In honor of Halloween, I present the following:
Eight Creepy Medieval Recipes
1. Cow's Udder
This isn't too creepy - I'm sure in some places it'd be a perfectly normal recipe - but I'm trying to ease you into the whole creepy experience.
For cow's udder which has been well washed and cooked, & put on a towel so it can rest well, & put it on a spit. For the udder's sauce , take two or three pieces of toasted white bread, which are not burned at all, & take some broth with verjuice to temper the bread, & mix with four or five egg yolks, & put therein nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, & sugar, & let it boil well together, & put it on the roasted udder.
[Ouverture de Cuisine, Daniel Myers (trans.)]
Here it's not the food itself that's creepy, but the instructions seem a bit cruel.
Hedgehog should have its throat cut, be singed and gutted, then trussed like a pullet, then pressed in a towel until very dry; and then roast it and eat with cameline sauce, or in pastry with wild duck sauce. Note that if the hedgehog refuses to unroll, put it in hot water, and then it will straighten itself.
[Le Menagier de Paris, J. Hinson (trans.)]
3. "Roasted" Chicken
We'll continue with the animal-cruelty theme for a bit. I've heard of people playing with their food, but this is going a bit far.
A faire .i. poullet aler rosti sur la table: preng ung poullet ou aultre oisiel tel qu'il te plaira, sy le plume tout vif a l'eaue chaude tresnettement; puis preng lez moioeufs de .ii. ou .iii. oeufs, et soient bastus avoecq pouldre de saffren et fleur de ble, et destempres d'eaue crasse ou de la craisse qui chiet soubz le rost en la paiele saininoire; et de ceste mistion, a tout une plume, dore et pains tresbien ton poullet tant qu'il ait coulleur pareille a viande rostie; et, ce fait, quant on vouldra servir a table, mettez la teste du poulet dessoulz son elle, et le tourne entre tes mains et le touppie tant qu'il soit bien endormis; puis l'asiies sur ton plat avoecq l'autre rot, et quant on le vaura trenchier il se esveillera et s'en fuira par la table et abatra pos et hanaps, etc.
To make a Chicken be Served Roasted. Get a chicken or any other bird you want, and pluck it alive cleanly in hot water. Then get the yolkes of two or three eggs; they should be beaten with powdered saffron and wheat flour, and distempered with fat broth or the grease that drips under a roast in to the dripping pan. By means of a feather glaze and paint your pullet carefully with this mixture so that its colour looks like roast meat. With this done, and when it is about to be served to the table, put the chicken's head under its wing, and turn it in your hands, rotating it until it is fast asleep. Then set it down on your platter with the other roast meat. When it is about to be carved it will wake up and make off down the table upsetting jugs, goblets and whatnot.
[The Vivendier, Terence Scully (trans.)]
4. Roast Cat
Remember, while chicken heads might be ok, cat heads aren't for eating.
123. Roast Cat as You Wish to Eat It. You will take a cat that is fat, and decapitate it. And after it is dead, cut off the head and throw it away because it is not for eating, for they say that eating the brains will cause him who eats them to lose his senses and judgment. Then flay it very cleanly, and open it and clean it well, and then wrap it in a cloth of clean linen. And bury it beneath the ground where it must be for a day and a night; and then take it out of there and set it to roast on a spit. And roast it over the fire. And when beginning to roast it, grease it with good garlic and oil. And when you finish greasing it, whip it well with a green twig , and this must be done before it is well-roasted, greasing it and whipping it. And when it is roasted, cut it as if it were a rabbit or a kid and put it on a big plate; and take garlic and oil blended with good broth in such a manner that it is well-thinned. And cast it over the cat. And you may eat of it because it is very good food.
[Libre del Coch, R. Carroll-Mann (trans.)]
5. Sheep's Penis
While I know it's a psychological quirk on my part, there are some things I simply won't eat.
.xxiii. Der leckers scapin roede dwaetse wel ende keertse ende dan nemt sof fraen ghewreuen die doderen van .x. eyeren ende enen lepel melken tem pert metten vetten ende vaerst die roede Ende wacht dat niet te vul en sy ende doetse zieden in eenen wal ende dan braedse ende pouderse met poudere van ghingebare ende Caneele ende een lettel pepers.
Sheep's penis for the foodie. Wash it well and clean it. Then take brayed saffron, the yolks of ten eggs and a spoonfull of milk. Temper with fat and stuff the penis, but take care that it is not overstuffed. Blanch it, then roast it. Sprinkle with powder of ginger, cinnamon and a little pepper.
[Wel ende edelike spijse, C. Muusers (trans.)]
6. Veal Genitals
While we're on the subject, here's another one.
Animelle ou soupitte de veau en potage. Mettez boullir les animelles dedans l'eau, puis tirez les petits nerfz dehors,& les mettez dedans du bon bouillon pour esteuuer: mettez dedans muscade, mariolaine haschee, du beurre & vn peu de vin blanc & seruez ainsi.
Veal genitals or nether parts in pottage. Put to boil the genitals in water, then remove the little nerfz, & put them in good broth to stew: put therein nutmeg, chopped marjoram, butter & a little white wine & serve so.
[Ouverture de Cuisine, Daniel Myers (trans.)]
Aside from the appetizing name, this stew calls for parts of a chicken that most people in the US would normally throw away.
.xvij. Garbage. Take fayre garbagys of chykonys, as the hed, the fete, the lyuerys, an the gysowrys; washe hem clene, an caste hem in a fayre potte, an caste ther-to freysshe brothe of Beef or ellys of moton, an let it boyle; an a-lye it wyth brede, an ley on Pepir an Safroun, Maces, Clowys, an a lytil verious an salt, an serue forth in the maner as a Sewe.
[Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)]
8. Medicine for Gout
Short and simple, this recipe without a doubt wins the creepy competition. If I hadn't seen the original I'd have been certain it was a typo for "tongue".
For the gowte. Take & strene Cow Dongue & Drinke the Iuce & it will heale the gowte.
[The commonplace book of Countess Katherine Seymour Hertford, Daniel Myers (ed.)]