[Sca-cooks] What kind of class would you attend?

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 1 18:15:18 PDT 2009

Shoshanna wrote:
> I would like to see a class on reading and understanding period recipes.
> I can hold my own with cooking (usually) and my food turns out pretty tasty
> (usually) but I know that when I start to read period recipes - either in
> English, old English, or any other language my eyes begin to glaze over and
> I loose my concentration because it is not familiar to me.

As far as i know, we don't have any cookbooks or recipes in Old English - that's the language of Beowulf. Generally, Middle English is considered to begin after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and to extend well into the 15th century, some date it to 1470 or thereabouts.

We do have a number of cookbooks in late Middle English, such as Forme of Curye, circa 1390. One thing i've found that helps is reading a recipe out loud. Some of the words look odd, but when you hear them, it's easier to figure out the modern words - well, once you know that yogh - the letter that sort of looks like a "3" - is basically a "y", and thorn - the letter that sort of looks like an oddly long "p" - is a "th". And that "nym", which appears over and over, means "take".

The other is the fabulous edition, "Curye on Inglysch" by Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler. It has a very comprehensive glossary which helps with obscure words.

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

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