Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany - 20 umbelys of a dere

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,


20.  To make umbelys of a dere.
Take the umbelys of a dere blode & alle perboyle heme in fresche brothe thene take heme up stale broune crustys of brede in the same brothe thene cut thy umbelys smalle & put heme in a potte to the same brothe tryyde in a streynoure sesyn hyme there withe swete wyne put hit to the umbelys loke thy coloure stonde by the canelle sesyne hit withe salt & serve hit forth.


This appears to be the only surviving recipe for deer kidneys that specifies that they are to be used "blood and all".  The similar recipes for "umbles", "humbles", and "numbles" from other medieval cookbooks either do not make any reference to blood, or specifically call for the blood to be pressed out.

One possibility is hinted at in a recipe from Noble Boke off Cookry.
To mak nombles tak hert middrif and kidney and hew them smalle and prise out the blod and sethe them in water and ale and colour it with brown bred or with blod and fors it with canell and galingalle and when it boilithe kole it a litille with ale and serwe it.  [A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)]

Here the blood is being added for color, so it may be that the Wagstaff recipe leaves the blood in the kidneys so that the final product will be dark red or black.

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