Libellus de arte coquinaria: an Early Northern Cookery Book.
ed. Rudolf Grewe and Constance B. Hieatt, Medieval and Renaissance
Texts and Studies 222 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and
Renaissance Studies, 2001). x + 158 pp.; 4 plates. ISBN 0-86698-264-7.
17.33 [pounds sterling]. This edition of four manuscripts (or
part-manuscripts) (Royal Library of Copenhagen, Ny samlung Nr.66, 8vo,
c.1300, and Ny samlung Nr.70R, 8vo, 14th century, both in Danish (K and
Q respectively); Dublin, Royal Irish Academy 23 D43, late 15th century,
in Old Icelandic (D); and Herzog August Bibliothek of Wolfenbuttel,
Germany, Helmst.1213, 15th century, in Low German (W)) is divided into
four parts: introduction, individual texts and translations of the four
manuscripts, composite translation with notes and commentary, and an
elaborate apparatus of indexes, vocabularies, and bibliography. A sample
plate from its manuscript prefaces each text in part II. Together they
exhibit one of the oldest European vernacular collections (possibly the
oldest collection) of about forty culinary recipes and probably reflect
a so far untraced source originating from southern Europe. It is a
collection clearly intended (from the ingredients and equipment
required) for a wealthy household and was probably brought north by
physicians studying in Italy or France. The recipes are, on the whole,
versions (often simpler) of recipes known from later European culinary
collections, and part III includes useful comparisons in its
interpretations. There is much here both to orientate the beginner and
to interest the expert.