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A Boke of Gode Cookery

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Feeling like spicing up your fall menus? How about some Pokerounce, Blaunderellys, or a nice Sugared Capon? "A Boke of Gode Cookery" shows you how to get Medieval in your kitchen.

Launched in 1997, the Boke of Gode Cookery demonstrates through a collection of authentic period recipes that, in many ways, the Medieval diet was not that different from our own. (Though some dishes, such as Puddyng of Purpaysse --Porpoise Pudding-- seem to have lost a bit of their popularity.) The design of the site, while attractive, is low-tech, basic HTML --translating into quicker downloads and fewer incompatibility headaches-- and while visitors will encounter occasional broken image links, they don't take too much away from the appeal of the site.

After a few words in favor of the Medieval diet, the Boke presents its extensive Table of Contents. The first section, "Recipes and Cookery," includes the 'Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes,' and other collections 'translated and adapted for the modern cook.' Translation in this case involves presenting the recipes both as originally published ("Serge hem florwe a Sefe in-to a potte") and in the modern vernacular ("pass it through a strainer into a pot"). Selections include everything from the basic Meat Pie and Gyngerbrede, to Apple Muse, (apples, almond milk, and honey) Funges (Mushrooms in broth and spices) and Makerouns (a dish of noodles and cheese, which in another time might have been called Krafte Dinnre). A trio of complete menus, such as 14th century instructions for "Servise on a Flesh Day," are also included.

(In addition to translations and metric conversion tables, the Boke also offers helpful substitution suggestions for those hard-to-find ingredients. If, for example, you just can't find a nice fresh porpoise for your Porpoise Pudding, the Boke recommends a large salmon, trout, or any other whole fish. Of course, after reading the entire recipe, you may just decide to have a nice peanut butter sandwich instead.)

Cooks more interested in the atmospheric than the authentic can peruse a selection of "Modern Recipes for Beginners," which includes such dishes as Honey Cakes and Beef Barley Soup. While not collected from Medieval sources, the Modern Recipes still have the 'flavour' (sorry about that) of the real thing.


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