Thursday, December 6, 2012

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany - 1 (untitled)

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 © 2012 by Daniel Myers,


1. (untitled recipe)
Take caules and stryp hem fro the stalkes and betes borage an ane vyolet malues percely betayne prymrose paciens the wyghthe lekes croppes of netels perboyle hem & ley hem one a borde presse out the watyre hewe hem small and do ther to otemele take the brothe of the congure turbut othire good fysche as of salmone do hit in a pott withe the foresayde herbes whene the broth ys at the boylynge caste in the wortys & the gerbes boyle hem vp loke they be salte and yf thou lacke brothe boyle elys take hem vp stripp of the fysche from the bonys grynde hit tempre hit with the selfe brothe do al to gadyre in a pott vn to the wortys be forsayde & boyle hem vp also then mayste yf thou wil setje mustulis sett hem over the fyre and do to hem as moche watyre as thay may flete yne boyle hem tyll they opyne then poure onto the brothe thorow a streynour pyke the mustulys grynde hem tenpere hem vp withe the silfe brothe and draw hem thoroughe a streynour taje tge sane nabber if gerves as thu dedist by fore and the brothe of the mustulys sette ouer the fyre boyle hem vp when the herbes be boulede y noughte caste in the mustulys drowe yne salte and yf thou wylte thou mayste draw pesyne thorow a streynere ande make vp the wortys with fayre watyre put there yne clere oylle lete them be frydde in by fore the boylynge & lay vp withe the forsayde pesone and lete none ottemele come ther yne also thou mayste yf thow will perboyle the white of lekeys and presse out the watyre hew theme smalle take canbenys and fayre watyr & sett hem on the fyre & when they boyle doyne the white of lekys loke none ottemele come there yne salt theme & serve theme forthe & cet.


The first recipe in the manuscript isn't listed in the table of contents, probably because of its lack of title.  While there are many cabbage (cole) recipes in the medieval corpus, there are two that seem to be related to this one.

The first is a recipe for "Worts" that is a very close match:
To mak wortes tak coles and stripe them from the stalks then tak betees avens borage violettes mallowes parsly betayne prymrose pacyens the whyt of lekes and cropes of nettilles and parboile them upon a bord and pres out the water and mynce them smalle put ther to otemelle and tak the brothe of turbot congur samon or other fisshe and put them in a pot with the for said erbes and when the pot is at boillinge call in the erbes and the wort and boile them up and salt them and ye tak brothe tak eles and boile them and tak them upe and strip the fisshe from the bones and grind it up with the sam brothe and put them all to the wort and sethe them up. Also ye may sethe muskelles with as mych water as they may swym in and boile them tille they be opyne then streyne the brothe and tak some erbes as ye did befor and put it to the muskall brothe and set them on the fyere and boile them and when they be boiled put to the erbes and the brothe and put to the drawen muskalls and salt them, and ye may tak pessen drawe through a streyn and mak them up with the wort and faire water and put ther to oile that hath bene skald and in the boiling alay it up with pessene ye shall put none otemele ther in, also parboile the whit of lekes and pres out the water and chop them smalle and canebyns with faire water and set it to the fyere to boile it and put yt to the whit of leekes but do none otemele ther in and salt it and serue it.  [A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)]
Near the end they both include (twice!) one of my favorite bits in medieval recipes - an instruction not to add any oatmeal.  Odd, considering the recipe clearly calls for oatmeal early on.  Oats must have been a common addition to cooked cabbage, as I've found this instruction in other similar recipes that otherwise didn't mention them.

This recipe also seems to be connected to this one for "Joutes" in that the list of ingredients at the start is similar.

For Ioutes. Take most of cole, borage, persyl, Of plumtre leves, þou take þer tyl, Redde nettel crop and malues grene, Rede brere croppes, and avans goode, A lytel nept violet by þo rode, And lest of prymrol levus þou take, Sethe hom in water for goddes sake. Þenne take hom up, presse oute þou shalle Þe water, and hakke þese erbs alle And grynd hom in a morter schene With grotene. and sethe hom thyk by dene In fresshe brothe, as I þe kenne. Take sklyset, enbawdet þenne Besyde on platere þou shalt hit lay To be cut and eten with ioutes in fay.  [Liber cure cocorum, (England, 1430)]

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