[Sca-cooks] A Fifteneth Centurie Cokeboke by Daphne Hilsdon

Robin Carroll-Mann rcarrollmann at gmail.com
Tue Oct 16 09:00:11 PDT 2012

On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM, Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com> wrote:
> Has anyone seen this ebook on Amazon or know anything about the author?

Anyone with an Amazon account can read a free sample, including the first
few recipes.  It's free to borrow for Amazon Prime members who own a
Kindle.  Which is me.


It's a collection of 15th century recipes: the original text followed by
the author's own translation into modern English, followed (in some cases)
by explanatory notes.  For example, the note after the recipe for Apple
Moyle says "Powder probably refers to powder douce; use a sweet mixed

In a five-minute skim-through, I didn't notice any blatant errors.  She
identifies "flour of Amidons" as finely sieved wheat flour.  Amydon is
wheat *starch*, which can be purchased commercially (and more commonly than
in past years, now that gluten-free products are in demand).  Minor detail,
and certainly fine white flour would work.  She correctly identifies verjus
as the juice of unripened grapes, and suggests lemon juice or unsweetened
apple juice as alternatives.  (The latter surprised me, but I remembered
that crabapples were sometimes used to make verjus in Britain.  And perhaps
tart apple juice is available there.)

There are no redactions with measurements and times and exact instructions.
 In the introduction, she decries the proliferation of modernly-published
"medieval" cookbooks which contain recipes that bear no resemblance to the
originals.  The introduction alludes to the flavor complexities of 15th
century meals, mentions that food was served in manageable pieces, that
some of it was eaten neatly with the fingers, and that hand-washing was
made available before and after the meal.  She mentions (but does not get
into a discussion of) the theory of humours.  She mentions the white breads
served to upper-class diners.  She does identify "remove" as a synonym for

The recipes are all taken from 15th c. sources, but she does not identify
which recipes came from which source.  There are three sections of recipes:
meat and fish dishes (26 recipes); vegetable and other savoury dishes (25
recipes); sweet dishes and pastries (30 recipes).  Each section has a list
at the beginning of the recipes it contains.

The bibliography is minimalist, with only 6 books listed.  Authors and
titles; no dates, publishers or descriptions.  Here it is, verbatim:

Medieval Feast Menus R Morris

The Medieval Cookbook M Black

Food and Feast in Medieval England P W Hammond

Food and Cooking in Medieval Britain M Black (EH)

An Ordinance of Potage C B Heatt [sic]

A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke compiled J L Anderson

All in all, I'd describe it as a well-meaning effort from a re-enactor who
cares about authenticity.  And at $3.61, it's not overpriced.  On the other
hand, there are better resources available online, many of them for free.

Brighid ni Chiarain

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