[Sca-cooks] Liber de ferculis was cuskynoles

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Sun Aug 1 05:26:35 PDT 2010

As mentioned by me on this list back on August 3, 2006

Il Liber de ferculis di Giambonino da Cremona : la gastronomia araba in
Occidente nella trattatistica dietetica

Review is in PPC 71
Anna Martellotti: Il Liber de ferculis di Giambonino de Cremona: Schena
Editore, Fasano, 2002: ISBN 88-8229-272-X: 420 pp., indexes, p/b,
L.44.000/Euro 22,72.

"In eleventh-century Baghdad, a physician compiled a medical
encyclopedia titled Minhäj al-Bayän. Among its thousands of entries were
scores of recipes, soon to be excerpted and circulated on their own as a
cookbook. These doctor-approved recipes were plagiarized by several
later Arabic cookbooks, and there is much to be said about that.But what
followed was more surprising. In the late thirteenth century, 82 of the
recipes were translated into Latin by a certain Jamboninus of Cremona
under the title Liber deferculis et condimentis, and in the following
century the Latin was translated into German as Püch von der Chosten.
Lately there has been an explosion of interest in the European versions,
culminating in the present study."

The above is the snipped section of the review as posted in 2006

The review continues
The heart of it is a facing-page Italian translation of the German  
text (the Latin appears only in the Commento that follows). Of course,  
there is a wonderful frisson in reading a medieval German recipe for  
banana fritters (it calls bananas paradis epfel, a loan translation of  
the Latin pomum paradisi). But this book is more than the translation,  
it is a substantial study of the presence and influence of Arab  
gastronomy in medieval Europe. Martellotti argues that the influence  
was even greater than Maxime Rodinson's articles have hinted. She  
derives 'aspic' from the Arabic sikbäj (via Latin forms such as  
assicpicum; a more persuasive etymology than the usual one from  
'asp'), suggests that the idea of stuffing ravioli was inspired by the  
Arab samosa (sanbüsaj) and points out that the medieval English  
cuskynoles might be the Arab biscuit khushkanänaj.

Had she had access to Medieval Arab Cookery (Prospect, 2001),  
Martellotti would surely have addressed a few issues raised there,  
such as the nature of the medieval soy sauce murri (to be fair,  
Jamboninus was the one who misunderstood the Arabic recipe and left  
out the crucial step of rotting the barley, giving the false  
impression that murri was merely salty water). But this is undeniably  
an important book - and a gratifying one. It's good to see an academic  
scholar who can write about recipes without condescension. CHARLES PERRY

The book isn't that hard to find. I think it runs about $50 although  
postage may add more to that cost.

I didn't have any trouble buying it in 2006.


On Jul 31, 2010, at 11:20 PM, wheezul at canby.com wrote:
> I'm curious what the Liber de ferculis is and its date.

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