cokerye-- the 1545, the 
undated circa 1557 one, the 1575, and the 1576. There is ONE surviving copy
of each. We can estimate that there at least 2000 printed copies of 
these 4 editions and perhaps as many as 4000 were printed.
Out of all those copies, 4 survive.
What we don't have for this book is any sort of an original manuscript 
or copybook or even a reason why suddenly in 1545
the book appears and then reappears.

> In addition, there are references to venison pasties at least since 
> the 15th century. Might this baked venison have been otherwise known 
> as a pasty?
There are of course other earlier baked venison recipes in English 
 From Harl 279
.xix. Venyson y-bake.—Take hog?es of Venyson?, & parboyle hem in fayre 
Water an Salt; & whan þe Fleyssche is fayre y-boylid, make fayre past, & 
cast þin Venyson þer-on; & caste a-boue an be-neþe, pouder Pepir, 
Gyngere, & Salt, & þan sette it on? þe ouyn, & lat bake, & serue forth.

from Har 4016
Venyson? ybake. ¶ Take hanches of Venyson?, parboile it in faire water 
and salt; þen? take faire paast, and ley there-on? þe Venyson? y-cutte 
in pieces as þou wolt have it, and cast vnder hit, and aboue hit, powder 
of ginger, or peper and salt medylde togidre, And sette hem in An? 
oven?, and lete hem bake til þey be ynog?.

Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & 
Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 
553, & Douce MS. 55
Thomas Austin.

Not everything has to be a pasty.
> Finally, the original recipe says "if the Venison be lene lard it 
> through with bakon." The modern interpretation calls for the bacon to 
> be laid on top, but doesn't "lard it through" mean to thread lardons 
> through the meat?
Yes, of course it should be larded through using a larding needle, but 
my guess is that Master Hogge opted for simple.
(Of course the recipe also fails to note at what temperature or for how 
long or to what internal temperature the venison
should be roasted for serving today. I would mention that these recipes 
were submitted off his website. )
> While I have doubts about the recipe, I don't mean to deprecate it 
> from a position of certain knowledge. Can anyone here bring some 
> better proven facts to bear on these questions?
Hope this helps.

Johnnae llyn Lewis

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