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Thread: Das Buch von guter Spise (The Book of Good Food): 14th Century German Cookbook

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    Das Buch von guter Spise (The Book of Good Food): 14th Century German Cookbook

    Some time ago, I came across a website which has parts of this manuscript translated to English, as well as modern renditions of some of the recipies that lie within it. I've tried several of the less strange recipes (), with much success (particularly this one), so I thought I share it with all of you... in case you are feeling a surge of culinary creativity. First, here's some info about the book:

    Briefly, Das Buch von guter Spise (The Book of Good Food), also known as Ein Buch von guter Spise, is the earliest known German language cookbook. It is dated from between 1345 to 1354. The household manual, which included guter Spise, was organized by Michael de Leone, who was the proto-notary (chief clerk) of the Archbishop of Würzburg. The surviving portion of the manuscript is in the library of Munich University.

    The following is the poem presented at start of Das Buch von guter Spise:

    In German:

    Dis buch sagt von guter spise
    daz machet die unverrihtigen köche wise.

    Ich wil iuch underwisen
    von den kochespisen
    der sin niht versten kan
    der sol diz buch sehen an
    wie er groz gerihte künne machen
    von vil kleinen sachen.
    dise lere merke er vil eben
    die im diz duch wil geben
    wann ez kan wol berihten
    von manigerleie gerihten
    von grozzen und von kleinen
    wie sie sich vereinen
    und wie sie sich besachen
    daz sie klein getrahte zu hoher spise machen
    der sol diz buch vernemen
    und sol sich nicht enschemen
    ob er fraget dez er niht enkan
    des bescheit in scheir ein wiser man
    wer denne kochen welle lerne
    der sol diz buch merken gerne

    In English:

    This book speaks of good food.
    It makes the ignorant cook wise.

    I want to teach you
    of the cooking arts.
    He who cannot understand them
    should look at this book.
    How he can make great dishes
    from many small things,
    he who remembers this learning very carefully,
    which will be given in this book!
    For it can well teach
    of many dishes
    of great and of small,
    how they combine themselves
    and how they see to it
    that they make insignificant bits into noble foods.
    He should take this book
    and should not be ashamed
    if he asks about what he does not know.
    This decision makes him quickly a wiser man,
    who then wants to learn to cook.
    He should mark well this book.

    Here are the links for the books text (in German, and also translated to English), as well as the translator's information regarding it:


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    Also of import....

    While on the subject of old German cooking, I found an excellent resource for German language cookery texts from 1350-1896. If you scroll down the page, the link also provides an extensive digital text archive for not only German cooking, but also other European cookery, Old Wine, and Dietitic texts, etc... Click Here, if interested.

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