Monday, September 21, 2015

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book - 13 Noumbles of Net

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book (Harley MS 1735)

This manuscript is dated before 1485.

The 68 recipes in John Crophill's Commonplace Book are on pages 16v through 28v.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the British 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 © 2015 by Daniel Myers,


[13.] Noumbles of Net
Tak the hert & the kedneye & the myd dredde hew smal as deys presse hem wel sethz hem in water & in god ale colour it with brent brede ferce it with pouder of peper & canel sethz it ovir the feyr & boylle it seson it with vinegre or eysel.


Recipes for "numbles" are reasonably common in contemporary cookbooks. That being said, the corresponding recipes from Liber and Noble are particulary close matches to the Crophill version in that all three call for the heart, midriff, and kidney. None of the other sources specify those parts. 
Nombuls. Take þo hert and þo mydruv and þe kydnere, And hew hom smalle, as I þe lere. Presse oute þe blode, wasshe hom þou schalle, Sethe hom in water and in gode ale. Coloure hit with brende bred or with blode. Fors hit with peper and canel gode, Sett hit to þo fyre, as I þe telle in tale. Kele hit with a litelle ale, And set hit downe to serve in sale.  [Liber cure cocorum (England, 1430)]
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)]

On a side note, most of the recipes for numbles either specifically call for deer kidneys or do not specify the animal at all. In the Crophill version the title makes it clear that the organs should be from a neat (e.g. bull, cow, calf). This is further emphasized in the manuscript by the drawing of a bovine in the margin.

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