Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany - 19 leche lardys

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (Beinecke MS 163)

This manuscript is dated about 1460.

The 200 (approx.) recipes in the Wagstaff miscellany are on pages 56r through 76v.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the Yale University Library website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, the letters thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Myers, MedievalCookery.com


19.  To make leche lardys of iij colours.
Take clene cow mylke and put hit in iij pottys breke to euerych a queantyte of eyrone as thu seist best ys to do rede coloure withe saundres & nothyre withe saueryne the iij withe grene herbys put to euerych a porcyone of clene larde of fat of bacone welle sodyne & pertyde in iij pottys put to salt boyle heme alle at ones stere heme welle for brennynge yne the boylynge take heme downe cast heme in to a clothe eueryche a boue other and wynde the clothe to gedyre & presse out alle the juse than take heme out alle hole and make leches of heme and do iij or iiij leches in a dysche and serve heme forthe.


The trick of producing a dish in a variety of different colors seems to have been popular throughout medieval Europe, with many recipes such as blancmanger or jelly appearing in surviving cookbooks with instructions for how to color them.

While there are no exact parallels to this recipe for larded milk of three colors, the two below are good examples of recipes that are very similar.
Lete Lardes. XX.III. VIII. Take parsel and grynde with a Cowe mylk, medle it with ayrenn and lard ydyced take mylke after þat þou hast to done and myng þerwith. and make þerof dyuerse colours. If þou wolt have zelow, do þerto safroun and no parsel. If þou wolt have it white; nonþer parsel ne safroun but do þerto amydoun. If þou wilt have rede do þerto sandres. If þou wilt have pownas do þerto turnesole. If þou wilt have blak do þerto blode ysode and fryed. and set on the fyre in as many vessels as þou hast colours þerto and seeþ it wel and lay þise colours in a cloth first oon. and sithen anoþer upon him. and sithen the þridde and the ferthe. and presse it harde til it be all out clene. And whan it is al colde, lesh it thynne, put it in a panne and fry it wel. and serue it forth.  [Forme of Cury (England, 1390)]
Letlardes. Take mylke scalding hote; And take eyren, the yolkes and the white, and drawe hem thorgh a streynour, and caste to the mylke; And then drawe the iuce of herbes, which that thou will, so that they ben goode, and drawe hem thorgh a streynour. And whan the mylke bigynneth to crudde, caste the Iuce thereto, if thou wilt haue it grene; And if thou wilt haue it rede, take Saundres, and cast to the mylke whan it croddeth, and leue the herbes; And if thou wilt haue hit yelowe, take Saffron, and caste to the mylke whan hit cruddeth, and leve the Saundres; And if thou wilt haue it of al thes colours, take a potte with mylke and Iuse of herbes, and another potte with mylke and saffron; And another potte with mylke and saundres, and put hem al in a lynnen clothe, and presse hem al togidur; And if thou wilt haue it of one colour, take but one cloth, (Note: Douce MS. of these) and streyne it in a cloth in the same maner, and bete on the clothe with a ladell or a Skymour, to make sad or (Note: Douce MS. and.) flatte; and leche it faire with a knyfe, and fry the leches in a pan with a litull fressh grece; And take a litull, and put hit in a dissh, and serue it forth. [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)]

The word "leche" in the Wagstaff recipe means "slice", which suggests that the final product is something thick and solid enough to be sliced.  In the other versions of this recipe it is given as "lete", which is a corruption of the French "lait" (milk).  It's possible that somewhere in the copying of recipes from one text to another, "lete" was accidentally misunderstood as "leche".

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