Monday, December 18, 2006

I'm it, or so it would seem

Just got tagged by Timorous Beastie. The idea is to reach for the nearest book, go to page 123, look for the 5th sentence on the page, and then post the next three sentences. Here you go:

Auter maner leche lumbarde. Take fayre Hony, and clarifi yt on the fyre tylle it wexe hard; then take hard yolkys of Eyroun, & kryme a gode quantyte ther-to tyl it be styf y-now; an thenne take it vppe, & ley it on a borde; then take fayre gratyd Brede, and pouder pepir, & molde it to-gederys with thine hondys, tyl it be so styf that it wole ben lechyd; than leche it; then take wyne & pouder Gyngere, Canelle, & a lytil claryfyid hony, & late renne thorw a straynour, & caste this Syrip there-on, when thou shalt serue it out insteade of Cleyre.

(From the Harley ms. 279, p. 35 vj.)

Sorry. I'm reading a book of medieval cooking. Bet you weren't expecting that, were you???! The above is a recipe for Lombard Slices (whatever those are). Here is the recipe (for the foodies among you) re-written by professional chef and historian and adapted for the modern kitchen:

"12 hard-boiled egg yolks
8 Tbs clear honey
175 g/6 oz fine white breadcrumbs or as needed
pinch of ground black pepper

syrup:
225 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup red wine
generous pinch of ground cinnamon and ginger
5 tablespoons clear honey

There are at least three recipes for the sweetmeat called Leche Lumbard: one stiffened with dates, one with almonds, and this one with egg yolk. If you want to, you can use fewer egg yolks and more breadcrumbs, but the consistency will not be as smooth.

Sieve the egg yolks on to a sheet of paper. Bring the honey for the slices to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. And the sieved yolks little by little tothe pan, beating or stirring rpaidlyto belend them in smoothly. Then blend in the breadcrumbs and pepper; use sufficient breadcrumbs to make the mixture stiff enough to mould. Shape it into a breick and chill until cold and firm. Cut it into small slices like halva.

Simmer the ingredients for the syrup until the wine is well reduced. Spoon alittle over each slice before serving.

Serve with small spoons as a sweet mouthful with coffee."

Taken from The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black, British Museum Press, c. 1992.

11 comments:

belladona said...

Is that Saxon (or whatever the saxon's language is called)? It reminds me greatly of a saxon poem called.. oh dear god, its a long poem about a battle in Essex somewhere... arse. Why do I never remember stuff? Anyway, is it saxon?

Chaucer's Bitch said...

You're thinking of Anglo-Saxon, also known as Old English, which was the language spoken in England by the nobility and the court before the Norman conquest in 1066.

No, this isn't that. This is Middle English, a form of English that evolved after The Conquest. It incorporated a great deal of Norman French and Latin. This manuscript is in the British Library, and is dated approx 1430. If you look carefully you can read most of the words in the text, they're just spelled a little strangly. If this was Old English you would only be able to decipher one or two words, and there would be several letters, which are no longer a part of the English language, called "thorn" and "yogh." It would look very alien indeed.

Timorous Beastie said...

Wow - I had been hoping for something olde worlde, but never suspected a cookbook! Nice one. On another note, I am coming to the UK and want to send you a wee Xmas pressie. Don't be alarmed. Just something I think you'll have a good use for. Can you give me an address? (Your faculty is fine if they will accept mail for you). Let me know at timorousbeastie * mac dot com. Replace * with at, obviously.

Homo Escapeons said...

Actually I thought that it read
Take fayre HoRny and the paragraph was actually quite hilarious.
Muddle English..bloody la di da Franche Royals could only swear in english.. ptooey!
..wow it just struck me that you are actually reading 600 year old recipes..from a land that is world reknown for it's lack of culinary savoir faire, a legacy of bland hardscrabble dietary subsistence, a black hole of..OK that's enough...
is there ayn ghoode rescipye fore ghoats heade soupe?

realdoc said...

and you read cookery books in Middle English because.......

Chaucer's Bitch said...

TB: the brightest star at Christmas is... YOU!

Homo E: remember, in the Middle Ages the aristocracy was all French, and they knew how to eat, baby! Several of the recipes in this book are from the court of Richard II, and they are complicated and use all kinds of exotic ingredients, including saffron.

Realdoc: I should think that would be obvious. I have a passion for medieval history and culture, and a passion for cooking. What could be more natural?!

Da Nator said...

What a random meme! Interesting selection, though. I'm very glad it wasn't a recipe for cat meat that had been hung out to ripen for a month, or some such.

Billy said...

I always end up reading Middle English in a stupid voice. How can I prevent this?

llewtrah said...

It's a good job your nearest book had 123 pages!

When I did refresher French, one of the assignments was to cook a dish from a French recipe (i.e. not translated into English). I made clafoutis with prunes. Goodness knows what I'd have made from the untranslated Leche Lumbard recipe!

BTW, I came back from Egypt with a big bag of saffron. You could buy it in sackloads in the markets.

First Nations said...

ooooooooo i think i have to own that one!!!!!!!!!!
hey- I read cookbokes in mydl english! and in colonial anglish, and tudor englysshe and white trash Mericun Or'gun eenlish, and all that english type of english!
remember that overly complicated gravy recipe?
tudor cooking. yup.
I am so stealing this meme!!

Ezri said...

Thought I'd respond to the challenge - not quite as literary as yours though -

"When they were ready to leave, he mounted Cadoc and said acidly, "If this keeps up, you're going to batter me to pieces."

"I wouldn't push you so hard if I didn't think you were strong enough."

"For once, I wouldn't mind being thought less of," muttered Eragon.

By the by, depending if this film has made it up UK way, general consensus is, go, enjoy the fluff if you have not yet read the book, but if you have you will be filled with eternal rage, and ill wishes towards the creative team behind the film....

The poll continues....