Medieval Monday – Sweet Frumenty / Søt Frumenty

A Twelfth Night side dish recipe found on cookit.e2bn.org
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This is a standard dish appearing in many variations over the centuries. It makes a lovely side dish, especially with strongly flavoured meats. It was a symbolic dish in winter, a sign that spring would come. It later came to be served as a festival dish on Twelfth Night (5th of January).

This is the original recipe:

‘To make frumente. Tak clene whete & braye yt wel in a morter tyl the holes gon of; seethe it til it breste in water. Nym it up & lat it cole. Tak good broth & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it therwith. Nym yelkes of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast therto; salt it: lat it naught boyle after the etren ben cast therinne. Messe it forth.’

(Curye on Inglysch CI.IV.i.)

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Eighteenth Century Sickbed Custard / 1700-talls Sykeleiepudding

An eighteen centure sickbed recipe found on Revolutionary Pie
Eighteenth Century Sickbed Custard / 1700-talls Sykeleiepudding

Karen Hammonds who runs Revolutionary Pie writes: Modern custard recipes usually call for vanilla, but that wasn’t used in America in colonial times. Thomas Jefferson first brought vanilla beans back from France in the 1890s, and as Richard Sax noted in Classic Home Desserts, vanilla extract wasn’t widely available until the mid-19th century. Eighteenth-century custards were flavored with wine or brandy, tea, or spices. I added nutmeg to Simmons’s recipe since it seemed so bland — but I guess that was sort of the point.

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Spiced Hot Chocolate / Krydret Varm Sjokolade

A hot beverage recipe from the 17th century found on historyextra.comSpiced Hot Chocolate / Krydret Varm Sjokolade

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, Sam recreates spiced hot chocolate – a chocolate treat enjoyed by kings and queens.

Sam writes: Hot chocolate has always been one of my favourite drinks but I have often wondered when the drink was first consumed in Britain.

I was surprised to find out that chocolate itself arrived in England in the 1600s, with evidence of it being drunk at the court of Charles I – before it was deemed a sinful pleasure by Oliver Cromwell, and banned.

This recipe is based on the drink served at the English court during the 17th and 18th centuries and the spices make it smell – and taste – wonderful. It’s also very simple to make. The drink is very rich – you won’t need a big portion – but since chocolate was believed to have medicinal properties well into the mid-18th century, you can see it as a relatively guilt-free treat!

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Medieval Monday–Dried Apples / Tørkede Epler

A Medieval fruit preserving method found on cookit.e2bn.org 
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Dried apple rings were popular in the 16th century, as a way of storing fruit to last for the winter. Dried fruit could be soaked and used in puddings and sauces as needed.These keep very well and still make a nice healthy snack.
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Kishkiyya – Medieval Hangover Cures / Bakruskur fra Middelalderen

A Medieval hangover cure found on medievalists.net
Kishkiyya - Medieval Hangover Cures

Kishkiyya - Medieval Hangover Cures 2Feeling a little worse for wear after ringing in the New Year? Rolling out of bed with a banging headache and a mouth that’s dry as ash? Cringing as you scroll through Facebook and see photos of yourself dancing with a tie around your head at 2am?

Well, as you chug some water, and curse yourself for believing in your drinking and dancing prowess, here are a few hangover cures from days gone by, because people who partied like it was 1399 also needed a little help the morning after.

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1860s Crab Apple Jelly / Villeplegele fra 1860tallet

A historic wild fruit recipe found on World Turn’d Upside Down
1860s Crab Apple Jelly_post

Stephanie Ann Farra who runs ‘World Turn’d Upside Down‘ writes: When Pehr Kalm, a Swedish-Finnish naturalist, visited Pennsylvania in the 1750s, he remarked that crab apples were plentiful but were not good for anything but making vinegar. Crab apples have a reputation of being a useless fruit and a nuisance. As Pehr Kalm suggested, I had actually intended to make vinegar out of my collection.

Once the tweeting birds were replaced with squawking crows, too close for comfort, I decided I had enough to make a small container of vinegar and one of preserves of some kind. I took the collection home and rinsed it in a few washes. I was still unsure of what kind of preserve I wanted to make. I was stuck between making marmalade and jelly. I ended up making jelly because more people would enjoy it.

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Vegetable Pottage / Grønnsakssuppe

A everyday soup recipe for ordinary people
found on
cookit.e2bn.org
Medieval MondayVegetable Pottage_post

People have eaten a lot of soup throughout the ages, ever since they had made the first cooking pots that would withstand heat. In Tudor times, it was still the main part of an ordinary person’s diet. It was basically a vegetable soup, flavoured with herbs and thickened with oats. 

Ordinary people would not have been able to afford much meat, so they would rely on this soup as their staple diet together with bread and cheese. Occasionally meat bones or fish would be added when available.

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Loudoun’s Apple Pudding / Loudouns Eplepudding

An 18th centure dessert recipe found on evolutionarypie.com
Loudoun’s Apple Pudding / Loudouns Eplepudding

Karen Hammonds who runs https://revolutionarypie.com writes: John Campbell Loudoun’s apple pudding recipe first caught my eye because it was written in verse. A rarity today, rhyming recipes were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when they were supposedly used by housewives to help them remember recipes. Loudoun’s poem, attributed to him by Kristie Lynn and Robert Pelton, authors of The Early American Cookbook, is much older, dating back to the 18th century.

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Medieval Monday – Perre

A Medieval sidedish resipe found on
One Year and Thousand Eggs
Medieval Monday_headingPerre_post

Take green peas, and boil them in a pot; And when they are broken, draw the broth a good quantity through a strainer into a pot, And sit it on the fire; and take onions and parsley, and hew them small together, And cast them thereto; And take powder of Cinnamon and pepper and cast thereto, and let boil; And take vinegar and powder of ginger, and cast thereto; And then take Saffron and salt, a little quantity, and cast thereto; And take fair pieces of pandemaine, or else of such tender bread, and cut it in fair morsels, and cast thereto; And serve it so forth.

From Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

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Baronet’s Curry / Baronettens Karri

A spicy curry dish recipe from the Victorian era
found at cookit.e2bn.org
Baronet’s Curry / Baronettens Karri

The first English curry house opened in London as early as in 1811 and towards the beginning of the Victorian era (she was born in 1819) exotic spices were getting more and more available. Cook books which were published by the mid 1800s featured many types of curry recipes, and towards the end of 1870 dry spices become so cheap that even farmers with a limited income could indulge in a curry dish from time to time.

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Tiger Nut Balls / Tiger Nøttekuler

A 3.500 year old sweet recipe found on historyextra.com
Tiger Nut Balls / Tiger Nøttekuler

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, Sam recreates a healthy snack thought to have been enjoyed in Egypt around 3,500 years ago.

Sam Not writes: If you, like me, have a sweet tooth but are trying to be healthier then try tiger nut balls.

I found lots of references to this being one of the first Egyptian recipes that we know of, found written on an ancient ostraca (inscribed broken pottery) dating back to 1600 BC. Although I haven’t found a definitive source for this (or why tiger nut balls don’t contain tiger nuts!) they sounded too delicious to pass over. As your average ancient Egyptian seems to have had a very sweet tooth and often added dates and honey to desserts, I like to think that this is a sweet that would have been made thousands of years ago.

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Medieval Monday – Powder Fort

A medieval spice mix recipe found on Let Hem Boyle
Medieval Monday_headingPowder fort_post

The girl who runs Let Hem Boyle writes: Powder Fort also called powder forte, poudour fort, strong powder. Spice mixtures was very common in medieval cooking. “Forme of Cury” for example has lots of recipes that calls for powder douce or powder fort spice mixtures.

You will find lots of different versions of powder fort on internet and in books. The medieval recipes doesn’t usually tell the exact measures of the spices used in spice mixtures or what kind of spices to use. One way to look for the perfect combination of these spice mixtures is to read the recipes and collect the most suitable spices from other recipes in the same source. If you don’t have access to some of the spices, that doesn’t matter!

Powder fort is a strong and warm spice mixture.

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Real Salade Russe / Ekte Salade Russe

A classic salad recipe found in “Robert Carrier’s Kitchen
Cook Book” published in 1980

Real Salade Russe / Ekte Salade Russe

Robert Carrier McMahon, OBE (Tarrytown, New York, November 10, 1923 – France, June 27, 2006), usually known as Robert Carrier, was an American chef, restaurateur and cookery writer. His success came in England, where he was based from 1953 to 1984, and then from 1994 until his death.

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Lucien OlivierThe original version of the salad was invented in the 1860s by a cook of Belgian origin, Lucien Olivier, the chef of the Hermitage, one of Moscow’s most celebrated restaurants. Olivier’s salad quickly became immensely popular with Hermitage regulars, and became the restaurant’s signature dish.

The HermitageThe exact recipe — particularly that of the dressing — was a jealously guarded secret, but it is known that the salad contained grouse, veal tongue, caviar, lettuce, crayfish tails, capers, and smoked duck, although it is possible that the recipe was varied seasonally. The original Olivier dressing was a type of mayonnaise, made with French wine vinegar, mustard, and Provençal olive oil; its exact recipe, however, remains unknown.

At the turn of the 20th century, one of Olivier’s sous-chefs, Ivan Ivanov, attempted to steal the recipe. While preparing the dressing one evening in solitude, as was his custom, Olivier was suddenly called away on some emergency. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Ivanov sneaked into Olivier’s private kitchen and observed his mise en place, which allowed him to make reasonable assumptions about the recipe of Olivier’s famed dressing.

Ivanov then left Olivier’s employ and went to work as a chef for Moskva, a somewhat inferior restaurant, where he began to serve a suspiciously similar salad under the name “capital salad” (Russian: столичный, tr. stolichny). It was reported by the gourmands of the time, however, that the dressing on the stolichny salad was of a lower quality than Olivier’s, meaning that it was “missing something.”

Later, Ivanov sold the recipe for the salad to various publishing houses, which further contributed to its popularization. Due to the closure of the Hermitage restaurant in 1905, and the Olivier family’s subsequent departure from Russia, the salad could now be referred to as “Olivier.”

One of the first printed recipes for Olivier salad, by Aleksandrova, appearing in 1894, called for half a hazel grouse, two potatoes, one small cucumber (or a large cornichon), 3-4 lettuce leaves, 3 large crayfish tails, 1/4 cup cubed aspic, 1 teaspoon of capers, 3–5 olives, and 1 12 tablespoon Provençal dressing (mayonnaise).

As often happens with gourmet recipes which become popular, the ingredients that were rare, expensive, seasonal, or difficult to prepare were gradually replaced with cheaper and more readily available foods.

WWII Homity Pie / WWII Homity Pai

A pie recipe from The Second World War  found on historyextra.com
WWII Homity Pie / WWII Homity Pai

No one knows where the name for Homity Pie originates from but the dish was popular with land girls during the Second World War. As well as unrationed items, the recipe also includes rationed foods like cheese, eggs and butter – the original recipe would have used these frugally. Nowadays we don’t have to be so sparing with the cheese and butter, which only make it even tastier.

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, Sam recreates homity pie – a hearty, vegetarian dish popular during the Second World War.

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In Contex

The Land Girls

The Women’s Land Army (WLA) was a British civilian organisation created during the First and Second World Wars so women could work in agriculture, replacing men called up to the military. Women who worked for the WLA were commonly known as Land Girls. The name Women’s Land Army was also used in the United States for an organisation formally called the Woman’s Land Army of America.

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In effect the Land Army operated to place women with farms that needed workers, the farmers being their employers.

Second World War

As the prospect of war became increasingly likely, the government wanted to increase the amount of food grown within Britain. In order to grow more food, more help was needed on the farms and so the government started the Women’s Land Army in June 1939.

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The majority of the Land Girls already lived in the countryside but more than a third came from London and the industrial cities of the north of England.

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In the Second World War, though under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, it was given an honorary head – Lady Gertrude Denman. At first it asked for volunteers. This was supplemented by conscription, so that by 1944 it had over 80,000 members. The WLA lasted until its official disbandment on 21 October 1949.

Land girls were also formed to supply New Zealand’s agriculture during the war. City girls from the age of 17 and up were sent to assist on sheep, cattle, dairy, orchard and poultry properties.

In popular culture

The Women’s Land Army was the subject of:

Oysters on Skewers / Østers på Grillspyd

A shellfish dinner recipe foungd on recipes.history.org
Oysters on Skewers / Østers på Grillspyd

Original 18. Century Recipe

“Put a bit of butter into a stew-pan, throw in large oysters and some mushrooms, with pepper, salt, pounded cloves, parsley, and sweet herbs chopped, a dust of flour; stir these about half a minute, then put the oysters on silver skewers, a mushroom between each; roll them in crumbs of bread; broil them; put into the stew-pan a little good gravy, let it be thick and palatable; a little lemon-juice. Serve the oysters on the skewers; the sauce on the dish.”

—From “The lady’s assistant for regulating and supplying the table: being a complete system of cookery… including the fullest and choicest receipts of various kinds.” 

by Charlotte Mason (1787)

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