[Sca-cooks] fwd: Cocatrice and Lampray Hay

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Mon May 21 21:35:44 PDT 2012

 From the Lochac mail list.


Date: Tue, 22 May 2012 06:22:55 +1000
From: Raymond Wickham <insidious565 at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Lochac] FW: TMR 12.05.13 Hieatt,	Cocatrice and Lampray Hay
To: <lochac at lochac.sca.org>

> Hieatt, Constance B. ed. and trans. <i>Cocatrice and Lampray Hay: Late
> Fifteenth-Century Recipes from Corpus Christi College Oxford</i>.
> Totnes: Prospect Books, 2012. Pp. 176. GBP30.00/$60.00. ISBN: 978-1-
> 903018-84-2.

> For nearly four decades the study of food in medieval England has been
> inextricably linked with the name Constance B. Hieatt.  Her 1976 book
> <i>Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks</i>, which she co-
> authored with the late Sharon Butler, became a best-seller.  A
> paperback edition in 1979 was followed by a completely revised second
> edition in 1996 with Brenda Hosington as her collaborator.  In 1985,
> Hieatt and Butler published <i>Curye on Inglysch</i>, and in 1988
> appeared Hieatt's edition of <i>An Ordinance of Pottage</i>.  The
> <i>Libellus de Arte Coquinaria</i>, published in 2001, was the result
> of her collaboration with the late Rudolf Grewe.  To the books from
> this period must be added many shorter pieces which appeared in
> <i>Speculum</i>, <i>Medium Aevum</i>, and elsewhere.  In addition to
> making more of the medieval manuscripts available in scholarly
> editions and translations, and offering modern adaptations for many of
> the recipes, Hieatt soon recognized the need for a comprehensive list
> of extant culinary manuscripts from medieval Europe and collaborated
> with Carole Lambert, Bruno Laurioux and Alix Prentki on the 1992
> <i>R?pertoire des manuscrits m?di?vaux contenant des recettes
> culinaires</i>, which is included in the book <i>Du manuscrit ? la
> table</i> edited by Carole Lambert.  The <i>R?pertoire</i> remains to
> this day one of the most important reference works for medieval
> European cookbook manuscripts.  With a good number of the extant
> culinary manuscripts from England accessible in print by the beginning
> of the new millennium, Hieatt set out to collate the various versions
> of individual recipes and in collaboration with the late Terry Nutter
> and Johnna H. Holloway published the <i>Concordance of English
> Recipes: Thirteenth Through Fifteenth Centuries</i> in 2006, which she
> followed two years later with her book <i>A Gathering of Medieval
> English Recipes</i> containing editions of various shorter culinary
> manuscripts and a supplement to the 2006 <i>Concordance</i>.
> With <i>Cocatrice and Lampray Hay</i> Constance Hieatt returns to a
> manuscript she and the late Sharon Butler had first begun to
> transcribe around 1980, but put aside on account of its many
> difficulties (22).  Corpus Christi College Oxford MS F 291 is a
> manuscript from the end of the fifteenth century, written in Middle
> English and possibly originating from Norfolk (10).  Its recipes,
> unlike most in the earlier cookbook manuscripts from England and the
> continent, are very detailed and provide quantities for many
> ingredients.  The dishes usually serve between sixteen and eighty
> diners (20).  The recipe titles in the table of contents on fols. 1v-
> 2v correspond largely but not completely with the recipes that follow
> on fols. 3r-68r.  The main differences are due to some recipe titles
> omitted in the table of contents, and two sheets now missing from the
> codex.  All in all, Hieatt calculates that the cookbook likely once
> comprised 101 recipes of which 99 are extant today, most of them
> written in one hand (10-11, 19).  For each recipe, the editor provides
> the transcription of the original text, a modern English translation,
> and a commentary which in most cases also contains notes for modern
> cooks who would like to interpret the dishes.  Since she does not
> offer modern adaptations of the recipes complete with exact quantities
> and cooking instructions, the notes are geared more towards the
> experienced cook than the novice.  Although many recipes have
> counterparts in other manuscripts, the Corpus Christi College cookbook
> is not directly related to any of those recipe-collections, as Hieatt
> points out (11).  What becomes clear from reading her comments to the
> recipes is that vocabulary, some of which not found anywhere else,
> confused instructions, and scribal errors pose the biggest problems to
> our understanding of the manuscript today.  We are fortunate that
> Constance Hieatt decided to publish the recipe collection late in her
> career when she had the extant cookbook tradition of medieval England
> at her fingertips and was able to solve more of the problems than any
> of her peers or she herself at an earlier time would have been able
> to.  The book concludes with a supplement to the <i>Concordance</i> of
> 2006 which combines the new material from the Corpus Christi College
> manuscript with that contained in the 2008 supplement of <i>A
> Gathering of Medieval English Recipes</i> (145-172).  Future users
> will therefore only need to consult one supplement to the
> <i>Concordance</i> rather than two.  As in the 2006
> <i>Concordance</i>, Hieatt also provides a helpful "Glossary of Recipe
> Titles Used as Lemmas and Cross-Index of Variant Titles" at the end
> (173-176).
> The cuisine reflected in the ingredients and recipes of the Corpus
> Christi College manuscript is that of a wealthy household.  Pepper,
> cinnamon, saffron and salt are the standard seasonings; honey in more
> than half of the recipes, together with the ubiquitous figs and dates
> point to a preference for sweetness.  Other prominent ingredients are
> almond milk and grated bread used as a thickener.  The cookbook starts
> on a flamboyant note with a recipe for "cocatrice," or basilisk, a
> fabulous creature half piglet and half chicken (Recipe 1), and ends
> with a recipe for apple sauce (Recipe 99).  Hieatt describes the order
> of the recipes in the collection as "quite eccentric" and detects "no
> discernable overall rationale" (11).  And yet, the collection does
> fall into various sections which may point to different medieval
> sources from which it was compiled and/or various attempts to sort the
> recipes.  Many of the first thirteen recipes would have been suitable
> for a banquet as a sotelty or surprise dish such as the aforementioned
> "cocatrice" or the skillfuly stuffed chicken (Recipe 4) or stuffed
> mackerel (Recipe 5).  Following the group of pastries under the
> subheading "Baken Mete" (Recipes 14-19), we find two recipes for
> keeping foodstuffs for extended periods of time, namely pea pods
> (Recipe 20), and venison (Recipe 21).  The recipe for "Lampray Hay"
> opens a long list of fast-day recipes (Recipes 22-55) featuring a vast
> array of fish and seafood interspersed with some fruit and vegetable
> dishes, and a group of four pastry dishes (Recipes 48-51) under the
> subheading "Baken Mete for Lentyn."  That "Lampray Hay" contains
> neither lampray nor hay causes Hieatt to surmise that we may be
> dealing with a "deliberate joke" (58).  The seventeen recipes
> following the Lenten dishes are for meat dishes and various pottages
> (Recipes 56-72).  While most of these are standard recipes also found
> in other collections, the five subsequent dishes and dish names not
> found anywhere else leave even an expert such as Constance Hieatt
> mystified (Recipe 73-77).  Quite the opposite is the case with the
> next set of eight recipes starting with the popular "Morterews"
> (Recipe 78), "Mawmone" (Recipe 79) and "Blawmanger" (Recipe 80) and
> ending with the simplest of cabbage recipes (Recipe 85).  The editor
> is unable to place the next recipe with the rather distasteful name
> "Capoun in Urinele" (Recipe 85) in the medieval English cookbook
> tradition but vaguely remembers having seen such a recipe before.  In
> fact, chicken cooked in a glass is a standard recipe in Italian
> cookbooks of the <i>Liber de coquina</i> tradition where it is
> sometimes referred to as "de gallina implenda" or "gallina cocta in
> carafia."  The subsequent recipe for "Two Cunnyngs of One" (Recipe 87)
> in the Corpus Christi College collection also points to an Italian
> connection.  The idea of skinning an animal, albeit not a rabbit but a
> dove, roasting the carcass, stuffing the skin with other meat and
> serving both side by side, is found in the fifteenth-century <i>Cuoco
> Napolitano</i> as Recipe 67, and interestingly followed there by a
> recipe for chicken in a carafe (Recipe 68 in the 2000 edition and
> translation by Terence Scully).  In her comments to Recipe 87, Hieatt
> makes reference to a recipe for two capons from one that is contained
> in another manuscript from England but does not mention the Neapolitan
> parallel.  The final set of twelve recipes in the Corpus Christi
> College cookbook brings an assortment of dishes ranging from pottages,
> fish and seafood dishes, to gruel, a pudding, pie, tart, and apple
> sauce, all of which may well have been later additions (Recipes 88-
> 99).
> <i>Cocatrice and Lampray Hay</i> is Constance Hieatt's latest book on
> medieval food but it will not be her last.  Prior to her passing in
> December 2011, she worked on the draft of another book entitled <i>The
> Culinary Recipes of Medieval England</i>, which will be published
> posthumously.  With her editions, translations, adaptations,
> concordances, and in-depth studies of medieval and early modern
> cookery, this prolific scholar has given us tremendous tools with
> which to study early European culinary history.  Now it is up to the
> next generation to continue the work and bring the picture that has
> emerged thanks to her tireless efforts into an ever sharper focus.
> Constance Hieatt will be missed by many.

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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