cooking medieval foodThe Middle English culinary recipes in MS Harley 5401: an edition and commentary

Constance B. Hieatt

Medium Ævum: Vol. 65 Issue 1 (1996)


The culinary manuscripts of the Middle Ages are increasingly a concern of those interested in social history — among others;(1) yet a significant impediment to research on Middle English culinary matters remains in the remarkable fact that there are still at least six sizeable collections of recipes that have never been edited and/or printed at all, as well as about a dozen more that have been only selectively collated in editions of material taken primarily from other manuscripts. Most of the collections in the latter category are probably not worth editing in their entirety since they are largely copies of collections which have been competently edited, and this is no doubt true of some in the first category — for example, London, British Library, MS Add. 5467, which appears to contain substantially the same collection as the manuscripts printed or collated in Thomas Austin’s Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery Books.(2)

There are also a number of manuscripts containing only a handful of recipes, or an isolated specimen or two. These, as well as the unprinted recipes in those manuscripts that have been used only for purposes of collation, must be transcribed at least in part, along with those that have not been printed at all, before we shall possess a body of material on which to base reliable analysis and comparative work. Since some of the unprinted collections are very extensive, this work cannot be completed very soon, but I propose to make at least a start with an edition of one of the shorter and more unusual collections. This is the one found in London, British Library, MS Harley 5401.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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